Moving into an unfurnished apartment when you've gone from living at home with your parents, to a self-catering res, to a fully furnished flat is a huge financial leap.
It can also make you realise how little you own. If you take away the clothes in your cupboard and all the piles of books you've accumulated over the past few years what are you left with?
Sure, you might have your own linen, cutlery, a kettle and even a tea set, but suddenly having to budget for a couch could have you hanging around Cubana in no time in the hopes of attracting a blesser.
But it's totally understandable why furnishing a new home is actually quite a daunting experience for many millennials who are fresh out of varsity. Especially those who can't just pick up the phone and ask their parents to fund the interior details of their new pad.
Also, do you remember the story W24 ran recently about how likely it is that the reason millennials can't afford to buy property is because of avo toast?
Well while the correlation between the two may not be that simplistic, what we can take away from that is that millennials are not as financially independent as baby boomers were at the same age (early 20s to early 30s).
However, this next step of independence need not be a woeful affair. You may even find that you will enjoy channeling some creative energy into interior design without necessarily burning a whole in your intern pocket.
So, where to start?
You have clothes, you have toiletries and perhaps some groceries too, but what about a bed? The last thing you want is to spend your first night at your new address sleeping on top of a pile of clothes or in a sleeping bag, so a bed is definitely the first thing you should buy.
Order your bed in advance, so it arrives the same day you do. A brand new bed is the most ideal option health-wise, as a second-hand bed probably has a sunken in mattress which may give you back problems.
But if you can't afford one just yet, Gumtree and OLX usually have a few sellers offering used furniture items which are still in good condition.
If your new pad didn't come fitted with blinds, you also need to buy curtains ASAP. This shouldn't set you back financially by too much.
I have a bed. Now what?
Next on your list of priorities should be an iron, a fridge and a microwave.
Again, Gumtree and OLX are your friends (when sellers are actually not taking their sweet time to respond).
If you're not a fan of used appliances, Game and Makro always have amazing specials on home appliances. Or you can rent via Teljoy for a small amount every month. (It adds up though, so if you can buy in one shot, rather do so.)
Also, now would be the time to buy cleaning utensils and detergents. Buy these within the first few days of moving in because sometimes the previous occupants of a flat/digs don't do a thorough spring clean before moving out.
And guess what? Now you own a broom and a mop. How grown up do you feel?
Is your place lit?
No, not like that. Do you have electricity?
If your electricity is prepaid, load it with at least R200 worth of units the first day you arrive. This should last for about two weeks.
And you're probably going to need to cook (hopefully you have pots) and plug in laptop and phone chargers the first day you move in anyway.
Okay, sofa so good
Some say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but I think the lounge is the real heart of the home. You can really tell a lot about a person from the way their lounge looks.
Right now you've probably exhausted whatever little funds you may have had for the first month of moving in already, so you can start thinking about filling up your living room once you've settled in for a month.
One three-seater couch should be sufficient, especially if you're going for the minimalist aesthetic, which has actually become a popular interior design trend over the past year, according to Dwell Beautiful.
I would highly recommend getting a second-hand sofa to anyone who is just starting out and really can't afford to splurge on new furniture items.
Once you find the perfect couch, you can visit affordable homeware stores like MR Price Home and H&M Home to shop for a few living room essentials such as the following:
Rectangle cube, R349.99 at MRP Home
Patterned cotton rug, R499 at H&M Home
You can relax a little for now and even add those treats that you've been depriving yourself of for the past two months to your grocery list again.
However, don't get too comfortable. You still need a TV and a washing machine.
You probably think buying a washing machine is going to be your biggest expense, right? But you'd actually be pleasantly surprised to find that there are washing machines sold at bargain prices on the internet.
And from there you can start rewarding yourself for adulting like a pro by shopping (only on payday of course) for any other "luxury" kitchen appliances such as baking aids, toasters and blenders:
Electronic digital scale, R189.99 at MRP Home
Vitae blender, R699 @home
Mellerware 2-slice pop-up toaster, R229.46 at Boardmans
So yes, you're going to feel financially drained, yet substantially more fulfilled and mature by the time you have a house warming (if you can even still afford to host one).
Furnishing a home is something one should experience sooner rather than later because investing in homeware and furniture actually goes a long way. And it can make having your shit together by the time you reach your 30s a swifter transition.