It seems like so long ago I posted this blog about finding my place and then about unpacking. For several Mondays now whenever my co-workers ask me what I did this weekend I have responded with “cleaning”. Once I had unpacked all my essentials this fall, I ignored the many leftover boxes I had stuffed away in my little storage space until I finally pulled them all out, dumped them in my living room, and forced myself to tidy up this weekend.

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I am so glad I did! I’m still head over heels in love with my apartment and I totally lucked out by becoming good friends with the property manager. Cute place + totally sweet friend = one lucky find for me. I didn’t have to buy too much furniture, but I definitely suffered through some endless nights of trying to understand IKEA instruction booklets. I still want to buy a floor lamp for my living room, desk for my bedroom, and figure out what to hang on my terribly difficult plaster walls – but I’m ready to show my place off!

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I love the bright white and big windows. The colours and small space are cozy and I have tried to display all my favourite things while keeping a conscious effort not to clutter. And I am still thrilled with my location! I’m only a half hour walk from work and the eclectic Exchange District which took me awhile to realize, but now I plan to take advantage of it this spring. Plus, downtown and Saint Boniface are just as much fun in the winter as they are in the summer. I’m only a ten minute walk from the River Trail and this weekend my neighbourhood hosts Festival du Voyageur – western Canada’s largest winter festival.

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What has been your favourite home decor project lately?

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Sorry it has been so long since I last checked in! I have been busy exploring the city and trying to find myself a place to live. After five viewings, I stumbled upon lucky #6 last week and went back to sign the lease tonight. I happy cried as I drove home because it is exactly the type of place I wanted for myself.

Shortly after I started work, I asked what my net income would be per month so I could get a better idea of how much I could afford for rent. Once I was able to budget my life out (we’ll save that for a depressing blog post) I scoured local property management websites and Kijiji for potential spots. It was frustrating. I looked at one apartment last Sunday, three Monday night, and then three Tuesday night. All of them were either brand new and gorgeous but too much for my lil ol’ budget or super affordable but too sketchy for me to want to park my car at night.

When I walked into my current place though, it instantly felt like home. Everything is moderately new looking and squeaky clean. It is not very big, but the areas are open enough to feel like there is plenty of space. It’s only a six-unit apartment so it feels much more cozy and similar to a house. There is a cute old style firehall-turned-museum across the street and it’s located in St. Boniface which is the older, French part of the city. While I can’t pronounce any of the street names, I love being part of that culture.

For all you first-time apartment hunters out there, I will say I learned a few things along the way! The Manitoba government provides a very useful FAQ section on their Residential Tenancies Branch website with checklists and forms so you won’t forget anything. I am sure every province does something similar and I recommend reading it before you start viewing. Bring along your standard list of questions to ask all the property managers – utilities, parking, rent increase, lease, A/C, laundry, etc. And read the damn forms when you go to apply or sign the lease. In all my excitement when I finally found “the one”, I raced through the application and applied the same night so I wouldn’t miss out. But after I got home, I realized I had not thoroughly read the forms and then spent all night panicking until I could grab a copy of the papers the next day. Please don’t do that to yourself.

All in all, the girl renting it out to me described it as “the perfect single girl’s apartment”. And really, what more could I want?!