28 March 2012

Productive pinning

The other day, a wedding that Mr. P and I attended last fall was featured on the mother of all wedding-trends-photographed-in-soft-focus websites, Style Me Pretty. At the bottom is a quote from the bride (a friend of ours) who said, “I’m not sure how brides got married before Pinterest.” Mr. P, always a very literal guy, read that and joked, “Yeah, how did we get married before Pinterest? Are we even truly married?” But I’m not going to lie: Pinterest would have been easier to organize my ideas than the method I actually chose, which was a Gmail draft (so I could access it from anywhere) full of links with a quick blurb. Not ideal. Though, ultimately, yes, we were able to get married without Pinterest.

We all love Pinterest, right? We all waited for our invite with baited breath, pinned like maniacs the first few weeks, and now continue to peruse it for good ideas or save ideas we find elsewhere on the internet to our pinboards. It’s definitely helped me with finding good recipes and a few good ideas around the home... but it can also be a major timesuck. Yes. I know. I am nodding too.

So I’m taking a cue from brides everywhere (and oh yes, on Pinterest, they are everywhere) and using a board on Pinterest to organize my ideas for our next big project – not a wedding, but a move.

While I won’t claim that I have no idea how people ever found a new place to live before Pinterest – I have done it, and it involved lots of scribbling in a pocket-sized notebook – this is so much easier. I can put all the salient notes about a potential apartment in the description along with a photograph to jog my memory (“Oh right, that’s the one with the awesome deck” or “That must be the one with the blindingly awful kitchen”). And best of all, when an apartment seems to have been rented, I can write a note saying so.

Sure, I could delete it from my board, but sooner or later I’d be saying “WHERE’S THAT ONE WITH THE AWESOME DECK” and driving myself crazy. Plus, adding that little “no longer available” notes helps me from getting too attached to any of the properties so far. Our move is a little ways away, so it’s unlikely that any of these places will be available when we want to move (but if they are, hey, bonus).

As for the rest of the description, I’ve found it helps to put in the price, address, square footage, and a few notes about location, like neighborhood and distance to public transit. Which brings me to my list of must-haves (or dealbreakers, from the perspective of not having them):

  • Safe neighborhood. I put my hands over my ears and say “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” when anyone (insensitively, I think) reminds me that St. Louis is always near the top of the list when it comes to the murder capital of our country. But still. Nashville it ain’t. Safe neighborhood is a must.
  • Two bedrooms. At least. Mr. P and I will probably have overnight guests, plus we have a lot of stuff. Not to mention there’s the distant possibility of a Little P at some point, and it would be nice to be in a place that can already accommodate more than two people.
  • 1000 sq. feet. Again, at least. Our current place has over 1500, and while I’m prepared to downsize, I need space. I AM AN ONLY CHILD.
  • In-unit laundry. I immediately delete any place that talks about shared laundry in the basement (or worse, coin laundry). I realize I sound snobby, but I really, really don’t want to live like it’s a dorm room when I’m almost thirty. Plus, there’s again the possibility of a Little P. I hear they come with lots of dirty clothes.
  • Near public transportation. Graduate students have it easy, at least at my old institution, with the relatively cheap on-campus parking. Postdocs, not so much. And my friend at my new workplace thinks the parking situation is even more dire there. So, it sounds like I need to be within walking distance of my building, if not walking distance to the Metrolink. Another reason “safe neighborhood” is a must.
  • Within our budget. I know we can get the above things within our price range, which is around our current mortgage payment. And although I get the tiniest of raises as a postdoc, Mr. P has not yet secured a job. Rent prices are high in this economy, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can find something we love at the right price.
Of course, it would also be nice to have...
  • Single-family dwelling. I mean, duh. A few-family dwelling (duplex, or upper-lower level apartments) would be awesome too.
  • Updated kitchen and bath. Many of the neighborhoods we’re checking out are olllld. Pink-and-brown-tiled-bathrooms abound. I... can handle them. If I have to. But I’d prefer an updated one.
  • Central heat and air. Again, old neighborhoods. I get a little anxious when I see a radiator in a photograph.
  • Two bathrooms. Just because when you gotta go, you gotta go.
  • Patio/outdoor space. Mr. P received a ridiculously nice – but huge – grill as a wedding present. And we use it at least once a week! If we absolutely cannot find a place with outdoor space, I will mourn the loss of dinners prepared with Mr. P’s perfect grilling technique. I also envision beginning a container garden, but let’s be realistic. It’s mostly about the grilled meat.
  • Off-street parking. I grew up in the rural south. We do not parallel park in the rural south. Bonus would be a garage space, because goodness knows I’d be stacking our tools in there.
  • Extra storage space (preferably private). While I could, if I absolutely had to, construct a table out of our boxes of Christmas decorations and a tablecloth, I would really rather not.
  • A landlord who trusts me to take care of the property. By this I mean... let me paint the walls without flipping out, because I can paint neatly and choose nice colors that they may even want to keep and if not, paint it back. Let me nail anchors into the wall, because I know how to remove and spackle over them without leaving a trace. Let me move up the shower curtain rod, let me take off a cabinet door, let me switch up the globes on a light fixture, because I am perfectly capable of putting it all back. I know that takes an inordinate – perhaps impossible – amount of trust, even if I ask permission first. I know if I were the landlord, I’d be worried about a tenant ruining the property. But gosh, it’d be nice to find a cool one.
Obviously not all of the properties have everything we’d love to have in a rental (though they meet the must-haves, as far as I can tell). But Pinterest helps me keep them all straight! It’s not perfect – I wish I could make the board private since there’s no need for re-pinning, I have to choose one representative image of the property to remember it, and I occasionally have to click through to make sure the place is actually still for rent. But on the whole, it makes it so much easier! And I will say this: while I know how people found places to live before Pinterest...

...how did anyone find a place to live before the internet?!


Christal said...

I'm pretty sure you just described a $2500 apartment out here. Actually, I think what you described doesn't exist. *dreams longingly of the middle of the country*

Sarah said...

Christal, I know! St. Louis's cost of living is lower than Nashville's! There are definitely $2.5k-and-up apartments (one in a nice neighborhood near school is $6.9k - yowza). But there are rare ones in our budget! The trick is just finding it... spacious apartments are rare. There are a ton of 500-600 sq footers and good grief the price for those is SO RIGHT.

Tina said...

Ooowhee - I am so tickled to see some actual possibilities! 500-600 sq.footers though are going to require some extra storage space for stuff you're going want to store. I will get busy(er)in trying to have some ready to contribute to the cause. ;-)

Laura S said...

Christal, we'll have a bedroom for you and Hans. You can live in it for 5 cents.

And if I were a landlord, I would let the P family live in my rental house for 5 cents, as well. You'd be the best renters EVER. :)