Before I moved to Prague about six months ago, I lived in an alternating sequence of student halls, my childhood bedroom, and shared flats. Student accommodation, as even a cursory understanding of the documentary series Fresh Meat will tell you, is a hellscape of ununpacked stuff and unwelcome mould. My childhood bedroom, when I was occupying it fulltime, wasn’t that different.
But I’m a grown-up adult human now. I rent my own flat and I live next door to my landlord. I have to clean my own sink. (In my childhood home, the sink is cleaned by my mother; in student accommodation, it’s cleaned by ??elves??)
When I first dragged my suitcase across the threshold, I was so overjoyed to have got out of the hostel I’d been staying in that I barely took in the flat itself. All that mattered was that I wasn’t going to wake up to a Mysterious Man going through my stuff.
I spent the first few weeks sleeping in a sleeping bag; it took me over three months to work up the Czech/crowns/courage to buy a duvet – although I did get sheets admirably quickly. I’d never lived in a proper flat before, and I didn’t know what expect. I was shocked that flats don’t come with cutlery as standard.
It took me a good couple of months to collect together the basic necessities (eg knives, glasses, pillow etc); I still don’t have a chopping board. That doesn’t bother me, though: what I’ve been concerned with is making my flat feel homely. And, by God, I’ve managed it. Here are some handy tips for those of you moving out for the first time.
And if, like me, you’re too cheap to buy full size prints, postcards will do.
Pictured: Jerry the cat really digging my Kafka/Havel aesthetic.
There are also companies these days that you can send digital files to and they’ll post you pleasingly tactile, shiny photographs. This system has allowed me to garland my flat with nostalgic and wholesome pictures of my favourite people.
invest in lamps
I’m no interior designer (I’m an English teacher-cum-timewaster) but I’m a big fan of well-lit spaces.
This lamp cost me 30czk (~£1) from the junk shop across the street. Also, look how incredibly cosy my bed is. That’s where I get to sleep! Every night!
This one might not be completely universal, but that’s what you get when you take advice from someone incapable of empathy.
Pictured: Jerry the cat ignoring the strings of cranes I spent literally a million years making.
Because, otherwise how do you know you aren’t just visiting?
The grime might not be visible in this shot, but it’s there. Believe me.