Making a house a home can mean different things for men and women

Moving into a new place comes coupled with stress. You need food, furniture and, you know, money. Making a space feel like home can be a daunting task that makes move-in day kind of a nightmare. (I mean, who doesn’t love carrying furniture and boxes upon boxes up flights of stairs in 115-degree weather?) A new apartment also means multiple trips to the the holy grail of home and dorm furnishings: Target.

As you walk around, take a look around at all the other college students filling their carts. What do you see? You will probably see a girl with a shopping cart filled with decorative pillows, an area rug and a desk organizer. A few aisles over, you might notice another girl with a nearly empty cart, just buying the necessities for her upcoming housewarming party. You may see a guy with a shopping cart full of junk food, a 6-pack of beer and a new game for his Xbox, and you also might see a guy with a cart full of home goods such as plants, mugs and coffee table books.

Inside the heads of most those people is one running though over and over: can I afford this and is it worth it? 

Rene Wetzel, a sophomore nursing student, says, “I was really excited to finally live with my new roommates, but the move-in process itself was a nightmare and extremely exhausting.”

Wetzel had to make three separate trips to the store before finally having everything she needed for her room. Her biggest frustration was not receiving the art piece she ordered weeks before move-in and it not being found anywhere in the shipping route.

However, she did not let that stop her from making her apartment as home-y and organized as possible. 

In Wetzel's apartment you will see a fruit bowl filled with fresh fruit on the center of her table, her cook books handy next to the stove, a table lamp next to the couch and a Yankee Candle on the center of the coffee table all adorn the living room area. Above her bed hangs a giant map because Wetzel says she wants to travel the world one day. 

A bouquet of fake flowers sits in a vase on her desk to add some pops of color. On one wall she has photographs of her and her friends back home and next to those photos she has her goals for this semester as a constant reminder for her to stay on track: Get a 4.0 gpa, eat healthy, work out more, get a tattoo, make lots of memories, etc. All of her textbooks, folders and notebooks have a place on her desk in her desk organizer.

Unlike Wetzel’s move-in experience, ASU human nutrition sophomore, Nico Debruyn said his move-in day and decorating process was a breeze. In fact, he said the whole decorating process took only 10 minutes and cost $50, thanks in part to his incorporation of repurposed items including an old "STREET CLOSED" sign. The rest of the ambiance in his place is very simple, with a file cabinet as an end table and strobe lights along the wall.

Debruyn says there actually may be more cases of protein powder in the apartment than silverware.

“I probably spend more money on food than decorating,” he says, as he opens his mini-freezer packed with meat and frozen vegetables.

As you walk into Joshua Melton’s house, you can pick up on the vibe that he is an architect student here at the university. His home could definitely be featured on HGTV. Melton describes his home as “southwest eclectic.” From the area rug he bought while backpacking on an American Indian reservation to the mounted vintage bicycle on the wall, this place is unlike any typical college student’s.

Although, Melton has lived here over a year, the move-in day is a never-ending process, as he is always adding more décor to his house.

“Everything in here has a story,” Melton says.

He finds his stuff everywhere: Craigslist, Ikea and an American Indian reservation.

Superstores aren’t your only option; some people prefer to shop at thrift stores or Goodwill to find what they need.

Chelsea Bonsu, an elementary education sophomore, relies solely on thrift stores and Goodwill for her wardrobe. Bonsu chooses not to spend her money on name brand clothes and says thrift stores are her favorite places.

Bonsu’s apartment reflects just that. Her non-materialistic manner is clearly portrayed throughout her apartment. In fact, she is still moving items into her place, but not decorative items like a wall painting. Instead, it’s items like her bed spread, which she spent the previous two weeks using her roommate’s blanket as bedding.

“I have yet to spend anything,” Bonsu says about decorating her apartment.

As we all dread move-in day, we must also realize that this particular day (or days) reveals a lot about our personality because our apartment reflects who we are. But that does not mean how much we spend does. 

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.