These do not have to be healthy snacks. Normally I would say go with something balanced and nutritious, which you can still totally do. Go eat a Lara Bar, be my guest. But when you’re looking for an apartment in the city, you will be walking approximating 438 miles per day. Which means if you are normally worried about the price you’ll pay for eating a carb or two, today is your day to let go. By the time you get lost in Bushwick for the third time that afternoon, you will have easily burned more calories than you did all last week combined. The most important thing to remember here is simple: consume FOOD. And no, Americanos do not count as food. Eat a real breakfast like a bagel or yogurt or something. I recommend packing snacks with you too. Do not let yourself dip into that scary, irrational state where you’ll agree to anything as long as you know there will be food on the other side of your decision. We’re all happier people when we’re nourished and hydrated and I’m convinced happy people find apartments faster than the rest.
If you’re asymmetrical like I am, standing in warrior one or modified tree pose is a lot more comfortable than standing straight up with posture that would make your grandmother proud. On a regular day, standing in yoga poses during your down time might be given a second thought. You know, for the sake of social norms and stuff. But on apartment hunting days, I like to throw those norms out the window and do whatever the hell feels best in that moment. It’s all about self-preservation during your search, so stay limber, keep that blood flowing, and feel free to take child’s pose as often as you need.
You will probably need a lot of this. But be careful. Ideally you want to reach that euphoric state that most of us hope to achieve every time we consume our favorite form of caffeination. Here’s what you DON’T want to do: drink more coffee than your body is used to and then have a panic attack before you even head out on your search. You might scare your future roommates off and you cannot afford a loss like that. So pretend you’re on the Oregon Trail and just take as much caffeine as you’ll need to survive the day.
GPS/Subway App/Roommate with any sort of sense of direction.
Make sure you a) know where you’re going b) enter this information correctly into your phone/app/electronic device of choice and c) aren’t too timid to ask strangers for help when you finish a) and b) and manage to get lost anyways. If you’re afraid of random people on the street, just play it safe — ask one of those guys working a fruit stand on the corner of most streets in the city. He will probably appear annoyed but that’s expected. He understands the difference between North and South and just saved you 10 minutes by letting you know 9th Avenue is THAT way. These guys are invaluable resources to you during these trying times.
This one is highly optional and really depends on the time of day you’re searching and the amount of melatonin you possess. But speaking on behalf of all pigmentally challenged people, the sun can be our worst enemy if we allow it to be. And when you’re lost, standing in the middle of a deserted part of Brooklyn on an unseasonably warm October afternoon, it would be nice to know that at least your skin is protected. You have enough things to stress about like, oh um I don’t know… the fact that you’re lost and homeless! Rather than devoting your energy toward the stressful thought that your ears and nose could be burning up and turning a dangerous shade of pink, be proactive and slap on some SPF 30. You need to reserve your brainpower to focus on more pressing issues like how the hell you’re going to get back on the G train.
Unless you really hate yourself, you’re going to want to take this one seriously. I’ve made the mistake of, “Oh we’re only going to be out for a few hours right? I can wear these strappy, paper-thin sandal things! Yeah, that sounds like a great idea!” This is NOT a great idea. This is masochism. So do yourself a favor and wear the most comfortable shoes you own. You’ll be walking a lot more than you had planned or hoped, so better play it safe with your footwear. Today’s the day you can wear sneakers and jeans without being judged for it! Just kidding. You will definitely still be judged for doing this, but that is the least of your problems.
Reliable and readily available emotional support.
You will need this more than anything else on this list. For some of you, emotional support means calling your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ best friend to vent/ scream/ cry/ whimper, which is totally great. Go milk that for all it’s worth. Feel free to fish for comments like, “Oh babe, it’s all going to work out the way it should!” or “Don’t worry, the universe is looking out for you. You’ll find something great soon, I can feel it.” For those of us who don’t have a significant other and feel paranoid/ guilty when they dump on their friends, the emotional support imperative to this apartment search may come in the form of speed dialing your parents, possibly three-way calling them, every 30 to 45 minutes in hopes that you won’t develop a anorexia nervosa complex. You may find yourself on the corner of some questionable street you’ve never heard of in Chinatown, crying to them that their first born has let them down and feels like her ability to follow through on anything of importance peaked in the 11th grade (you like to talk in the third person when you’re feeling vulnerable). It’s likely that your emotional breakdown(s) will take place in public places. Strangers may stare, mascara may run, the fetal position may be taken. Do what you need to do. Just make sure there’s someone there, either on the other end of the phone or in real life, to help you let out all of your feelings and then promptly reel these emotions back in so you can PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER.
Your phone charger.
If your smart phone is anything like mine, it loses its charge in a remarkably fast way. It’s possible that attempting to load Facebook then Instagram then Gmail then Facebook again all while several feet below ground on the Subway with only one baby bar of signal could be the root of the battery depletion issue. But whether or not your habits match mine, you’re still going to need a charge on your phone in a serious way. That little block of technology is the only way you’ll be able to communicate with “Nick,” the sketchy broker you’re meeting up with later who will most likely eat up half of your day and teach you what you kind of already knew: brokers are to renters what Ursula was to Ariel in the Little Mermaid. Proceed with caution people.
Kleenex for all of the tears.
This is self-explanatory. Pack as needed or just stop into a Duane Reade. You will never ever be more than two blocks away from a Duane Reade. Welcome to New York City.