If I were to call my mom at any given moment, there’s an 82 percent chance that, in the midst of our conversation, she’d mutter the words, “When are you moving home?” The remaining 18 percent accounts for the all-too-familiar when is your boyfriend proposing questioning.
I’ve lived in Chicago for three years now with no immediate plans to return to the suburbs of Michigan. There’s just too much that I’m not ready to give up—the lure of the Lakefront Trail, the best restaurants in the country at my fingertips, the ability to hit the town on any given weekday, and the slight discomfort that keeps me on my toes.
Sure, I wouldn’t consider one-tripping my groceries 1.2 miles home or waking up to the commotion of the Brown Line at 6 a.m. to be glamorous by any means, but the inconveniences pale in comparison to a Midwestern sunset reflecting off of the city skyline in August. So, we make it work. The City Girls have spoken, and these are 10 things that make life easier:
In every apartment I've lived in thus far, I've been super tight on square footage (particularly when we're talking about closet space). So when opting for shoe choices, I tend to lean towards those that can serve more than one purpose. I love a classic white sneaker for this reason and these SeaVees tennis shoes are the perfect choice for running errands to brunch and beyond. With a cushioned memory foam footbed and cooling channels to promote airflow, these sneaks from SeaVees are a city-goers dream.
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Whether you live in a city or not, everyone needs this app downloaded on their phone. Citizen provides safety alerts and live video of incidents happening near you, updates on natural disasters or protests, and can help you to know if your loved ones are near a dangerous incident. Citizen also offers 24/7 access to a trained Protect Agent who can help whenever you feel unsafe.
Natural Sound Machine
While I love the hustle and bustle of Chicago, it's no secret that when it's time for bed, trains and sirens from traffic below can be an absolute bedtime buzzkill. My boyfriend and I use this noise machine to help drown out outside noise, and we love it so much that we always bring it with us when we travel.
Let me set the scene: It's a Tuesday evening, I got a little too excited at Trader Joe's, and I am one-tripping my groceries a mile home because I don't have a car. I'm dripping sweat, taking breaks every block to recover, and am full of regret. Last week, I saw a woman effortlessly dragging her groceries in this doo-dad and let me tell you: I've never opened my Amazon app so quickly.
Hanging Paper Towel Roll
If you're familiar with small-space living, you already know: Kitchen counter real estate is precious. Between my air fryer, coffee pot, and drying rack, my counter space is limited. Opting for space-saving options like this hanging paper towel roll is an absolute must. When it comes time for move out, just take a hair dryer to the adhesive for a seamless removal and let the good times *roll*.
Door Stop Alarm
My sister is moving into a studio apartment this fall, and she just brought this little number to my attention. Once you're settled into your space for the night, just wedge this underneath your door, turn it on, and, if triggered, it will deploy an alarm that will alert you and those within earshot of an attempted entry. It's a great alarm system for bedrooms, apartments, and dorms and is small enough to bring with you when you're traveling for added hotel security.
A lot of city fridges don't have a built-in water filtration system, and if yours does, I envy you. When my boyfriend and I were apartment hunting last year, we fell upon our current apartment which is perfect in every way with the exception of—you guessed it—no. water. filtration. system. We have since picked up this high-volume Brita and swear by it. It keeps our water filtered and cold and is much less annoying than filling up the lower-volume ones that require a refill every time you pour yourself a glass (no thank you).
So you're commuting to work on the train and have to carry pounds on pounds of tech gear and snacks but still want to look professional? Enter the leather backpack—our favorite commute-friendly solution that looks as good as it functions. Packing your bag to the brim has never been so ergonomic, plus it's easy on the eyes.
Magnetic Spice Rack
As previously mentioned, kitchen space in the city is hard to come by, and the same rings true in our pantries. Not only do mismatched seasonings take up a ton of space (especially when you are trying to diversify your recipe portfolio), but they straight up look messy. This magnetic spice rack is such a great solution if you have a magnetic fridge (and it looks so much better).
If there's one kitchen add that I can't live without, it's my air fryer. It can be tempting to eat out and order in every night of the week when you have some solid restaurants around you but, let's be real: That can make life super pricey. The air fryer has helped me to cut down on cooking time, preheat leftovers in a pinch, and up my veggie game, and for that, I'm forever grateful.
This post is sponsored by SeaVees, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.