Sunday, 27 January 2019

Transitioning to Apartment Living

I've now moved to Hurstville into a 1 bedroom apartment... with 2 dogs ... from a house for a year.  And LOVE it.

In this post I talk about some of the things I love about apartment living.  I also cover some of the gotchas and what I don't like about it.

1.  Security

I love the secure feeling of living in this particular apartment block.  I know it's not universal with all apartments but one of the things I was seeking was a feeling of security (or rather a lack of not feeling safe.)  I live on a high floor which helps too.  If I had all the same features but was on the first or ground floor I don't think it would be the same at all.
My apartment block has a swipe card/fob access for the lobby door and then a further swipe is required to get to any floor on the lift.  My apartment door then has a normal lock although I've seen other people install an additional lock I don't feel the need for this.  My floor only has a handful of apartments so well seem to recognise each other.

2.  Garbage Chute

I love, love, love having a garbage chute.  What is this magical thing?  Well it's a handle box thing which you pull open, throw your garbage (in a garbage or plastic bag please!!) close the box thing and voila... garbage is no longer in your life.  Ever.  (Don't throw out anything you want because goodness knows where it goes and I don't think you will ever see it again!)  It's very cathartic.  I believe there are lots of people who are watching the Marie Kondo Netflix series... and any decluttering person will tell you that you should not let your stuff own you.
The garbage chute is inside a garbage room which has space for me to put my recycling.  When I first moved in I had a lot of IKEA boxes.  And I mean a LOT.  The room was chockers full with my recycling and the next day I opened the door (probably to put more IKEA boxes into it!) and it was *poof* gone.  I mean magically.  It was an amazing feeling.  And our apartment block has cleaners who keep the room nice and clean and tidy.  It never smells funny or is left dirty.

3.  Storage Cage and Parking Spot

In my last house, we had a double ++ garage.  It was huge and we also had roof space and under house space where we could store stuff.  I thought I would miss having a garage where my car was kept safe and away from the other 'stranger' cars.  But the car space system works fine.  It's good to have enough space on either side of the car to get in and out and good to know that all there is space for is the car.  Once I get down to the car space I'm in the car and away!  (but I do have to go up 4 ramps and two security doors before I can get out but I do have a remote opener so it's not too bad).

The storage cage is also good.  It's good that it's far away in a sense and I do have enough storage in my apartment for most things so only the large things that I don't have space for or need for on a day to day basis goes down there.  Things like suitcases and not yet used potting mix or dog food or if anyone is going to Costco and buying toilet paper!  Mainly I put my suitcase and half worked on projects (I'm looking at you Big Mirror Project!) and my trolleys for big items.  Oh and that giant rug I still hang onto cos I love it but my apartment is too small for.  (I really should give it away... )

I lock the storage cage with a lock with chain - similar to a bicycle or motorcycle lock.  People are able to see into my cage and I don't have anything special in there so I don't expect there to be any theft.  It's good as it's not very dusty down there nor is it damp and it is well lit so all in all I think it's an improvement to most sheds or garages.

4.  Low maintenance (although high costs)

Living in a small apartment is great!  Dusting and vacuuming is minimal (well compared to a house!) and no lawns need mowing.  I only have one bathroom to clean and I clean as I go (as in I don't have a dedicated cleaning schedule).  My balcony is undercover so a sweep and mop is good to keep it clean even though I have two dogs.

The strata for the building is expensive especially since the only 'special' things is the two lifts our building has.  But cleaning and maintenance isn't free so each of us have to pay our share.  Having said that I believe maintenance for a house (time spent mowing, mowing, cleaning gutters etc) can add up over a year so for the < $5000 I pay per annum I think it's an OK trade.

5.  Mod cons (modern conveniences)

I live in a fairly new apartment so have a lot of the modern conveniences.  I installed an air conditioning unit when I moved in but probably only used it 10 times in the last year either for heating or cooling.  But it's good to know it's there.  The apartment comes with appliances such as the dishwasher, microwave and dryer (although I've had to replace the dryer).  The place also comes with an intercom for security and access.

It's hard to think of anything that this apartment needs.  Maybe one of those 3 in 1 things in the bathroom for winter.

I did replace all the halogen downlights with LEDs but as they were easily replaced.

6. Convenience

There's little not to love about my apartment!  The convenience most of all.  The ability to lock up and go is great and the location makes it super handy for me to get public transport around Sydney and also in Hurstville I get access to a Westfields as well as lots of restaurants and banking services.

7. Views and breeze

How can I forget one of the selling points of this apartment?  The view!  The view from this apartment is phenomenal!  And with it comes the breeze.  I'm fortunate to have an east facing apartment.  I originally looked at getting a north facing apartment but I actually think this is better!  Views of the ocean, airport and city... sunrises that are so magical.  Moon rises too!  And all whilst being protected on the north and south by neigbour's properties!  So I get a cooling breeze without the gale force winds.

Things which are a little annoying:

Lack of bathroom window for air - the compact size means both my laundry and bathroom are "internal" and have no windows to the outside.  Actually in my apartment I have NO windows!  But I have two massive stacker doors that lead out to the balcony.

Noise from upstairs - the noise from neighbours can be annoying if they are stomping around in the middle of the night but I think that my neighbours above must be away most of the year as I only occasionally get a few nights of noise.  And then silence for the rest of the year.  So I'm happy when they are all away!

Waiting for a lift - if you are in rush this could be annoying.  With two lifts servicing the building there are some times where you need to be patient and wait for the lift.  Unfortunately you can't rush these things.  If desperate there is always the stairs (although I have yet to work out how to get into the stairwell from downstairs).

Keys! - don't forget them! - every time I go out I double check for keys.  Unless I'm holding the keys in my hand when I'm about to leave my apartment I don't walk away.  The door self locks so I'm always worried one day I'll lock myself out.

That's it.  I can't think of any other things that don't work for me.  I'm sure there are small things but overall I just love it!  Yay to apartment living!

Startups - I can multitask right?

One of my co-founders of CrowdQuests / HackSauce has rightly pointed out that my last post was saying I am only focusing on one Startup.  Well I was.  But then we did GovHack 2018... and started up a new startup CrowdQuests which is something I find we at Transport for NSW need and I'm sure other data hungry organisations also need.  We've often talked about getting data more accurate and crowdsourced to keep costs low.  So now there is such a company and app that does that.  CrowdQuests :)

So CrowdQuests is the product and HackSauce is the organisation that has the four founders attached to it.  I say attached as we have it currently as a partnership with the 4 companies that each of the founders is a sole director of as partners.  I know confusing, right?  But it works for us and we are likely to incorporate HackSauce to make things a bit easier when submitting tenders and quotes and proposals.

More about CrowdQuests and what we are doing in a different post when I have a bit more time... but I also started a new blog which may or may not become a 'thing'... because I've been following a ketogenic diet for the last couple of months.  The blog is Keto4Asians.  It's a resource for me to share my keto stuff and knowledge.  And will obviously have a bent towards Asian related foods.  But I just blog about whatever.  I've also set up a matching Twitter and Instagram account.  Let's see what happens with it but it's meant to be a low effort (mainly because of my interest) activity and also helps me keep motivated in following the keto-esque diet.  I am doing what they call "lazy keto" as I am not tracking much except estimating in keeping my net carbs under 20 grams.