The Cost Of Losing A Roommate (And Gaining A Living Room)

Moving is so fun.

Image: lonecellotheory (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A month ago, one of my roommates told us that he was moving out. For years, we’ve filled each room in my apartment like a youth hostel, consistently rotating out old strangers for new ones. When our roommate told us he was leaving, I knew we weren’t getting another one.

The decision to not get a new roommate and reduce the size of our household from four to three wasn’t necessarily unilateral. No one’s said anything otherwise and so instead of throwing ourselves into the scrum of Craigslist and frantic emails into the ether, we decided to stick to this new plan. Regardless, they agreed.

There comes a point when you have to accept the inevitability of the life you’re living. Change is slow, collecting incrementally over time like vacation days or paid time off. I am convinced that I will never live alone; one person leaving the house and not being replaced is a step closer to that dream. After living with roommates for over a decade with no end in sight, the chance to reduce the amount of human beings in our shared home was an exciting one. I don’t want to get accustomed to another stranger’s habits. I don’t want the opportunity for resentment to fester.

Living with other people is an acquired taste. Adjusting the boundaries of your optimal self — alone, unencumbered by the proclivities of others — is a learned skill. I’ve been good at it for years, but my habits have calcified. I’m adaptable to a point but find myself now set in my ways. The relative peace we’ve reached in my house is one that I don’t want to disrupt. So the roommate reshuffling begins in earnest.

I have lived in almost every room of this apartment, dragging an IKEA dresser and armfuls of clothing and books around corners and setting up shop in a new environment every few years. For four years now, I’ve lived in the biggest room in the house: sunny expansive, the size of studio apartments in other neighborhoods. It’s been a good run. We’re turning my room into the living room and I’m dragging my belongings down the hall to what will most likely be my final resting place in this godforsaken home. Here’s what it cost me.

  • $239 for a dining table and four chairs, purchased after much deliberation and due to arrive in a few days. I never want to discuss furniture with anyone ever again, but especially my sister.
  • $14.99 for a mattress cover for my box spring so I avoid the $100 ticket and fine that you get if you leave a box spring on the sidewalk in New York.
  • $119.50 for my share of the moving van and two movers my sister and I needed to pick up a couch, a bed frame, three lamps, a desk, a bookshelf, a chair and a rug from my friend who had just moved in with his boyfriend. All these items were free and for that I am eternally grateful.
  • $55 + $35 shipping +$10 tip for a used but very nice storage bench that will live at the foot of my bed and house all the crap I should probably throw away but can’t just yet.

Total: $473.49

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.