There's a particularly hilarious website that's been making the Internet rounds lately. Theworstroom.com is exactly what it sounds like: a compilation of some of the most horrifying rooms the site's creator has found while searching for affordable housing in New York City. As I skimmed through the images of windowless rooms, kitchenless studios, and $600/month bunk beds (that's for just one of the bunks), I found myself laughing — but also having a not-so-amusing realization. For millennials currently searching for reasonably priced housing in cities throughout the country (although NYC is especially bad), the option of renting windowless rooms with strangers as roommates isn't just a joke, it's a possible reality. Here are some buzzwords to check for as you look for an apartment so that you can attempt to avoid wasting your time looking at a room that's actually a closet.
From my personal experience in New York, this means that a living room has been cut in half to make a tiny bedroom, which means it usually contains neither a closet nor outlets nor space for a normal-sized bed. Steer clear.
2. "Partially Furnished"
This is a toss-up. It could either mean you're getting a nice furnished sublet while the person who normally lives there is off doing an unpaid summer internship in another city, or that the last person who lived there had bedbugs and ditched all their stuff. Check the box spring before you move in!
3. "Lots of Light"
Generally this means lots of light at one specific time in the day, such as 7:00 a.m. when one really prefers a minimal amount of light. The rest of the time the room is probably in shadow. If you thrive on sunlight, though, you may want to actively keep an eye out for this phrase in a listing, and visit the apartment at different times of the day before you decide on it.
4. "Close to Everything"
This apartment is probably at the end of a public transit line — objectively, it's possible to get around the city, but in actuality you'll be spending hours on your commute.
5. "Great View"
Welcome to your new sixth-floor walk up. Start working out your quads.
Small. The smallest. You will be living in a closet. But hey, it's probably better than living in your parents' basement.