There’s something magical about the first time you live alone. Everything has the glow that’s exclusive to things that are new and exciting – your first laundry day, the first meal you cook all by yourself, or the first time you open the door to your place and think of it as home.
With your new independence comes a lot of learning. This isn’t necessarily a dramatic evolution, but every little mistake, you will undoubtedly make will also make a great story.
Here are 15 little things you’ll definitely pick up over the course of your first solo living adventure, based on my own personal experience of making mistakes (a couple of times over just to make sure).
1. Mealtimes become optional (but they shouldn’t)
You no longer have to eat at a specific time to make things easier on everyone else, but sticking to a regular schedule will stop you from groggily staring at the contents of your fridge at 1 AM because you haven’t eaten anything since that mid-afternoon bowl of cereal.
2. Don’t convert currency, just compare prices within the region
Foreign exchange rates had me shook and it took me a while to realize that I just wasn’t going to find things at the same prices that I was used to back home. Roll with the punches and work out a budget.
3. Laundry piles up….quickly
Realizing that you’ll start a whole new cycle when you have to put the clothes you wore to do your laundry into the hamper at the end of laundry day will make you feel a little pang of sadness. The sight of an empty hamper is oh so satisfying and oh so fleeting!
4. You may not feel like doing the dishes now but once they’ve been sitting there for a while you really won’t want to
What’s worse than doing the dishes? Doing the dishes after they’ve been sitting in their own filth, getting grosser and grosser by the hour. You can try to convince yourself that the stars will align and you will feel like doing them at some point in the future, but you won’t. Just get it over with.
5. There’s a big leap between buying vegetables and cooking them
All the good intentions you had at the store wilt along with your vegetables once you get back home and deposit them in your fridge. The self-congratulatory feeling of owning a vegetable, every time you reach past it to get to the chocolate milk, will turn into a deep sense of shame when you’re tossing a limp, squashed version of your healthy intentions in the bin.
6. You have no one but yourself to blame for your mess
So apparently it wasn’t your sibling coming into your room and tossing all your belongings into the air that made your room look like that. You really were the problem all along. Who could’ve seen that coming?
7. You have to deal with creepy crawlers
There’s no one to scream to for help. It’s you vs nature and you’re not hopeful of a win. Especially if it flies. If it flies then it has won. The room rightfully belongs to it and you need to make other accommodation arrangements.
8. You can feel lonely sometimes
Independence feels great but that doesn’t mean you won’t sometimes miss a hectic full house. Your entire family and pets filtering in and out of your room, having three full meals on the table that you didn’t shop and prep for all by yourself, and always having company regardless of whether or not you want it.
9. Throw the garbage out sooner rather than later
This will sound obvious but garbage stinks more than the act of having to dispose of it. Convincing yourself that the bag can be fuller is damning your future self to a much more unpleasant trip to the garbage chute.
10. Getting locked out is a new fear
The flood of relief you feel when you find your key just when you’d resigned yourself to sleeping outside. The flip side being the confident reach for the key that really isn’t there. From personal experience, taping a sign to your door asking yourself if you have your key before you leave, really does help.
11. Watching a cooking tutorial and following the cooking tutorial doesn’t take the same amount of time
“It took them 40 seconds, why is it taking us 4 hours!” Apparently pre-cut, perfectly measured ingredients don’t just appear along with your resolve to recreate the recipe.
12. You save a lot when you make coffee at home
The experience of standing around and having a warm cup of coffee handed to you is great, but mastering good coffee at home will be much easier on your finances (that’s probably still reeling from adjusting to exchange rates). This also applies to all take-out food. Your parents were right. There really is food at home.
13. There are a lot of frantic calls home about how to actually do things
“How far past the expiration date does something expire…..really?” “Quick! Have I gotten the chickenpox vaccine or chickenpox?!?” “Why does this not look exactly the way I remember it looking at home even though I followed your recipe?” “Who…….wait what was my question?”
14. Housekeeping hacks get a lot more interesting
Clean out the communal microwave in 5 minutes? Yes, please and thank you. There’s nothing better than finding the easiest way to clean something when you’re the one responsible for cleaning it.
15. There are no rules. Enjoy it….but also maybe set some rules for yourself
You’ll make mistakes when you live alone, but you’ll learn from them and be better because of them!
Your first experience living alone will be unforgettable. So make sure you personalize your space, pick up some essential skills, live your best life, and make use of every single minute of your live alone adventure.