Living on your own is a major adulting milestone. It gives you a sense of independence, not to mention the fact that it forces you to learn life skills. Here are 5 key tips that everyone with their own place should know.
1. Meal prep
It can be tempting to just order takeout or make box pasta night instead of actually cooking dinner. Plan the weeks meal and go grocery shopping each weekend.
For recipes, check out online sources like Bon Appetite, the New York Times, and of course, Society19! You’ll also find cookbooks at thrift stores or at your local library! (Just make sure you don’t get sauce on the pages). It’s best to make big dishes like casseroles that you can freeze and have as leftovers later. Try to incorporate vegetables into at least on meal a day.
Speaking of vegetables, here’s a pro tip on keeping them fresh: Take them out of the plastic bag from the grocery store because this will trap condensation and make them go bad more quickly. Next, line the bottom of your veggie drawer with paper towels. This will soak up any excess moisture and keep them fresher for days longer.
2. Personalize your living space
What’s more depressing than bare walls? Even if you can’t afford the interior design of your dreams, there are many affordable ways to make your space look nice. Framing your art is a great way to make it look more “adult” and less “dorm room”. Christmas lights are atmospheric, and only cost about $5 per strand.
3. Thrift stores are your friend
One of the most expensive aspects of living on your own is buying domestic goods. You’ll need a laundry basket, laundry bin, dish rack, cutlery, a cutting board, oven mitts, a toaster, microwave, shoe rack, shower curtain, chairs, a nightstand… the list goes on. Thrift stores are a great place to find these for cheap.
You can also go to Bed Bath and Beyond if you’ve been hoarding your coupons properly. (I’m not even being paid to say that I just love Bed Bath and Beyond).
4. Make weekly chore calendar
Your roommate isn’t here anymore to cast judgmental glances at your overflowing laundry basket. Make a weekly chore chart to make sure you stay on track (and hygienic).
You should wipe down the kitchen counters and stovetop and unload the dishwasher multiple times per week. Chores that should be done once per week are laundry, vacuuming, taking out the trash, and checking the mail. Dusting and cleaning the bathroom can be done less often.
Don’t forget to change out your towels, washcloths, and pillow cases once a week, and refresh your bedsheets every two weeks.
5. Practice self care
When you’re living on your own you can really focus on yourself. What’s a hobby that you’ve wanted to explore but never had time for? Is there some kind of project you’ve been putting off? Take a ballet class, go to a paint night, or volunteer at a dog shelter! Do something that enriches your life that isn’t watching Netflix.
However, living on your own can be socially isolating, especially if you’re working remotely. Don’t forget to call the people who care about you!
Check in with yourself periodically and make sure that all your needs (social, hunger/thirst, hygiene, exercise, and fun) are being met. Sometimes you can be really stressed out and not even know it! Aim to find a work-fun balance in your life.