Living alone has one glaring con: you’ll have to rely on yourself for absolutely everything. Here are 14 tips to help you survive the solo life.
Living alone comes with its ups and downs. On one hand, you’re free to do as you like whenever you’re at home. No one’s going to complain if you want to strut around in your birthday suit at 2 in the morning, while you’re drinking milk out of the carton.
On the other hand, it can be quite lonely when there’s no one to share that home with. All the cleaning, cooking and maintenance work will be yours to shoulder, and you won’t have someone to help you out when you can’t open a jar or find your favorite pair of sneakers.
How to survive living alone for the first time
When you’ve flown out of the nest and started living the solo life, here are some tips that will help you deal with all the potential problems that might come your way.
#1 Give someone a copy of your key. You’ll no longer have anyone to open the door for you when you come home. But this can be something you’ll end up forgetting if you’re not used to living alone yet. Before the time comes when you’ve locked yourself out, it’s always a good idea to leave a copy of your house keys with someone you trust. It will also be much more convenient if this person lives nearby. [Read: 8 kinds of friends you need in your life]
#2 Buy important things before you need them. Whether it’s Windex, insect repellant, a plunger or a spare set of sheets, it’s always a good idea to have these things in handy before you ever need them. Just imagine the hassle of having a clogged toilet without a plunger to use! Sure, you can always borrow some from your neighbor, but it’s much easier if items like this are already somewhere in your house.
#3 Use peppermint oil and bay leaves to deter pests. For those who are squeamish around pests, you may have a panic attack when you find an unwelcome visitor in your home. To prevent this, sprinkle some peppermint oil in places where rats and spiders might go to. For ants and roaches, bay leaves should do the trick. Prevention is a lot better than cure, no?
#4 Use a string to zip up the back of your dress. The one thing most women dislike about living alone is having no one to help with wardrobe problems. Instead of calling a friend over or swearing off back zippers forever, we have a handy little trick. Tie a piece of string or a strong thread to the zipper of your dress and pull it up. It works wonders for those who aren’t flexible enough to do it on their own.
#5 Keep a mirror near a natural light source. With no one around to tell you that there’s a stain on your shirt or that the blush on one cheek is darker than the other, you’ll have to count on your own two eyes. By keeping your mirror near a window, you can see how other people will see you once you walk out.
#6 Use rubber bands for stubborn jar lids. Who doesn’t have a couple of rubber bands hanging around at home? When you’ve got a jar that won’t open, wrap a rubber band on the lid and another one on the bottle. The added grip should help you pop off the lid in no time. If this doesn’t work, you can hammer the handle of a knife onto the lid to loosen it up a bit.
#7 Don’t throw away the manual for your appliances. You may think you can figure out how to work an appliance on your own, but there are some unforeseen problems that you may not be able to solve. That’s what the manual is for. Most manuals give you a heads up on the potential problems you may face, along with a handy guide for how to solve them.
#8 Use Windex when moving appliances. Are you redesigning the layout of your home? Or have you dropped something important at the back of the fridge? Whatever reason you have for moving heavy appliances around, we can all agree that it’s not the easiest thing in the world. But by spraying some Windex beneath your appliances as you move them, you’re creating some nice lubricant to make your job easier. The best part is that it doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
#9 Make a cleanup schedule. You can’t depend on anyone to do the cleaning up for you. You have to learn to do it yourself. It’s common for many busy people to leave off the cleaning up until the stink or the dirt is already unbearable. To avoid this problem, have a daily and weekly schedule.
For instance, cleaning up the clutter from your bedroom and doing the dishes can be a daily routine. Making meals can be done in big batches every two days. Bigger chores like vacuuming and changing the sheets can be done twice a month.
#10 Make it a habit to double check everything before leaving the house. There’s no one to run after you if you’ve left your keys or your phone. So the best thing you can do is to do one last check before heading out the door. Your keys, your phone and your wallet should be placed in a highly visible place in your room so you’d avoid forgetting them.
You should also check your appliances before you leave. Make sure the appliances that should be unplugged are indeed unplugged. Check if you’ve left the gas on. And lastly, check if you’ve turned off the tap before you leave. You wouldn’t want your bills mounting up because of negligence!
#11 Hang up curtains for privacy. The wonderful thing about living alone is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. You can hang out in your undies or dance to your heart’s content. The problem, though, is that you may forget that you’ve left the window open and you’re giving your neighbor quite a show!
In addition to this, some creepers might learn that you live alone and may target you. To avoid announcing to the world that you live on your own, hang up some curtains or blinds to ward off curious eyes.
#12 Learn to cook. Ordering takeout or eating out can be quite expensive. Plus, the calories, preservatives and other additives you consume from these foods may not be the healthiest choice. That’s why you must eventually learn to cook, even if it’s something as simple as stir fry. There are tons of tutorials online that teach you the simplest ways to cook, without the use of fancy ingredients or gadgets.
#13 Have hobbies to keep you from going nuts. When you’re bored with the silence in your home, it may not be healthy to start binge watching your favorite series on Netflix. Instead, it’s a good idea to get off the internet and do some old fashioned hobbies. Whether it’s knitting, reading a book or people watching outside, you’re sure to shake off the blues that come with living alone. [Read: 13 things you need for a perfectly happy life]
#14 Make time to socialize. It can be quite dull when you’ve got no one to talk to at home. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep your social meter filled by going out from time to time. Your mental health actually depends on it! This is even more important for people who work from home, as the absence of socialization can make you feel the ennui of living alone so much more profoundly.
Also, the people whom you hang out with may be the first ones to spot signs of trouble. If you suddenly disappear from their radar, it may be a sign that you’re not doing okay. This may prompt them to call you or pay you a visit, just to check if you’re fine. [Read: 12 quick tips to add more people to your social circle]
Living alone is a cinch, once you get used to the fact that there won’t be anyone around to help you out. When you know these survival tips by heart, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being one step closer to complete independence!
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