When I first moved to the city, I didn’t realize the things I would learn after living alone for the first time.
I got a little studio on the west side. It was mostly one room, but I absolutely loved it! I didn’t have any furniture until I found a chair at Goodwill and I slept on the floor for a week waiting for my bed to be delivered. You might be thinking that I was wishing for a roommate with furniture, but I wasn’t.
Living alone was the best experience I had and I strongly recommend everyone try it once in life. Not as a permanent situation (I cohabitate with my boyfriend and dog now), but as a way to grow and learn more about who you are as a person. Here are some things that you will learn when you do:
1. How to Cook
As a waitress, I never had to worry about grocery shopping for more than yogurt. And I definitely didn’t have to cook food for myself. So when I moved into my studio, I had to learn all of this.
The best advice I can give is to meal prep (Check out my article for tips on how). Most recipes serve 6-8 people, which means you’re going to have a lot of leftovers. Unless you want to eat the same thing every day (I did this and it gets old, real quick!), then I recommend cutting the recipe in half and finding recipes that use similar ingredients.
2. How to Kill Bugs
We are all scared of a bug in some matter (unless you are one of those people that loves them, then you are an anomaly). For me, that bug is spiders. I’m so scared of them that I have to give myself a pep talk every time I have to go near one. When I lived at home, I used to call my dad to kill everything for me, but I couldn’t do that in my new place.
So when I would find a random one, I would get creative with what to use to kill it like a vacuum or a Swiffer. I still have to give myself a pep talk and I also call my best friend to help encourage me to kill the spider on my own. The best part of renting is being able to call management for pest control to come out.
3. How to Clean
When you live with someone, it’s easy to pass the buck and say that they’re the reason your house is a mess. But when you live alone, there’s no one to blame. You have to buy all the supplies and make the time to clean. I found it easier to set aside one day a week to clean (I still use Sundays as my time to clean). Also, if you keep your house picked-up, then you don’t have much prep time if someone decides to come over.
4. How to Budget
Since all the bills fall on your shoulder, you have to learn how to manage your money. Especially if you live in the city, where rent is traditionally higher (I paid $1200 for my studio, and I live in a more cost-effective city). I recommend creating a realistic budget you can stick to, eating at home most of the time, and using apps, like Mint, to monitor your accounts.
5. How to Be Alone
One of the obvious things that happens when you live alone is that you are literally alone. A lot. At first, this can be hard to handle especially if you’re a social person. But if you use this time well, it can be your favorite part of the whole week.
I love my alone time. In fact, not having enough alone time is the one thing I miss most about my studio. I could watch cartoons and color without people around. Or sit on my balcony either painting or having a drink while I creep on other people (Seriously. The best people watching is with a glass of wine after work at an apartment complex. Especially if that complex is downtown). I also loved working out and doing yoga at home without people there to judge (or see that sometimes I don’t wear clothes).
This is the best place to get to know who you are more (Especially if you do it sans clothing. Read this for benefits to convince you). From your dislikes & likes to feeling comfortable with your body.
6. How to Self-Motivate
When I lived in college, I discovered what it was like to have a snooze button. Previously, I had always gotten up on the first ring (or on the weekends, to my mom yelling at me). But when I was a freshman, my roommate used to set an alarm to go off 16 times (!!) every morning before my alarm clock. It was the worst.
However when you live alone, there aren’t other alarm clocks to go off or people to yell at you to get up. You have to be the one to set all of the alarms and to actually get out of bed. You also have to hold yourself accountable to go to the gym, to cook, and to clean. No one’s going to come in and make you do them.
7. How to Appreciate Social Settings
Living alone isn’t always about being alone though. You are still a human and you still like to go out. Living alone just makes you go out in search of people to do it with and to find places to go. Instead of walking home after work to find your roommate has a bunch of friends over.
This puts you in control of monitoring whether you spend money eating out, when you have me-nights in, and what nights you want to go out. Yet nothing is as calming as coming home to your comfy bed, landing belly first, at a place that you call your own.