Living alone is exactly what you make of it. I never expected to live alone after college, but I ended up in a situation where I needed to find an apartment on a deadline and a studio apartment in the downtown section of my hometown was available. So I applied, got the apartment, and lived by myself for a year.
And I LOVED it.
Seriously, not that I don’t love my current situation more, but living alone was an amazing opportunity for me. It taught me independence, improved my work ethic, and gave me the confidence to get out and experience more. Sure, I was working 50+ hours a week to barely support myself, but you do what you have to.
If you’re in a situation where you might be living on your own, it can be a little unnerving. How many horror movie situations have played through your head as you try to imagine your first night in your own apartment? Here are five ways you can make your time of solo living safe, productive, and overall happy.
1. Take initiative
The big thing about living alone is that if you don’t do something, no one else is there to do it for you. Just ask the giant box of recycling that sat in my closet for six months. If you notice something’s amiss, do something about it sooner, rather than later. That way it won’t be hanging over your head when you’re trying to relax.
Also, clean your place regularly. You wouldn’t think that one person could make an apartment a total mess, but you’d be wrong. Cleaning regularly will keep it a nice place to live and prevent any creepy-crawlies from getting in and joining you.
2. Embrace it
You know that feeling you got in college when you got back to your dorm after a long day of classes and your roommate wasn’t there? You could pop some popcorn and watch whatever you wanted on TV in complete solitude? You can have that feeling every single day when you live alone.
It’s normal to get lonely sometimes, but try to think of your alone time as “me time”, not loneliness. Use it for something that makes you happy. Get a stack of comics from the library and read them in the sunshine. Get takeout from your favorite restaurant and watch five hours of Netflix before bed. Hell, walk around your apartment completely naked. It’s your place, you can do whatever you want.
3. Get out and see people
Staying social is just as important as embracing solitude. Make sure you leave the house sometimes. Like I said above, I worked a lot. Many days I was out of the house at 4:45am and home at 8pm. The hours were rough, but I saw people all day.
I was also lucky that my family lived nearby. So I would also go hang out at my mom’s for a while, or go visit my sister at work. And shortly after I moved into my place, I met the guy I would end marrying a few years later. So he was in and out and I was taking the hour long trip to his house multiple times a week, then hurrying back home in time for work.
All the socializing kept me connected to the world and made my house feel more like a cozy refuge from the world and less like a prison where nobody wanted to see me.
4. Take reasonable precautions
Whatever horror movie scenario you were envisioning probably isn’t going to happen. But the sucky reality is that living alone can put you in a vulnerable position. So you need to take some precautions for your safety. Some important things to remember:
- Lock the door when you’re not home or before you go to bed.
- Be are of your surroundings when you’re leaving or coming home.
- Stay in regular touch with family and friends.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
- Don’t leave candles unattended.
The amount of precautions and which ones you need to take will probably depend on your location and situation. If you can, talk to people who have lived in the area and can possibly give you more personalized advice before you move in.
5. Set your house up however the hell you like
After about six months in my studio apartment, I decided it was time to rearrange the furniture. And the couch was going in the kitchen. Partially to give my nocturnal boyfriend a place to hang out while I was sleeping before a 5am shift. And partially because I wanted my couch in the kitchen. Put up your posters, put the furniture in whatever order makes you happy, and make your place your own.
Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!