Almost three years ago I left the comfort and familiarity of my parents’ house and moved into a cosy (but horrible) little flat with my boyfriend. Since then I’ve moved twice, had my furniture ruined by a leaky roof, washed my own clothes on a regular basis, heard my upstairs neighbours having ridiculously loud “relations” and only burned myself five times on the oven.
Because I’m clearly a pro at adulting (lol, is anyone?), I thought I’d share some of the important (and not so important) things I’ve learned since moving out. Enjoy!
Note: When I mention “living alone” in this post, I just mean living away from my parents’ house. I actually live with another person, but “living away from my parents but with another human being” is quite wordy and makes writing coherent sentences quite difficult.
1. If you can’t see the creases it doesn’t need ironing. Fold it, put it away and watch Netflix until you forget about how lazy you are.
2. Some landlords are awful and would rather leave you in a bad situation than spend any money fixing their property.
3. Set an alarm so you know when the washing’s done. If not, you’ll forget you ever washed anything and spend four days blissfully ignorant of the damp-smelling washing in your machine.
4. Make sure any complaint you have about a rental property is put in writing, so you always have proof that you’ve mentioned it. One of our previous landlords pretended we’d never reported a problem and because we’d only done it in person it was his word against ours.
5. You don’t need a dishwasher as much as you think you do. Eventually you’ll forget the privileged life you once led and happily scrub the dishes while listening to Miley Cyrus. Well, maybe not happily, but you will stop lusting after dishwashers after about three months.
6. Buying your first sofa is the best thing you’ll ever do.
7. A shopping list and a meal plan will stop you spending £100 a week on food and throwing most of it in the bin.
8. Washing dries so much faster if you have a dehumidifier.
9. Cleaning the oven is the worst job in the world.
10. Make a separate account for paying bills, so you never accidentally spend your rent money.
11. Don’t start using the bill account to pay for takeaways or one day you’ll have to scrape together the money for your really expensive winter gas bill.
12. Always have back-up washing-up liquid so you never run out.
13. There’s no such thing as the toothpaste fairy. When the tube runs out you don’t have any more and you will have to get out of your pyjamas and run to the shop, or attempt to improvise toothpaste out of mouthwash and Nutella. Note: I have never actually tried this, so do not take responsibility for any Nutella-related mishaps or weird chemical reactions that take place when you combine mouthwash and Nutella. Just go to the shop.
14. Netflix is the best thing you’ll ever spend your money on.
15. View a property twice before you decide to rent it. The first time time is for checking whether you like it, the second is for checking whether there’s anything wrong with it. We viewed a property once and thought it was our dream home, but on the second viewing we discovered tiny fleas EVERYWHERE. Imagine if we’d just said yes after the first viewing?!
16. Human beings use a lot of toilet roll.
17. You’re not allowed to nail things to the wall in a rental property, so you have to have wobbly cupboards and bookcases all over the place. I can’t wait to own a house so I can get my shoes out of the cupboard without it almost falling over!
18. Make sure you always have enough underwear washed. Hunting through the dirty washing for “acceptable” knickers is not a way to live your life, no matter how much effort it is to put extra washing in.
19. It’s 100% acceptable to walk straight into someone’s “flat party” and tell them to turn the music off. Especially if it’s 3am and you’ve heard Justin Bieber sing ‘Sorry’ 87 times.
20. Screaming at a stranger in the corridor is not the best way to greet them, even if they did jump out from the mail boxes and scare you to death.
21. Invest in a good pair of ear plugs so you can block out the noise of your neighbours partying, drilling, yelling at each other, locking each other out of the building and having sex.
22. No matter how annoying it is, there is no socially acceptable way to tell your neighbours to quieten their coitus. Just stick some headphones on until it’s over.
23. Send regular gas/electric readings to your supplier so you don’t get any shockingly expensive bills because your estimated reading’s been wrong for two years.
24. Don’t put ten thousand pans in front of your gas meter or you’ll be annoyed every time you have to do a meter reading.
25. Colour catchers are quite possibly the best invention ever and I honestly don’t know how people ever coped without them.
26. You can be 25 years old and still have to call your dad to get rid of spiders. Yes, this actually happened once. But in my defence, I was home alone, and the giant monster was blocking my entire staircase. And it had eight moving legs and big scary eyes and… yeah you get it.
To summarise, just buy shed-loads of toilet roll, avoid cleaning the oven at all costs, and make sure you always have some kind of noise-cancelling equipment by your side. Sorted.
On a serious note though, living “alone” isn’t that difficult to get used to. Yes, I might have cried on the first night after moving, and yes, I’ve had some bad experiences, but I’m now lucky enough to have a lovely home and actually know what all the washing machine settings mean. All in all, it’s actually pretty good.
Except cleaning the oven. That’s always terrible.