Moving out of your family home, or even moving out of the comfort of the dorms, can be a challenging time. Living on your own requires being on top of everything, and that can be a daunting task. There are a lot of little things that should be common knowledge that may not be as customary as you’d think. The following are some tips and tricks that I’d like to introduce back into common knowledge.
If you are going to be living alone, you’ll need to be extra careful about being safe (especially if you are female identifying or gender non-conforming, unfortunately). Don’t slack on keeping your doors locked, even when you’re at home. Keep your bicycle locked as close to your residence as possible. Also, consider carrying pepper spray or a taser whenever you leave the house at night. Even though it might be a little costly, I’d also recommend keeping at least one light on at night so you’re less likely to be robbed.
My first bit of advice is to keep the heat to a minimum. Avoid baseboard heating if you can and try to find a place with good insulation to help keep your electric bill down. Using LED light bulbs will also help you cut costs, as will taking shorter and cooler showers (I love those hot, scalding 45 minute showers too, but maybe save those for a special treat). Finally, turn off those fairy lights at night! They’re super pretty and make a room cozier, but they burn out quickly if you keep them on all the time, and they waste energy.
If you have on-site laundry units, make sure you check to see if they require quarters. If they do, I’d recommend going to your bank and asking for several rolls of quarters to last you the whole year, if possible. Running out of quarters is no fun and neither is making frequent trips to the bank, especially if you don’t have reliable transportation. My next bit of advice is to avoid waiting until the last minute to do laundry. Doing smaller loads throughout the week will allow you to always have clean clothes, and if the washer and dryer are unavailable one day it won’t be the end of the world.
This is for your mental health. It may seem like a hassle, but putting effort into making your living space feel warm and comfortable, especially if you live alone, will help ease homesickness and boost your overall sense of well-being.
Kitchen Do’s and Don’ts
I’ve noticed my roommates do too many unsafe things that I honestly thought were common sense to avoid, so I thought I’d share a random assortment of kitchen tips:
1. Don’t: leave open tin cans in the fridge
Why? Metals can leech into your food and make you sick.
2. Don’t: leave wooden utensils in the sink
Why? They can grow bacteria and mold. You should also avoid cracking and warping them in the dishwasher.
3. Don’t: leave perishable foods out for more than 4 hours
Why? The service industry follows this rule for a reason. The longer you leave out perishable foods, the longer you risk them going bad.
4. Don’t: mix bleach and ammonia
Why? It’ll kill you.
5. Do: pay attention to how much dish soap to put in the dishwasher
Why? I mean, you can experiment with filling your kitchen with foam if you want, that’s your choice.
6. Do: store foods in dry, cool places
Why? Bacteria and mold grow in warm, damp places. If you have a cabinet above your stove, don’t put your food in it. Condensation from boiling water/etc. can make your food go bad quickly.