You’ve jumped from roommate to roommate over the years. First there was the one who never talked to you, but stayed in her room all the time, fighting with her boyfriend on the phone. Then there was the one who would leave passive aggressive notes on the refrigerator, telling you to pick up your jacket you left in the living room, as if that made the place a pigsty. Then there was the one who you made great friends with in grad school, who you laughed with and shared amazing memories with, but then you had to move away when school was finished. Or, you might have lived with the same roommate for years.
Now that you’re earning enough money to live by yourself, you’ve decided it’s time to do it. Living alone can be very exciting – you can now decorate your space however you want, invite people over without consulting your roommate first, and even walk around in your underwear if you so desire. But if you’re used to living with someone else, living alone for the first time can be a challenge. Here are some struggles you may run into and tips on how to deal with them.
If you’re used to living with someone else, living on your own can be lonely at first, even if you were tired of living with other people. You’re used to having other people around to talk to, and it can be comforting to know someone else is there. Now that you don’t, you need to make sure your support system outside your home is solid. Make sure your social life is active and gets you out of the house. Take time to go out with friends, take classes at the gym, and even join Meetup groups. That way, when you are home, you can truly enjoy all the “me time” you’ll get there.
If you do get lonely, you can call or video chat with a friend or family member. But don’t start relying on social media to cure your loneliness. Socializing exclusively online can make you even lonelier. That’s why it’s important to have an active social life outside of your home. When you return home, enjoy time by yourself. Read a book, listen to music, play with pets, make art – however you like to spend your alone time, try to keep yourself occupied doing things you enjoy.
Some people are just messy by nature. They need to be motivated to clean up. Living with someone else can be enough motivation on its own. But when you’re living alone, it’s easy to think, “who cares if I let the dishes pile up?” You do care though. If you lack the motivation to clean up, put it on your calendar or set reminders for yourself. Make yourself a schedule, and stick to it. Tell yourself you can’t watch the new episode of Game of Thrones until after you’ve cleaned the kitchen, or reward yourself with some ice cream once you’ve gotten it done. Find some way to motivate yourself so you can keep your home nice and clean, even when you’re the only one who sees it.
Safety is just as important, if not more so, when you’re living alone. Without a roommate looking out for you, you’ll want to take some extra precautions. Meet your neighbors so that you can have an extra set of eyes watching out for you. Make sure all the locks in your home are in working order. If you’re in a house, consider installing a safety alarm. Don’t draw attention to the fact that you’re alone – close your curtains at night and don’t tell strangers you live by yourself. If you go out of town for a weekend, alert your neighbors and have someone pick up your mail. Self defense classes can also boost your confidence and make you feel safer when living alone.
Living by yourself can be a huge change if you’re used to living with roommates. Keeping these three hurdles in mind and knowing how to combat them will make living alone much easier. That way you can focus on making your space a comfortable place to relax after a long day. Now it’s time to get that modern living room set you saw at Ikea and display your old album covers on the wall!
Alison Rollins is Vice President of Marketing at Petite2Queen. She earned her master’s degree in Global Entertainment & Music Business from Berklee College of Music. An experienced marketer, Alison is an expert leader in social and digital media. She’s a talented videographer, with an extensive portfolio of thought-provoking work. At Petite2Queen, Alison focuses on meeting the diverse needs of women at all stages of their lives.