After living with your parents or roommates for years, you’ve made the move to your own place — congrats! You’re free to do what you want when you want and you can even do it in the nude if that’s your thing. But with all this extra freedom comes a whole load of extra responsibilities. Here are some tips to make the most of living on your own (and avoiding the dreaded return to your parent’s domicile).
1. Time to Cook
After a long day of work, it’s tempting to order take out or throw a frozen pizza in the oven night after night. But take the time to learn a few easy and quick recipes. This isn’t just about maintaining your budget, but also about not growing your waistline.
·Go to the grocery store with a list. The smell of freshly baked goods may be tempting, but don’t — always — give in to that temptation. Going to the store once a week with a list will help you eat healthier and not waste money on takeout.
·Keep things fresh. Putting things in airtight containers won’t just keep food fresh, it will also keep those pesky pests away. Speaking of…
2. Get Rid of Pests
If you don’t want pests, it’s all about prevention. That starts with cleaning the countertop and making sure it’s free of crumbs and open food. Cleaning your kitchen and fridge with a half vinegar, half water mixture will also deter smaller creatures like ants from making your new home their new home. Ants are also deterred by citrus peels in the sink because the citrus kills mold, their source of food. For fruit flies, leave out apple cider vinegar mixed with a dash of soap.
But what happens if a dreaded roach or mouse sneaks in? Noise devices can get them to evacuate and peppermint typically keeps them out of cupboards, but if that doesn’t work, set out some humane traps, either sticky pads or cages. (Avoid the snapping kill traps, unless you want to clean up a horrible mess).
3. Keep Utility Costs down
Budgets can change when electricity bills skyrocket, so do what you can to lessen the impact of incidentals, particularly those related to heat and air-conditioning. For one, decorate with curtains and blinds to limit heat and cool air escaping. You can also give the electricity bill a hand by installing energy-efficient light bulbs. While the initial cost to purchase these bulbs is higher, they’re proven to save you loads on your bill.
When it comes to plumbing, septic cleaning is up to your landlord. But make things easier on yourself by having a plunger on hand to avoid making clogs any worse. Products like Drano aren’t advised, especially with older plumbing, but do invest a small amount in a drain snake. Creating a mixture of cream of tartar, salt, and baking soda can also unclog your toilet and tub.
Last but not least, know where everything is, including the circuit breaker and fuse box. When you blow a fuse, you don’t want to be fumbling around in the dark.
4. Keep up with the Laundry
To avoid laundry pile-ups all around your room and new home, plan a laundry day or night every week. But also keep these rules of thumb handy:
·Read the tags. If a shirt says dry clean only, take it to the cleaners, otherwise, you’ll most likely shrink your favorite blouse.
·Keep whites and colors separate. Unless you want your entire wardrobe to be pink, don’t mix whites with other colors, especially red.
·Set timers, especially if your washer/dryer doesn’t beep when done. Not only will this help you finish laundry as early as possible, but you can avoid wrinkles and, for the most part, irons.
5. Stay Safe
This is the most important tip of all, especially as a woman living on her own. Renter’s (or homeowner’s) insurance is important to buy, but there are things you should be doing each and every day to keep your home a safe place. For one, always keep your doors and windows locked, even if you’re just stepping out for a quick trip. If you are planning on going out of town, don’t tell the world, including social media, about your travel plans. Last but not least, rather than hide a spare key outside, give it to a trusted neighbor or friend.