There are many opportunities for moving out and living on your own for the first time what feels like ages. You might be moving out of your parents’ house after getting a job, or out of the dorms when you graduate from college. You might also be going through a divorce, and looking for an apartment of your own for the first time in many years.
In any case, you’ll probably feel a mix of excitement, nervousness, and anticipation as you look for and establish your next home. There are a few steps you can take to improve your enjoyment of this stage of your life, while also improving your health, safety, and financial wellness.
Tips for Living Alone
These tips can help you in almost every area of your life while living alone:
- Appreciate your alone time. Though it can also be lonely, alone time is generally good for your mental health. Millions of people stuck with roommates or family at least occasionally long for a private refuge of their own, so make the most of this time while you have it. Relish in your privacy by filling the space with your favorite music, or treating yourself to nights in after a long day of work. The more you appreciate the perks of being alone, the less you’ll miss having a roommate to share the space with.
- Invest in your security. Living alone can make you feel more vulnerable than living with someone else—and there are some increased security risks. Chances are, there are some affordable home security options in your area, so make sure you research them and take them seriously. Investing in a doorbell camera or even something simple, like a better lock, could greatly enhance your safety.
- Set standards for cleanliness and organization. When you don’t have a spouse, parent, or roommate dictating your chore schedule or snapping at you when things get untidy, it’s easy to get lazy about the cleanliness and organization of your home. Dishes go unwashed, dirty clothes get lumped together, and so on. This isn’t inherently bad unless it negatively affects your quality of life, so set proactive goals for how often you’re going to clean and organize things—and stick to them.
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors. After moving in, it’s usually a good idea to introduce yourself to the neighbors. You’ll quickly get a feel for the type of people who live around you, and you’ll set the stage to exchange favors and pleasantries in the near future. Just make sure to write down their names so you don’t forget them.
- Decorate the way you want. If you’re purchasing a home, you can do pretty much anything you want to it. If you’re renting an apartment, you’ll still have a great deal of control over things like curtains, furniture, and possibly even paint or flooring. Flex your freedom by decorating your space however you want; nobody can contradict or question your choices. The more control you exert over your environment, the happier you’re going to be in it.
- Hone your home improvement skills. While you’re spending time by yourself, try to pick up some basic home improvement skills, like changing the furnace filter, unclogging a sink, or installing a ceiling fan. This will save you tons of money in the long run, especially if you live alone in your next location, and give you more confidence to handle whatever other problems come up in your current space.
- Stick to a strict budget. Speaking of saving money, try to stick to a strict budget. Living alone, you’ll probably end up paying more in rent, and you may be inclined to overbuy on things like groceries and entertainment. Over time, this can seriously jeopardize your finances, so take inventory of your current income, plan carefully, and set strict limits for each category of your regular spending.
- Have guests. You may be reluctant to have people over if your space is small or under-decorated, but it’s an important step in making your place feel like a home. Throw yourself a small housewarming gathering, or have a few friends over for movies or games. It’s more beneficial to your psychological health than you realize.
Forging Your Own Path
Even though these tips might help you live a safer, more personally rewarding life while you’re alone, they aren’t a surefire blueprint for success, either. There’s no one “right way” to live, and accordingly, you may find a very different combination of investments and approaches is what ultimately works for you. Take the time to experiment, and be open to many different options.