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living alone for the first time 101

living alone for the first time 101

Living alone is the most overwhelming and exciting experience I have ever had. Before I moved abroad, I used to live with my parents (and even shared a room with my five-year younger sister). Even since, I’ve lived with roomies; my previous accommodation was a shared flat with 27 people!

(FIY, it was crazy and awesome; and surprisingly more comfortable than it sounds.)

So can you just try and imagine the transition: being surrounded by two dozen Erasmus students turned into living solo in a one-person studio apartment. So freaky, right?

Perhaps the most difficult thing to adjust to was the newfound solitude.

I had to get used to living in my own head; eating all my meals alone and being fully responsible for buying milk when it’s finished. I got used to drinking my morning coffee without milk, by the way.

Living the solo life does, indeed, require a certain level of adjustment but in the end, it turns out to be just right.

I’ve learned so much about myself in those eight months (I just counted them and OH MY GOD, time goes so fast). While being on your own can be challenging at times, it is an amazing opportunity to dig deeper into who you are and who you want to become; and dedicate those alone moments to working on yourself and achieving your goals.

I put together a simple list of key takeaways from my personal experience of living on my own. Are thinking about moving out of your shared accommodation? If you’re on the verge of renting your first solo apartment, here’s what you need to know.

Give yourself some time to adjust to living alone

The first week you’ll probably be like “Living on my own feels sooo grown-up. That’s sooo cool!”. Then, things are likely to change. You’ll realize that you have to become more responsible and independent, and to think of a way to fill in those moments that you used to spend chatting with your flatmates.

My advice is: find yourself a hobby.

Challenge yourself with becoming the absolute craft-person, trying out those great DIY tutorials you’ve always admired on Pinterest; mastering the art of paper folding or well, starting a blog (which is what I did). You need to learn to entertain yourself at home, otherwise you have two options: be terribly bored or… be terribly broke.

Take on the opportunity to discover yourself

Living on your own will give you all the time you need to find who you are—without the influence that other people might exert on you; the real and unapologetic YOU. Feeling lonely is perfectly okay but instead of crying it out, use it as a chance to focus on your life and get to know your strengths and weaknesses.

MUST-READ: 5 ways to love yourself a little more

Don’t be a loner, though, do go out

Nearly three months of my living alone experience coincided with a very low point of my life. I had cut off my relationships with almost any living thing in my town. I’d spend days not talking with anyone. The groceries store would be the furthest I’d get. THAT’S NOT HOW THINGS SHOULD BE.

Honestly, this way-too-much-alone time really messed with my head.

That was one of the reasons I started my blog, to remain somewhat sane. The point is, don’t do that. Force yourself to go out and meet people even if you don’t feel like it. Just do it.

Turn your bad habits into a healthy lifestyle

I’ve already talked about my worst habits ever. You need to ditch your unhealthy lifestyle and start building daily habits that are good for your mental and physical health. That means no more binge-watching, less take-outs and more physical activity.

Frankly, when you live on your own, it is much easier to fall victim of bad habits. There is no one to supervise you, no one guide you or give you a little push—no one BUT YOU. Living alone requires a newfound sense of responsibility. It comes with the realization that the way your life is depends on your own actions.

MUST-READ: 10 bad habits you and I need to quit

Don’t be scared but make sure you have a good security

Here’s a bit of a scary thought—you wake up and hear some disturbing noise. And BAM, you realize you have to cope with the situation on your own. In the first days of living on my own I was a little bit freaked out. Then I got used to it. All you need to do is ensure you have a good security system. My advice is: meet your neighbors and be nice to them.

Design your space the way you want it

That’s undoubtedly my most favorite part. You get to choose the aesthetics of your own space so allow yourself to get crazy! Really, go nuts and turn all your beloved Pinterest boards into reality. I’ve always tried to customize my living space in a way that fits my personality. But only when I started living alone did I understand what real freedom is.

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PS. I admit, I’ve spent way too much money and time in IKEA. Don’t do that. It’s not healthy for your bank account.

Designing a welcoming and comfortable home is extremely important when you live on your own. It helps you deal with the side effects of the solo life; and feel happy to just be there. I love the way my studio looks and feels, with its turquoise accents, walls covered with photos and books scattered all around.

Keep your apartment CLEAN

Another just as important aspect of living in your own place is KEEPING IT NEAT. If you’ve lived with roomies (or your mom), you are probably used to having a cleaning schedule and to maintaining a certain level of cleanliness (well, in the case of living with 20+ people, for me that level was below zero).

You’ll have to develop the habit of looking after your place. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to become a Monica but certainly you’ll feel much more comfortable and more grown-up if you use the vacuum cleaner at least once or twice a week.

Last but not least, get ready to kill a spider

I consider killing my first spider one of my greatest solo life achievements. I’m really, really scared of any kind of bugs that exists; and somehow they all insist to share my living space. Seriously, unnamed and terrifying flying insect, GET OUT, I’M LIVING ON MY OWN.

There you have it—my personal experience with living on my own for the first time.

It is scary; it’s totally mind-boggling and eye-opening.

That’s how it is supposed to be. Everything that helps you evolve as a person is supposed to make you feel a little bit terrified and deeply excited.

So, how about you? Are you living alone or you’re still hanging out with your roomies?

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    • Hey Priscilla,

      Living alone is, indeed, challenging. But it’s also just great, once you’ve passed the period of adjustment.

      I hope you’ll enjoy your solo life experience when you get there!

      Happy everything,

  • Wow. So great! I just moved out on my own for the first time after college about a year ago and this is such a relatable post!

    • Hi Amanda!

      So great to hear you’re doing this! How’s living alone going so far?

      PS. Did you have your first encounter with a spider or another terrifying intruder, haha?

      Happy everything,

    • Heeey, Karolina!

      Your words are so relatable and true! Thank you for the reminder, sunshine.

      Happy everything,

  • Absolutely love this post. Hahaha the get ready to kill a spider is right 😭😭. Killing bugs and stuff like that was definitely the hardest part for me LOL. A flat with 27 people though?! Omg!

    • Hi Janet,

      So happy to hear my story brought back those memories!

      Happy everything,

  • I never lived by myself. I went from my parents house, to dorm life, to roommates in an apt, to living with my bf then marrying him. I do wish I had set a little distance and tried living on my own for a little. I think it is something everyone should do!

  • Great piece! I’ve never lived on my own. In fact, up until two years ago, I was still living at home. Now I live with my sister, her boyfriend and two cats, so there’s always something happening here. I do think about how nice it would be to live alone sometimes but I don’t doubt it would take some serious adjusting. I like my solitude but I also like not having to take full responsibility for everything haha.

  • Great post! I remember my first time living alone (without a significant other). It was in 2010 in Vancouver when we hosted the Olympics! It was quite an experience to be a single girl in the big city during such a cool event. A time I will never forget ✌🏼

  • This is fun advice! I recently went through a divorce so went through the process of figuring out how to live on my own. I spend a lot of time at the gym, get to decorate how I want, and can walk around in my undies! lol One thing I’d add to this list is to save more money than you think you’ll need. Decorating by yourself gets expensive!!

    • Hey Rachel,

      Thank you for sharing your story! I hope life gives you tons of happiness from now on.

      That’s great advice, indeed. I spent way too much money on little thingies such as decorations, and cushions, and stuff. So I can definitely agree with you and would add, set a budget and stick to it!

      Happy everything,

  • Hi Iliyana, I haven’t lived totally alone yet, but I’m sure it would be a great experience. Just to have the time to figure out who you are on your own and what you want your apartment to look like then. Appreciate that you talked so honestly about every aspect, as well as the loner time – guess that is something we could all fall into at some point then and is good to remember 🙂 Great article, was really fun to read!

    Love, Fa

    • Hi Fatima,

      I am so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it. Indeed, living alone is a great experience–can be hard at times, but is totally worth it. You’ll see when you get there 🙂

      Happy everything,

  • I’ve just moved on my own two months ago and I’ve already started on the bad habits living. Thank you for the advise. Need to stop this

  • It’s pretty much amazing to know that you were able to dig deeper into your own personality when you started living alone. It scares me at times to move out of my parents’ house, but I’m thinking that it will benefit me in the long run if I were to live independently. It might be a good idea to start looking for apartments I can rent and see if I can afford them.

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