Things to Consider When Living Alone for the First Time
As you approach the later years of your college career, you might find yourself in a position where you want (or have) to live alone. Living alone—without roommates—can be a really exciting step of independence. On the flip side, it might feel kind of overwhelming.
There’s something refreshing about having your very own space to make your own—no squabbling over living-room decor and no confusion over who is in charge of paying the landlord each month. All the food in the refrigerator is yours, and there’s no debate about what temperature the thermostat should be set at. At the same time, living without roommates means there’s no one there to talk to about that weird squeaking noise in the middle of the night, and there’s no instant tv-show-watching partner to corral into the living room with a bowl of popcorn.
Living without roommates isn’t for everyone, and there are a few things you should think through before you decide to make that leap.
1. Can you handle the finances?
There’s no doubt about it: living with roommates is sometimes necessary because of the financial position living alone can put you in. Not only are you solely responsible for rent, but you’ll be solely responsible for the security deposit and all utility costs, such as the internet, electric, gas, etc. If you want furnishings, you’ll also have to pay for that. There won’t be an option to share baking ingredients or cleaning supplies, so make sure you’re considering what makes sense for what you can afford.
Depending on the area you live in, it might be really easy to find affordable housing and simple to procure inexpensive utilities. Just make sure you write out a proper budget before signing a lease to make sure you’re truly in a place where you can make it all work.
2. Do you have a solid community?
Living alone can definitely have an impact on your community. If you’re planning to live on your own, it’s important to make sure you have a solid safety net of friends that you’re interacting with on a regular basis. Living sans roommates means you’ll naturally be spending a lot of time on your own, and it can be really easy to slip into unhealthy habits if you’re suddenly isolating yourself.
No matter who you live with, having a network of friends who are looking out for you, pointing you back to Christ, and encouraging you on the regular is really important for emotional, mental, and even physical health. If you plan to live alone, it’s probably a good idea that you have some sort of plan in place for keeping your interactions with people frequent and intentional.
3. Consider security
You might have nerves of steel and rarely get spooked by strange noises in your apartment or outside your window, but if you’re living alone, it’s a really good idea to consider security. What kind of lock system does the door to your apartment have? Does the building itself have proper security? It might be smart to consider an apartment complex that has video surveillance or even a gated complex with a security code.
Keep your valuables in a safe, secure place when you’re away, and be careful about who you tell about living alone. Your safety is your responsibility when you’re living by yourself, so try and be intentional about it.
4. Be intentional about cleaning
When you live alone, you don’t have the pressure of other roommates to inspire you to keep things tidy. Depending on how you approach cleanliness, it might be really easy to leave the dishes undone for many days, and who needs to make their bed if no one is coming over?
Try and get yourself on some sort of schedule where you clean different parts of your space on different days. Set a timer for fifteen minutes, blast the music, and tackle those dishes that have been piling up. Or turn on your favorite TV show and scrub the bathtub until it sparkles. When you live alone, you have no one to split cleaning duties with, so it’s a good idea to stay on top of it, so you’re not living in squalor.