It has been at least four months since I moved out of the house I had lived in with my family for 19 years to move in with my fiancé. Maybe it’s too quick to say but overall, I would call it a success. No holes in the floor, ceiling or walls. We haven’t starved to death nor have we run out of clean clothes to wear (although we have come close!). Even the nasty case of food poisoning I had recently was not from anything I had cooked in the house!
As with most big things in life, I think I have learned a couple of things and, for the sake of this post, have decided to declare myself an expert on living independently for the first time and given you all some (unwanted) advice! I’ll do another one more focused on living with a partner but hopefully these are a bit more general.
1. Put down the cake, fatty!
You’re going to put on weight. Get over it.
In high school, a friend told me once that she was unhappy with her weight but it didn’t matter as when we went off to university, we would lose all of the excess weight because we wouldn’t eat as much. Needless to say, she didn’t lose any weight and neither did I.
The same applies when you move out properly for the first time. The total control over the fridge and cupboards is too tempting to waste on fruit and veg at first. If you’re anything like me, you’ll indulge in the first few weeks and regret it forever.
So watch out – just because Ben & Jerry’s is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy four tubs!
2. There is no magic cleaning/cooking fairy (apart from your Mum)
I am a messy person. Stuff just drops down from me and lands wherever I walk. And the worst part is I don’t even notice until it’s too late and the mess has taken over. I had thought since it was my own house I would be better. Maybe since I had more space to stretch out and I did a clear out of non-essentials that the mess wouldn’t be as noticeable.
There is no magical fairy or being running around behind you to make sure you pick up your shit. You have to do that. You have to put important documents in safe places and for goodness sake, don’t hide the person you’re living with’s under a box of fascinators. It doesn’t go down well.
3. Make time for the ones that you live with
It’s too easy to forget about someone now that you are living with them, be it friend or partner. Technically, you can be around them for hours. But that’s not the same. You can be sitting in the same room together for hours but not necessarily spending time together.
If you’ve moved in with friends or lovers, you probably liked them before that decision. Living with someone is very hard. You suddenly start to see parts of them you had never known before and you might not like them. Not to mention that we can all be guilty of sometimes seeing them blend into the furniture as we live our lives outside of the house, making special time for people and events outside of the house.
Don’t forget why you wanted to do this in the first place and lose some very important people because of it. Even if it is having dinner together or going out of the house to do things together, it’s important.
4. Be smarter with food
Do you know how much food costs? I didn’t! When I was a student, I remember buying a week’s worth of food shopping for around £25. Admittedly, that was a few years ago and I eat much better food now that in my student days but there is a staggering difference. Of course, it might be due to the hungry man that I now have to feed as well. Combine the cost with point one (trying to stop being a pig), food shopping can be a disaster.
After four months, I’m getting smarter. We plan our meals for the week. We’ve always sort of done this but the meal plans only went from Monday to Thursday after I ran out of ideas and then, because there was no plan, chaos ensued (i.e. chocolate massacre). Now my meal plans run for the whole week.
My range of recipes has widened so we aren’t buying the same thing every week. We also have stocked up our cupboards with quick ingredients for meals if we do decide we can’t face our planned meal that week.
Over a week ago, I bought two roast chickens on a deal and jointed them (i.e. cut them up into their specific pieces). We eat a serious amount of chicken in our house when we are trying to be good. For what I would normally pay for two packets of chicken, I ended up with 20 pieces of chicken. Not to mention the fact I felt like a genius/wonder woman for being able to do this. This week I didn’t have to buy any chicken because we had frozen the extra parts and my shopping bill was half of what it normally is. HALF. Admittedly this isn’t for everyone but I definitely recommend it to save money (and stop contributing to killing so many different chickens if you can’t give up meat altogether). You can find instructions in this video – don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks.
It doesn’t sound like much but it is considerably more than I did when I first moved in. In another four months, who knows what kind of crazy, money-saving schemes I’ll come up with?
5. Don’t forget the ones you don’t live with anymore
I never had to really make time for my family before. They were always there in the other room ready to talk when we wanted to. Now it’s different. You have to make an effort but it has to fit in
I think I’m getting better at this. At the beginning, it was too easy to get busy with my new life. Work is hard. Living away is a lot to adjust to as well. Not to mention all of the fun stuff you want to do as well. Days would go by and I wouldn’t have spoken to my family.
Maybe that’s ok for you but it wasn’t for me.
Don’t forget about the ones you’ve left behind. They deserve your time too.
Have I missed anything? Was there anything about living away from home for the first time that you wish someone had told you? Let me know in the comments and give this post a like if you enjoyed this!