Living on your own after shared housing

Frances Atkins is a MA Graduate currently working in London as a Content Writer. She has a keen interest in fiction and poetry, and uses her spare time to hone her writing skills. Follow Frances on Twitter @francesaatkins or visit her blog!

One of the major experiences of university is learning to live with people your own age outside of the family unit. This can be challenging but ultimately teaches you how to compromise, delegate and be responsible, not to mention clean up after yourself.

When you share, your housemates can become your best friends – you eat meals together, go to pubs and stay in watching films when the weather is bad. All in all, you are never really alone when you house share, so what happens when you leave university and perhaps have to live by yourself?

There is a strong chance you’ll experience ‘housemate withdrawal’. You’ll resent the quiet of your new residence and find yourself feeling low with evenings spent watching programmes you don’t really like. As with sharing a house, there are golden rules to successfully living alone:

Start fresh
When you move, don’t bring along all of your university memorabilia, as they’ll upset you when you miss the good old days. Use the move as an opportunity to start again; if you can afford it, buy some nice new furniture and quickly make your place look homely and more adult.

Have things how you like them
Put up some atmospheric paintings or posters and decorate the lounge to your style. This embellishment can be a really fun, creative experience that is difficult to do when you house share under a student contract. You can really feel like this is your home and put your own character into it.

Host a civilised house-warming party
Invite your old housemates and university friends over so they know where you live and feel welcome enough to visit regularly in the future. This is a great way to ensure you stay connected. At the party, try to arrange the next social visit as it’s more likely to happen than if you later rely on social media.

Stay social
A good point to reiterate – don’t become isolated through living alone. Be productive in arranging social events and try to limit your evenings alone to about half, or whatever you feel comfortable with. Once you get used to being alone, it can be hard to be in other people’s company again, so don’t let it get to that awkward stage.

Keep it clean
If you let your home get messy, you’ll have a huge job to tidy up by yourself. Instead of waiting for it to get difficult to live in, clean as you go. A good incentive is to only buy crockery and cutlery to last a few days, meaning you’ll need to wash up to eat again. Doing little and often, you won’t see it as a chore and people will be happy to keep you company. Also, any surprise visitors will be impressed.

Liven up
Brighten the place with fresh flowers or even pet fish if you are used to looking after them. These living and easy to care for additions can make your home feel more inhabited and you feel less isolated.

Of course, there are several benefits when you have adjusted to living alone:

● You don’t have to clean forgetful peoples’ plates when your parents are visiting
● Full use of the shower without having to queue
● Playing music as loud as you like
● Only inviting your friends round, rather than putting up with people you may not be fond of
● No sharing food and you can come up with a money-saving budget
● If someone comes in making a noise at 2am after going out, it’ll only be you!

Good luck adjusting to living on your own and remember to stay social whilst enjoying the benefits of privacy.

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