Living Alone: 10 First Apartment Do's and Don'ts

By Brittany Gibson on July 14, 2017

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This is it. You’re finally on your own. No parents, no siblings, no roommates. Your own kitchen, your own bathroom, your own everything. I’ve lived alone in my own apartment for about half a year now, and here are my first apartment do’s and don’ts:

1. DO invest in a radio, speaker, or TV. Something to make noise. Anything. Living by yourself can get very lonely, so ANY noise helps. I live in a city, and even that isn’t enough noise for me not to feel alone.

2. DON’T leave the house without making your bed. This is a psychological thing: by making your bed in the morning, you’re accomplishing something. It may be a small something, but it’s something. This puts your mind into a more proactive state and you’ll be more likely to accomplish other things throughout the day as well. Not to mention, what’s better than getting into a nice, neat bed at the end of the day?

3. DO wake up early. Setting an early alarm, even on the weekends, helps regulate your body’s sleeping schedule, and eventually you’ll be waking up at that time without an alarm. Plus, studies have shown that people who wake up early tend to get better grades, be more proactive, are more optimistic, and are overall healthier than those who sleep in often. By going to bed early and waking up early, your body will be more in tune with the earth’s circadian rhythms too.

4. DON’T buy junk food. This one is easier said than done, because who doesn’t love ice cream, popcorn, and chips? But now that you are in charge of yourself, you need to treat your body right so it treats you right in return. I’m not saying buy fruit and veggies in bulk (unless you create a daily meal plan that involves them, and in that case that’s awesome), but put some bananas on the counter and maybe throw some blueberries in the refrigerator.

When you get hungry, you won’t have a choice but to snack on those instead of chips (let’s pretend takeout and delivery don’t exist). Another thing: wash your fruits as soon as you get them so you don’t have an excuse not to eat them. Maybe even buy some pretty glass containers to keep your fresh, washed fruit in.

5. DO find a hobby. Again, easier said than done, but this one’s important. Finding a hobby will help you feel less lonely. You won’t be as likely to sit around at home on your phone or computer and it relieves stress through a creative outlet! It’s a win-win. Finding a hobby is the difficult part. Maybe you’ll join a gym and go a few days a week, download Pinterest and find some DIY projects, teach yourself how to cook or bake, invest in an adult coloring book and color your feelings away, or educate yourself by watching documentaries.

6. DON’T close yourself off from the world. And by that, I mean leave your windows open every now and then. This is more important than you think. Fresh air is healthy and necessary, especially if your first apartment isn’t big. Plus, your electric bill won’t be as high! That’s always a plus, right? Sunshine has also been proven to reduce depression, which is something that is not too unusual for someone living on their own for the first time to feel. I once read somewhere that if you keep your windows shut all the time, your apartment becomes a “steamy box of germs.” Gross.

7. DO invite friends and family over! This one should be obvious. Yes, spending time alone is good to unwind from the stresses of the real world, but happiness has been proven to be directly linked to time spent with loved ones. Friends and family show affection and loyalty, which boosts confidence and serotonin levels.

8. DON’T spend excess money on things you don’t need. Yes, those shoes are adorable. But … don’t you have the same ones in another color? I get it, you need more than just one color. But what about your new bills? Electric, Wi-Fi, rent … it all adds up. Make a budget. There are some awesome budgeting apps out there! Prioritize what you need to spend money on versus what you want to spend money on. This is all part of that weird “adulting” thing.

9. DO invest in a plant (or two, or three, or four … ). This will give you a responsibility every day, which coincides with finding a hobby. Plus, there are SO many therapeutic perks to having a plant in your apartment! To name just a few: plants can purify the air, they can boost your mood, they’ll actually help you feel less sick, and they can help you concentrate better. The benefits of owning a house plant are endless!

10. DON’T be disorganized. Buy (or make) a calendar! I’d be lost without mine (that, and my sticky notes around the house). Making a schedule is essential to success, especially if you tend to be forgetful. Buying a calendar is the first step to successfully following your schedule, but then you need to stick with it. Try to make sure you start your day at the same time every morning — it helps! If you’re worried you won’t stick to your new schedule, tell family or friends about it so you have extra support.

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