So you're moving into your first apartment all by yourself—and feeling a little scared. When you move out from your parents' home, you will find that a lot of things that have always just magically been done for you will no longer happen. Grocery shopping, for example: oftentimes you might find yourself standing in front of an empty fridge. Or laundry: some days you might wake up and realize to your shock and horror that you have not one single pair of underwear to wear, and you will be left with no other choice but to wear a swimsuit into work.
So let me help you get settled in a bit and share a few tips of mine to help ease the panic of lonesome quiet evenings when none of your friends have time to hang out and your apartment feels scary. I have lived independently, sometimes with sometimes without roommates, for the past 8 years; here's what I've learned along the way.
Make Minimalism Work for You
I think the practices of minimalism often come in very handy, and this is especially the case when you're making a big move. Get rid of everything you haven't used in the past 6 months and aren't planning on using within the next 6 months. Really think about it! That way, you will feel like you can start completely fresh—without too much crap lying around.
Become A Plant Lady (or Gentleman)
Want to brighten up your space and bring a little life into your home? Get plants! You can often find great deals at flower markets, especially when you go right before they are closing down for the day. I recommend starting with a hardy cactus—or a snake plant, which doesn't need a lot of water and functions as a natural air purifier. I also recommend investing in an aloe vera plant, as aloe vera can come in handy for several reasons. (For example, they are anti-inflammatory and therefore great for sunburns.) You can even put aloe in your smoothies!
Deck the Walls
If decorating intimidates you, don't fret: personally, I don't think you need a lot of wall decor going on at all. Still, it always looks nice when you have a few great focal points. If you have the time and patience, I recommend looking for young artists to support and purchase their art. Otherwise, you can simply get nice posters or even nice postcards and put them in nice frames, which you can often get at flea markets for a lot cheaper than commercially bought.
Let There Be Light
Regardless of your window location, I think it's important to fill your room with enough light. Investing in good lamps is as important as investing in good shoes: you use them every day, after all, and they can literally brighten up your day—which is especially important if your room doesn't get much natural light during the day. There are several brands of lamps that simulate natural light; Phillips' "Lumie" lamp, for example, actually has an integrated alarm clock that recreates the sun rising so that you wake up in the most natural way possible. Mirrors are also a great way of distributing light and making your living space appear larger than it actually is.
Be Your Own Top Chef
Whatever you do, don't go grocery shopping when you are hungry! First, look up easy recipes and write a shopping list. That way, you don't forget anything, and you don't have to spend precious time every evening wondering what you should cook. If you have little time to cook and eat, I always recommend making more than just one serving for yourself. You can always eat the leftovers the next day or freeze them for another time. If you find that you enjoy cooking, lean into it: I really like to try out daring recipes, especially when I have the day off or am working from home. You can start in the morning, check on it during the day, and munch on it in the evening. It keeps you busy and gives you purpose on days that you might feel lonely and don't quite know what to do. (I especially like this chicken noodle soup when I'm feeling low.)
Make a Note to Self
Start making little reminders for yourself with sticky notes and the like. It's important to live a balanced life, so when you are working from home make sure to go out and take a walk at least once a day. And if you are working like crazy and socialize every day after work, dedicate a day just to yourself.
Get a Hobby
It's not always easy living alone, when you don't have roommates or a pet you can talk to at the end of the day. So what does one do after a hard day's work? Sit around and feel bored? Search out something that helps you de-stress, like meditating or embroidery.
Host Your Own Fun
Don't isolate yourself—after all, you have your own home and freedom now! If you're having trouble getting yourself to be social, try inviting people over for a movie night or potluck maybe once a month. Make your home a place people like to hang out.
Overall, have fun with it! It's your home, your place to express your visions, and you don't have to be considerate of anybody else's taste. Just make sure it's a place you feel comfortable and safe. Most of all, enjoy your freedom!