With apologies to my boyfriend, there really is nothing quite like living alone. Sure, if you live with a roommate you have someone to split the bills with, and maybe (if you’re lucky) to help with the cleaning, or to kill a spider (or to look on in terror as you dispose of a baby mouse. I’m looking at you, Frank, the worst and grossest roommate ever). But living alone is just so blissful. It comes with its own set of challenges though, and since I loved living alone, I am bringing you my tips and tricks.
For some women, the biggest concern about living alone is safety. When I was looking for tips on the internet I read a lot of, “Install a security system!” “Get a dog!” “Install motion detecting lights!” I don’t know where these people live that they are able to afford/have the rights to/have the time to get dogs and security systems. They might as well be saying, “Move into a gated community!” “Hire a security team!” Because really, I have never lived anywhere that any of these things would have been an option for me. But, you can get a deadbolt, which are not super expensive. You should also get the locks changed after you move in. And always use your peephole, if you have one. Keep your blinds/drapes closed at night and try not to leave expensive-looking items super visible in the window. You should also avoid advertising that you are a single woman alone, so make sure your first name isn’t visible outside your home on a mailbox or buzzer list.
One of the most valuable tips I ever heard at a self-defense class was that women tend to feel like they need to be “nice” to strangers and don’t want to seem impolite by refusing to talk to strangers. This was specifically in reference to events happening on the street, but I think it applies to people coming to your door, too, or speaking to you outside your home. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell someone to leave or even to call the police. Better to be safe than sorry.
I live in a building that requires people to be buzzed up, but I can’t tell you how many times food delivery has just shown up at my apartment door because someone let them into the building. If this happens to you, talk to your super, landlord, or apartment manager. Those systems exist for a reason, and if you live alone, there is nothing scarier than unexpectedly having someone show up at your door in a locked building.
As with any time you are alone, be aware of your surroundings when you are walking into your home. Don’t talk on a cell phone or listen to your iPod when you are walking up to your door. Be vigilant and try to pay attention to your neighbors, so you can notice if someone strange seems to be lurking around.
If you’re renting, learn your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This is true for every renter, but I have found that it’s harder to feel like you can approach your landlord when it’s just you with no roommate or partner to back you up. But if you know what your rights are you can feel confident going to the landlord with any concerns you have.
The other major concern women have about living alone is feeling too lonely or isolated. I think this is especially true for first-timers who have always lived with parents, roommates, or partners. Fortunately, this is easily remedied. If you enjoy having people over, it’s a lot of fun to host a brunch and it’s super easy. You may have to work on making sure you don’t get too isolated, maybe by setting up regular dates with friends.
One of the best things, in my opinion, about living alone is that you can take up any new hobby you want and have all the space you want to do it in. Want to start painting? Do it in the living room! Play guitar! Cook in the kitchen because no one else is in there! Walk around naked, watch Lifetime movies, put up your collection of Sad Clown paintings. You can do whatever you want! Enjoy!