I didn’t go to Uni so I missed the whole ‘hopping over to the UK to house share with a group of similar aged people’ experience that a lot of my peers have had/are currently having.

Instead, I went from living with my family (in a household of six, by the way) to totally solo. Pretty big jump from the ‘always someone around’ hive of activity I grew up in to my own, tranquil, little burrow.

That wasn’t my plan, I’m not completely crazy – if you told me at 19 that I’d be living on my own I would have laughed in your face. Now I’m absolutely in love with it.

I’ve picked up a couple of things after a year and a half of living by myself that I thought might either a) make someone who didn’t plan to live alone feel better, or b) make someone who’s not sure if they should move out feel that they should go for it, which they definitely should.

To begin with, of course, there are the obvious things like being able to do absolutely whatever your heart desires, whenever you do so wish. If you decide 3am is the time to put laundry away, sure, let Alexa play Rod Stewart’s greatest hits while you do it, volume seven – no one else is sleeping. Turn all the lights on if you want. Go crazy.

No more sharing bathrooms, having to tread around cold, soapy puddles and damp towels, no washing away other peoples hair stuck to the edges of the sink or constantly putting the toilet seat back down (or up, however you use it). Oh, and you also never have to adjust the shower head height. Granted these things only feel like a luxury if the previous people you have lived with are inconsiderate in the bathroom which, for the most part, I would say people generally are – myself included but that doesn’t matter because I don’t share.

When you go shopping you choose exactly what YOU like. If you want your Tescos trip to consist of fancy cheese yet vegan mayo but then also 3 packs of chicken breasts – sure, do it. No one’s going to complain you forgot X, Y, Z and you don’t have to label ‘do not eat’ on things you’ve meal prepped for the week, after-all, who else is in your fridge?

It’s also much easier to convince yourself than somebody else to just chuck a jumper and two pairs of socks on in the winter, if that thermostat gets flicked on it’s not going to cause an argument because, guess what, it was you that did it. But then if you do forget to take the bins out before bin day, that is your fault and you do have to hold yourself accountable for that, unfortunately.

I mean, it definitely helps to have someone on speed dial to ask ‘Why is my radiator leaking, do I need a plumber?’ but when your Mum, or whoever your voice of reason is, says ‘yes’ then you know it was you that knocked it when you were hoovering and you can’t blame a flatmate.

What I’m essentially saying here is that living alone makes you great at managing accountability.

There are simple perks like those to living alone that I would never have noticed the value of unless I was living it. 

There are also a couple advantages to ‘my house my rules’ that aren’t necessarily just for solo living. Example being, when you offer to host a pres (pre-drinks) or an event, make it BYOB. People will bring their bottles of booze and likely leave the rest at yours, this makes cleaning up a small price to pay when your bar is always stocked. This is so long as you have nice friends that don’t trash the gaff, obvi, but if you do keep company like that then that’s your problem, not mine. 

There’s still some things I haven’t quite figured out, such as what size bin bags actually fit my kitchen bin and I can never make it through a bag of potatoes before they start sprouting eyes. My solution to this was to stop eating potatoes. I sometimes wonder if whoever tracks my Clubcard spending habits has noticed that I haven’t bought any since December 2020. 

I have however mastered the art of knowing how frequently I need to buy milk and I’ve also found the perfect ratio of detergent to fabric softener (save the plastic scoops from protein powders for the correct dosing of Daz, people). I’ve also learnt I’m really good at decorating interiors on a budget… yes, I suppose you could call me TkMaxx’s greatest treasure seeker. 

Things I’ve learnt living alone at 21

1. (if you don’t already know) learn how to cook rice properly, like… /properly/. It at least adds some variety to the several pasta dishes you will likely feed yourself as a ‘quick, easy’ meal 
2. Get into the habit of buying yourself flowers – spare a couple £, it’s a tiny thing that makes a house a home, I promise 
3. Get one of those mops that holds the cleaning liquid inside with a trigger on the handle that sprays the floor as you clean. Genius.
4. Living on your own is not scary, get to know yourself – you’ll realise you’re actually quite a good person to spend time with