You've Moved…Now What? The 7-Step Guide to Life Outside the Nest

It’s been about a month since I first started calling my new apartment ‘home’, and guess what? The world didn’t come tumbling down over the overflowing basket of laundry in the corner of my bedroom and my stove has managed to survive my cooking skills…or lack thereof.

But I’m quickly learning that living on my own requires adapting to numerous changes – ones I wish someone had told me before I skipped through the door on move-in day like a wide eyed five-year-old on a sugar rush.

So, for all of you out there who have just made the big move, here’s what  life will soon be like broken down into a seven step guide! 

1.      Your newest gal pal: the chick who also just got her first apartment.

If you’ve had the same BFF since you were ten and regularly stormed the aisles in Toys R Us for Sailor Moon dolls together (I never did this. Okay, maybe once…or twice), it’s time to meet new people, girl! I’m not telling you to ditch your old bestie, but if she’s still living the high life at home, it’s time to find a buddy who knows what it’s like to eat pasta three nights a week and have the Laundromat on speed dial.

Wondering where to meet new peeps? Your office, for starters! Be friendly, show them pictures of your new pad –chances are, they’ll be saving their pennies to pay rent or at least know what it’s like to be a newbie in the apartment department.

2.      Layering has been ruling the runways and will soon be found in your closet.

When you’re responsible for feeding yourself and keeping house, designer clothes are a luxury (and H&M is a treat). So, instead of dropping your hard earned cash on a neon sweater you’ll wear once, focus on accessories like patterned scarves, tights, statement earrings and trendy totes. Not only will you save some serious green, you’ll update last year’s dresses and skirts and give those pieces you forgot about the attention they deserve.

And if you’re going to splurge, pull out your credit card for a coat (yes, only one!) you’ll live in this season. I promise, you’ll still feel like a rock star and have cash to line those pockets!

3.      You’ll (almost) never pay full price.

Browsing sale racks and thrift shops can actually be really fun! But don’t be afraid to treat yourself every once in a while –after all, you totally deserve it. I, for one, have an eye shadow palette at Sephora with my name on it.

And if your ladies are into clothing swaps, exchange those old duds and change up your look –no cash required.

4.      You’ll get used to visiting your relatives.

Even if you moved out to get as far away from those crazies lovely people as possible, when you stop by to assure them you haven’t dropped off the face of the earth/been eaten by zombies, you’ll most likely receive a batch of fresh food that’ll last you the week (freeze leftovers, guys –I’d rather not be blamed for bellyaches). Despite numerous protests, my grandmother always somehow manages to send me off with several days’ worth of dinners. I haven’t been grocery shopping in weeks.

5.      But when you do go grocery shopping, it can get ridiculously expensive!

Confession: I love grocery shopping. Strolling down aisles looking at all the prettily packaged foods I want but will never eat is somewhat of an addiction for me. But I can’t afford to throw a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and an entire shelf of chocolate into my cart anymore. Now, I spend more time waiting in line for sliced cheese than going through each aisle scoping out the goodies. Words of advice: pick up the store’s circular and clip those coupons! Believe me, everyone does it.

6.      Happy hours and house parties are your Friday night plans.

Let’s face it: who can afford anything else?

7.      You’ll be cleaning and cooking up a storm (on occasion) and maybe you’ll have a toilet plunging fiasco or twelve, but at the end of the day, you’ll curl up in bed with a brain cell destroying romance novel and think, ‘This is the life.’

Because nothing is nicer than knowing that your brother’s screamo band won’t be holding a practice sesh in the room next door.

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