9 things you learn while living alone

Some things you can learn by example, but others you have to figure out for yourself, says Lili Radloff.


We trawled the internet to find presents you should never give to anyone.

Most people get a chance to live by themselves before they hit their 30s, but I am only learning how to do that now. I’ll share the hard stuff with you in another newsletter, but in the mean time, this is what I’ve learned in the last 18 months:

If you don’t screw on the toothpaste cap it will end horribly

I always thought the toothpaste argument was stupid. Who squeezes from where, who screws the cap on, who forgets and so on. Turns out I was the culprit.

Now I know what actually happens. You’re stuck with sticky, cloggy, disgusting toothpaste that doesn’t want to come out of the tube. I fought with my toothpaste every day for a month until I finally remembered to screw the cap on.  So, if you’re currently an offender, I can tell you now: YOU ARE WRONG. Stop doing it! 

Everything is more expensive

It just is. Rent, electricity, groceries, petrol. No wonder people move in together at the drop of a hat these days.

Buying in bulk is over. Forever

It doesn’t matter how much you love tender stem broccoli, buy two get one free will never work for you again. By trying not to be wasteful, I once ate only strawberries and trout for a week. It wasn’t great, but it was better than the time I only had vodka and pickled onions in my fridge.

People never know where you are

But you’re always at home. You will become a bit of a hermit. It is not ideal for people working from home to live alone. If you take that risk, don’t blame me if you lose the need for personal hygiene and the ability to communicate verbally with other sentient beings.

You won’t have the “keeping the fabric of life together” stuff

Unless you buy things like safety pins, Dettol, clothes hangers etc, it won’t just be lying around. Chances are you didn’t pack that from your previous domicile and you’ll only realise what you don’t have once you need it.

You’ll learn to switch off your geyser when you’re not there

And probably forget to switch it back on when you get back. I don’t know how long this phase lasts. With me, I’m guessing it’ll be forever.

You will learn to enjoy silence

And you will find music in street sounds, house creaks, birds and white noise. And you’ll crave it when you go too long without it.

If you forget to buy toilet paper…
Enough said.

You only decide to cook naked ONCE
Although it may seem like a good idea at the time, it’s not. Delicate, naked flesh should not be exposed to hot oil, boiling water and spouting steam. Feel free to do everything else naked though. 

What kind of lessons did you learn living on your own? Do you have any stories to tell? Tell us in the box below.

- Women24

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