Life Skills Academy: How to Live on Your Own

White loveseat with clothing and shoes cluttered around

Home Survival 101

You've moved out or are feverishly counting the days. You take a look at your first apartment, but now what? How the heck are you supposed to survive? Get firsthand tips and tricks from Librarian Erik Berman. Learn what your first steps should be and what you're in for. We can't tell you how to cope, but we can definitely point you in the right direction.

Recommended Reading

Books

  • Living on Your Own: The Complete Guide to Setting up Your Money, Your Space, and Your Life by Pierre A. Lehu
    A fairly comprehensive guide for a teen or new adult striking out on their own for the first time. It has detailed sections on budgeting, as well as tips and life hacks on cooking, cleaning, and personal health.
  • Life Skills 101: A Practical Guide to Leaving Home and Living on Your Own by Tina Pestalozzi
    A guide on how to move out on your own, including finding an apartment to managing it, handling day-to-day crises, and planning for the long term (and even what to keep in your medicine cabinet). This is a great book for someone to read before actually moving out on their own.
  • Cleaning & Stain Removal for Dummies by Gill Chilton
    Sometimes the most straightforward books are simply the best. The "For Dummies" books are easy-to-read guides on how to accomplish a number of tasks. The cleaning entry in this series is no different. There's a ton of great information on how to clean every part of the floor.

Websites

  • 5 Things You Need To Know Before Living On Your Own
    Perhaps a little too comedic to be incredibly useful, this is a great article to get you thinking about living on your own. While it does offer some specific advice on how to get rid of pests, clean your clothes, and keep your home safe; it best serves as an overview of the sorts of things you'll need to be thinking about.
  • How to do Laundry
    A great guide on how to do laundry that covers clothing, as well as household items like blankets, shower curtains, backpacks, and just about everything else you can think of.
  • How to Wash Clothes
    While we can't speak to their high evaluation of their own product, we can recommend this website because it is full of guides on how to wash and clean nearly everything. Their comprehensive guide on how to do laundry and their "How-to Ready Laundry Symbols" articles are particularly helpful.
  • Kiplinger.com: Their worksheet is a great sample budget to share with participants or use on your own. It can automatically account for whether expenses are monthly, weekly, annual, or any other variation. Also useful is their cost of living reality check with rough guides to how much you should be spending on each of these segments.
  • How to Shop and Cook and Eat Healthy when Eating for One
    A fairly comprehensive guide of how to cook on your own with emphasis on meal planning and avoiding food waste. The article is full of links to other useful information, such as how to meal-prep and what kitchen equipment is best to have on hand.
  • Apartment Therapy.com
    Not a specific "how-to" site, this site is great for more obscure or detailed cleaning questions, along with practical advice, cleaning implement reviews, and (oddly) scientific studies about cleaning.

Tips and Tricks

  • Your home won't perfect. be prepared to cope with little things and deal with the more serious problems right away.
  • You've probably forgotten to buy or bring some stuff that you'll need for the apartment. Make sure you have a small budget to take care of those.
  • Remember that you're now responsible for making sure you have groceries, clean things, and getting up in the morning. Make sure you have a plan for that.
  • Renter's insurance can be a lifesaver in case of fire of theft, consider purchasing that.
  • Make paying bills a routine, so you never forget
  • Always have a budget to handle unplanned expenses.
  • Clean often and regularly. Prevention is key to avoiding future problems.
  • Be sure to have a plan when cooking for one to avoid food spoilage and waste.
  • Meal planning can help you make economical waste-free grocery shopping. (There are plenty of recipes online!)

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