Saturday, March 28, 2009

Going Out On Your Own

Being on your own, means, among other things, that a fun load of daily activities and decisions get added to your already busy life. Have you ever changed a roll of toilet paper (and I mean removing the cardboard tube, and replacing it with a new roll, not just setting the new roll down somewhere handy ) when there is anyone else in the house that will do it if you don't? Have you accepted that YOU and only you will be the one to decide when you can't stand the smelly garbage in the kitchen one more minute and will have to transport it, yuckiness and all, to the outdoor trash barrel? (Nobody will be there to nag you about THAT chore, no sir!

What about dishes? Do you do the efficient thing and wash them only after every piece of crockery you own has been used, or do you still believe in those good little elves who washed, dried and put everything away while you were out living your non-independent life? Better yet, buy a dishwasher! Doing laundry can instigate an interesting process of decisions including: how long can I get away with re-wearing a shirt or blouse (with intervals of rest periods) before it HAS to be washed? The simple smell test is best employed here: if it's doubtful, it's dirty! NOONE except the rare antiquated housewife irons any more, so you're off the hook there unless you are going to a funeral or a wedding(or an interview). Everybody washes their towels and washcloths with some regularity, but how about sheets? The truth is, this job usually transfers itself to the list of monthly chores when all could be resolved by again applying the smell test---better yet, get someone else to walk into your bedroom. If they start to gag or faint dead away, it's time to do the sheets!

Living on your own brings an automatic need for organization and thinking ahead: do I pay the bills as they come or save them up and pay once a month(hoping I'll remember where they are and what that once a month date is)? And is it REALLY necessary to balance my checkbook? Can't I just put extras on my credit card until it is refused and go from there? Do I need an accountant? (Help!) Do I check gas gauges before they signal the Big E, plan oil changes before the engine seizes, and get new tires before they wear out or go flat? (I feel TIRED just writing this).

Organization applies to garbage duty as well; as you leave in the am or when returning at night, keep an eagle eye out for green barrels lining the street; that's the signal to get yours out there to join them. That way, you never have to remember the actual day of pick-up (which slides back a day every time there's a holiday, but sometimes gets covered by a Saturday pick-up, which may or may not precipitate the day change and that REALLY throws things off). Neighbors who live to track these things are your best bet for success here.

And then, how about all that stuff that accumulates on any normal floor? You know, that mixture of shoes, coats, socks, boxes, junk mail, lint, petrified food, dried mud... How do you decide when enough is enough and what do you do about it? And what tools do you use : a giant broom and dustpan? Do they make vacuum cleaners with wide-open mouths that crunch everything they suck in? The simplest solution is sometimes the best: open up a garbage bag and put it all in there(those flex ones work great with odd-sized or heavier items). Whatever's left will probably blend in with whatever carpet stains are there for life.

Who knows how to cook when they first live on their own? No problem: pop tarts come in many flavors, including chocolate so breakfast is pretty well covered. And surely there is a fast food restaurant near your place of employment---that's lunch. And for supper? There's always pizza---stock your fridge! (Now, a mother would NEVER approve of these choices, but you aren't LIVING with your mother any more, ARE you?)

Everything else can wait til tomorrow---you need your sleep and things always look better in the morning. Besides, Mom and Dad would HAVE to take you in if you went back, wouldn't they?


  1. This is a great post--it reads like a magazine article which is neat. I also LAUGHED when I read the one prior--you fold in such great details.

  2. I agree with Sarah...this is a good read. I'm finding that simplicity in life helps with the rest. Do things like spending a half hour or hour every week managing money (paying bills, balancing accounts, etc...). Throw out anything you don't need. Learn to make something new every so often, but don't stress if you eat the same things over and over for a while. You'll eventually get sick of them and want to try something new.