You’re 18 years old (or maybe 35…) and it’s time to move out from your parents’ place. This is it! You’re a grown up, right? Not quite. In order to qualify as a bona fide, fully-grown adult your new pad needs to have the following.
Picture this, you’re out at a bar, you meet the person of your dreams and before you know it you have an unexpected guest. You leave them outside for the thirty seconds it takes to shove all your mess into your flat mate’s room and then welcome them in to your new abode. The night’s going well, conversation is flowing, then on their way to the bathroom, they sneak a peek at your bedroom only to be confronted by… a single bed with a movie quilt cover. NO! Even this biggest movie fan is going run at the sight of your puny mattress—a mattress that screams “there is no room for a sleep over.” It’s time to grow up and buy a proper bed. And by proper, we don’t mean a mattress on the floor—and for the sake of your own spinal health, avoid a fold-out futon if you can.
It may be a rite of passage, but as long as you’re drinking wine out of a coffee mug, you’re not a grown up. Ikea and Kmart both sell sets of wine glasses cheap, so pick some up and impress your friends with your new-found refinement and maturity. Stemless glasses are very trendy right now, and have the added benefit of being more difficult to knock over, so more likely to survive your housewarming.
Target: Siena set of 4 stemless glasses $20
Do I even need to explain why? If you don’t already have one, that’s just gross.
With a new place comes new expenses; little things like rent and food and electricity. To pay these things you need a job, which means a uniform or work clothes. To be taken seriously in the workplace, these need to be ironed. Traditional irons and ironing boards are pretty cheap, but if you have the money to splash out, get a clothes steamer. It takes about a quarter of the time to get your clothes wrinkle-free, and that doesn’t include the ironing board set up. It’s also kind of fun, just mind the steam burns!
Having your own place means having somewhere that your mates/significant other/family can crash. This freedom to have people over whenever you want is one of the biggest advantages from getting out of your folk’s house, but you won’t find many people spending the night if you can’t offer them the basics—a clean towel and clean sheets. No one wants to share your damp, manky towel that has spent goodness knows how long on the bathroom floor. Nor do you want to be handing them a beach towel instead of a proper one. Guest sheets need to be washed between each guest, because…germs. If you want to truly impress the spur of the moment guest, having a spare toothbrush (still in the packet) is the ultimate sign of a true home entertainer.
Kmart: Queen bed flat sheet indigo $23
Toilet paper is not an acceptable substitute for tissues except in a dire emergency. There’s nothing sophisticated about having loo roll sitting on your coffee table for your guest with the sniffles to use, nor do they want to be wiping their nose with their sleeve. If you run out, make sure it’s on next week’s shopping list. You can get a box of tissues for less than one dollar, but for a truly pimpin’ pad, match you tissues box to your décor.
You may be surprised to see board games on the things a grown up needs in their home, but there is no greater grown up way to spend an evening, than gathered around the dining room table playing games. Be it poker, Uno, Scrabble, Monopoly or Mahjong, grab some pizza, chips and beer and you have the making of a perfect grown up evening.
Everyone needs a basic tool kit—even if dad lives nearby. You will inevitably need a screwdriver set to put together your flat-packed Ikea furniture, a hammer and nails to hang pictures, and a wrench for when you need to fix a leaking tap. While you’re at it throw in pliers (you’d be surprised how useful they are) and a tape measure to make sure any new whitegoods you buy actually fit through the door.
Black-outs happen, and they can be incredibly inconvenient. No Netflix? No microwave dinner? But my phone is almost dead, how will I charge it? Let’s not forget that it might leave you in pitch black. The latter, at least, you can deal with. Make sure you’ve got a flashlight, candles and a lighter somewhere easy to access, that you can find in the dark. Then get out the aforementioned Scrabble set and enjoy a battle by candlelight.
I know—the first few months are all about keeping yourself alive. You need to work out how to keep yourself fed and how to keep your place acceptably clean. Eventually though it comes time to test the true measurement of adulting – taking care of something or someone else. A plant is usually a good way to start; something hardy like the Peace Lily (practically indestructible) or a chili plant (hard to kill and useful). If that works, a fish tank is a good second step. Cold water fish (like goldfish) are the easiest to keep because you don’t need to worry about water temperature. Tropical fish are a lot prettier. If you’ve kept fish alive for over a year, then you can consider something that requires more responsibility, like a dog or cat. Think adoption first, and be aware that a dog or cat needs to be approved by your landlord.