Faith is fond of sweets, fitness (to balance the sweets), women's health topics, fashion, and beauty.
If you are a girl just starting out on your own, you are in for an awesome adventure. You are now free to blast that annoying song you love as often as you want (until the neighbor's object), eat whatever you want (straight out of the jar!), and hog the bathroom for hours without anyone complaining. But you will also find you have a new set of responsibilities. That trash will keep on piling up until you take it out, and that light bulb that burned out won’t fix itself.
Whether you are leaving for college, moving into your first apartment, buying your first home, or just finally getting a place without roommates, there is much to learn about living solo. Ensuring you have a few household essentials will make your life easier as you attempt to find the balance between newly found freedoms and responsibilities.
The following 10 items are absolute must-haves for every girl who is living alone:
1. Zip-It Drain Tool
Once you live alone, there is no one to blame that slow-draining water on but yourself. There is also no one around but you to fix it. Save yourself from biweekly plumber fees by purchasing a zip-it drain-cleaning tool. The flexible plastic wand covered in barbs can simply be pushed down the drain then pulled back up to retrieve runaway hair. While you are at it, invest in a plunger and some Drano as well for even less pleasant bathroom emergencies.
2. Basic Tool Kit
Living alone does not mean you need to become the ultimate Mrs. Fix-it (unless your heart so desires), but having a few basic tools will save you from future frustration. When your oven handle jiggles, or your dresser knob falls off, being able to fix it yourself is very rewarding. Tool kits marketed toward women are available if you would like your tools in pink. Just make sure your kit includes these most-needed tools for household repairs:
- Screwdrivers (Phillips and slot-head)
- Tape measure
- Utility knife or scissors
3. Jar Opener
Maybe God simply thought it would be funny, or it was His way of seeing to it that we find value in men. Whatever the reason, women seem cursed with an inability to open jars and bottles. I have suffered many unmet cravings, unable to open a bottle of sports drink or jar of pickles in dire times of need until I finally bought myself a simple jar-opening device. Don’t make the same mistake. Buy yourself one of these inexpensive gadgets before you strike a craving.
4. Fly Swatter
Do you know how you used to call your dad or your brother when a spider showed up in your room? I’m sorry to be the one to have to say this, but now it’s on you. (Not the spider. The job of killing it.) Buy a fly swatter so you can slaughter that creep from a distance. (Not your brother. The spider.) Find a fly swatter too close for comfort? Buy a broom. Or one of those bug-sucking vacuums that keep you from having to perform post-mortem cleanup. And some paper bags for recovering from hyperventilation may be a good idea too.
5. First-Aid Kit
Moving out means Mom will no longer be there to put on your band-aids and heat up your tea when you’re sick. You may still be able to convince her to bring chicken soup over when you get the flu, but make sure you at least have the following first-aid essentials so you can take care of yourself:
- Hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning out cuts)
- Triple antibiotic ointment (for fast, infection-free healing)
- Benadryl (for unexpected allergy attacks)
- Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Aspirin (for relieving pain and reducing fever)
- Heating pad (for menstrual cramp relief)
- Canned chicken soup (for when Mom won’t deliver)
You’ll never get me to admit that I’m afraid of the dark, but if the power goes out, this girl wants a backup light. Ensuring that you have a flashlight on hand will not only save you in power emergencies but is also nice for finding items that have fallen into cracks and searching behind the mountains of shoes in your closet. Invest in a heavy Maglite, and it can double as a weapon. Besides these practical uses, how else will you make shadow puppets when you get bored at night?
No, I’m not talking about the KFC variety (though you may find yourself craving good chicken when your mom is no longer there to make your meals). I mean an actual bucket—the kind that you can stick beneath a dripping ceiling or a pipe that springs a leak. You’ll be thankful that you have one if a water emergency ever occurs (and they do). A bucket can also come in handy as a cleaning tool should you ever decide to mop those dirty floors.
8. Spare Bulbs and Batteries
Remembering to buy toothpaste can be hard. Remembering to buy batteries and light bulbs is nearly impossible. Keep extras in stock so that burnt-out lights and dying smoke detectors can be dealt with right away. Otherwise, you may be living with safety hazards (or worse—dead TV remotes) for absolutely awful lengths of time.
9. Spare Key
While it's nice not having roommates, you might miss them when you forget your key. Depending on your building management/landlord situation, it might be hours before someone can come to unlock your door. So do yourself a favor and keep your spare somewhere both handy and safe—in your car, for example, or with a family member or good friend.
I don’t care what they say about diamonds. Google is a girl’s best friend. Not only can the Internet keep you connected with family and friends and provide hours of entertainment, but it can also be used to find the answer to almost any question. Not sure how to update that newly bought Garmin? Ask Google. Looking for a recipe for single-serve salmon? Google. Need the number for a car mechanic? You guessed it—Google. Just look for reliable sources and take what you read with a grain of salt (just because it’s online doesn’t make it true). Use a virtual pinboard like Pinterest to organize the useful tricks and tips you learn. And remember to spend at least a little time with real faces and places every day, away from that computer.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Faith A Mullen
jayden on July 15, 2015:
Wow this is not entirely sexist at all! I can't think of a single girl I know, including myself who is capable of opening a jar or killing a bug on her own. Maybe we shouldn't live alone, and should just stay with mom and dad until a nice young prince on a white horse comes along.
Faith A Mullen (author) on June 08, 2014:
Torrs13 - same with me! One of the down sides of having long hair. Thanks for reading!
Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 06, 2014:
The Zip It would have come in handy for me when I had my own apartment. I can't even begin to count the numbered things that my hair clogged the drain.
Stephanie from Canada on January 29, 2013:
Oh wow, that's awesome.
Faith A Mullen (author) on January 29, 2013:
They make pink tasers as well, for women who want that level of safety :)
Stephanie from Canada on January 28, 2013:
Yes ma'am. I agree. Another tip is a baseball bat beside the doorway at the front door if you need it ;)
Faith A Mullen (author) on January 28, 2013:
Thanks, Neinahpets! Anything that will help a girl defend herself is a great idea!
Stephanie from Canada on January 28, 2013:
Oh wow... I definitely wish I had of had the first one so many times when I lived alone. To add on to that one, a snake drain cleaner for the toilet would be a nice one for the list.
I second the mace. I kept one in my purse that was in a container that looked like a perfume spray shaped like a heart tube... it was even pink! It's also smart to keep something like that next to your bed or on a table next to the front door.
Great article, voted up!
Faith A Mullen (author) on January 17, 2013:
Thanks for the vote, Mary615! I like the ideas you thought of for your daughter. A girl cannot be too careful when it comes to safety.
Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 16, 2013:
Great list. I can't think of anything you forgot! When my daughter left for college, I gave her a tire inflater that runs off the car battery. She loves it and has used it many times. I also gave her a container of Mace that goes on the keychain.
I voted this UP, etc.
Faith A Mullen (author) on January 15, 2013:
Lol! Thanks, Anne-Marie. I have been thankful for my drain cleaner countless times too.
Anne-Marie Yerks from Royal Oak, Michigan on January 15, 2013:
Hilarious. I agree 100% about the drain thingie. I have used mine countless times.