While many people enjoy the solitude of living alone, others, who unexpectedly find themselves in an empty home, can face a difficult transition period. Aside from simply missing the company of another human being, living alone means you don’t have another person to help with certain chores.
Tasks that you used to do with another person, such as folding bed sheets, you now have to tackle on your own. This can be a particularly tough challenge for older individuals who may not have the strength to complete certain routine tasks. For example, routine tasks such as carrying out the trash or dusting high places can be an extreme challenge for some older adults.
Surviving alone takes a lot of independence, but it also takes some ingenuity. Being able to solve problems on your own and overcome the challenges that come with living alone is crucial.
To help with some of the obstacles of living alone, here is a list of 10 helpful survival tips. Many of these tricks require very little energy or effort, yet they can make your solo life worlds better and even keep you safe.
Your Dishwasher Can Wash More Than Dirty Dishes
A dishwasher is a big help when it comes time to clean up after a meal, but it can also be a huge help in other aspects of cleaning.
Rather than climbing up on a ladder or chair to clean your fan blades, you can just remove them and wash them in the dishwasher. They’ll come out cleaner, and you won’t spend as much ladder time, risking a bad fall. Most hard plastics are entirely fine to wash in the dishwasher.
Other handy things to clean in a dishwasher include lamp shades, broom and mop heads, dust pans, gardening tools, pet toys, plastic combs/brushes, sink sponges, and many more items that would otherwise be hard to clean.
By giving your dishwasher this double duty, you’ll have a much cleaner home, and you won’t spend a ton of time keeping it clean.
Use Peppermint Oil To Ward Off Mice
Musophobia (the fear of mice and rodents) is one of the more common phobias out there. Not everyone can handle trapping and removing mice from his/her home.
If you’re one of these people, there’s a very inexpensive fix that doesn’t force you to interact with the mice at all: peppermint oil. Mice hate this stuff and will steer clear of it. By mixing some peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle, you can give a quick spritz to any area with mice activity.
You never have to remove the mice yourself; they’ll get one whiff of the peppermint and move on. Plus, it is a very humane way of dealing with a small mouse problem (if you have a large infestation, you may want to seek out more extreme measures).
Peppermint oil has a lot of uses. Even when the mice leave, you can still find ways to use it. Peppermint oil can be found at many pharmacies and large box stores. You can also buy it online.
Open Stubborn Jars With A Rubber Kitchen Glove
Nothing is worse than a jar that you just cannot open. Even after banging it on the side of a counter, turning it until your face turns red, and soaking it in warm water, you still cannot get it to open.
There are tons of products out there that are designed specifically for opening stubborn jars. One easy trick, which doesn’t require you buying some As Seen On TV product, is to use a rubber glove. You probably already have a pair under your sink, and the rubber of the glove will give your hand much better traction and grip on the lid.
Another trick is to put one rubber band around the lid and another around the jar, wherever your hand is going to hold it. The concept is the same, the rubber of the bands helps provide much-needed traction, and you can pop the lid quickly.
Use Windex To Move Heavy Furniture And Appliances
Moving heavy furniture and appliances is typically a two-person job, no matter what age you are. But, for older individuals, the challenge of moving something heavy on your own is much more difficult.
Luckily, there is a solution. By spraying Windex at the feet of an appliance and in a track of where you’re moving it, the item will slide with ease. Thus, you won’t have to strain yourself pushing and pulling it. Plus, it should protect some floors from marks, as you move the furniture.
Scotch Tape, Safety Pins, and String Are Your Friend For Dressing Up
“Can you zip me up?” A small request for a quick and easy task, if there’s another person around. When you are living alone, however, even getting dressed and wearing certain garments or jewelry can be a minor annoyance.
There are a few small things you can do to make life a little easier when you are trying to dress up for a night out. A string and a safety pin attached to the zipper of a dress makes it a breeze to zip up while using scotch tape on your wrist to hold a bracelet in place while you secure it means you can accessorize with one hand!
Put Your Mind At Ease With An Alarm System
When others are around, you don’t feel vulnerable and alone. You have someone else around to put your mind at ease when you feel uncomfortable or insecure. That isn’t the case when you are living alone.
Maintaining a sense of security can be hard, especially if you have an active mind that often creates added fear or anxiety. A medical alert system may seem like a significant, unnecessary investment, but the cost of having a mind that feels secure and at ease is priceless.
Plus, many modern systems are extra affordable. You shouldn’t be afraid of living alone or have your mind racing at every small bump in the night.
Invest in a Silicone Microwave Lid
Transitioning into living alone means adjusting how much you spend on groceries and how much food to cook and prepare. You’re probably used to feeding others (or being fed by someone), but now you are just cooking for yourself.
This might mean you need to take some rudimentary cooking lessons and it means getting used to eating leftovers and reheating food in a microwave more often. Reheating rice, pasta, and other similar dishes can be a real pain in the microwave.
There are some tips and tricks associated with microwaving food and an even greater number of gadgets, but the only one you need is a silicone microwave lid. This product traps in steam and heat to provide a more thorough cook. No more cold spots or mushy leftovers.
Budget and Shopping For One
Aside from adjusting how much you need to cook, you also have to learn how to manage your finances. The good news is that budgeting for one is a lot easier than learning how to budget and spend with a significant other or a roommate.
Nonetheless, it may take some getting used to, as you no longer have someone to split costs with and have to buy everything on your own. Groceries are going to be one of the areas that take a lot of adapting. You have to transition to buying smaller quantities, instead of in bulk. This is also going to be your biggest area of savings, which you’ll probably need to cover other payments and utilities.
In any scenario, budgeting takes some careful planning and smart innovating. You should track all of your spending. Then, once you have a good amount of data, you can begin to see where you are spending money, how much you need each month, and where spending can be cut.
Schedule A Daily Phone Call Or “Check In”
This tip serves two purposes. First, regular communication is important for mental health. Just because you live alone doesn’t mean you have to live without social interactions. People often underestimate how impactful a little chatting can be; a daily phone call can help in lifting your spirits to get through the rest of the day or give you an ear to complain to and get some things off your mind to de-stress.
For retired individuals, this daily call can also be a lifesaver if you’ve fallen and didn’t have a way to notify anyone. Your loved one will be expecting the call, and when it doesn’t come, they will know you are in trouble and send help.
Get To Know Your Neighbors
One of the best resources you can have when living alone are the people living around you. Not everyone likes meeting neighbors, and there are certainly neighbors you should avoid, but don’t let a little social awkwardness deter you from establishing connections in your neighborhood.
Not only are these valuable sources of social interactions, but you never know whom you might be living next to. You may come to find out that your next door neighbor is a handyman or a plumber, which is valuable knowledge if you have repairs or plumbing issues. Also, you may be able to call upon them to help with some tasks that are simply too difficult to do alone.
The last thing you need to remember to survive living alone is to have fun. Sure, it can be a scary, hectic transition that makes you alter your lifestyle and how you spend your money and live your life.
However, it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn things about yourself that you didn’t already know, explore new things, and do things in your way. You no longer have to worry about the needs of another, so make bold decorating choices. Start a new hobby that takes up way too much space. Be messy for a week. Budget for the vacations and things that you want. Entertain guests and dazzle them with your newfound cooking skills.
There’s so much potential growth to be experienced from living alone, so shed the fear and anxiety and enjoy it!