Ten essential things for living away from home that no one tells you about

February 14, 2017
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Sure, everyone knows you need a bed, a microwave, and something other than the floor on which to watch Netflix. But once you’re on your own, you realise there is so much more than whitegoods and a bean bag.

A magnetic whiteboard

I don’t always remember what I need from the supermarket, but when I do, I’m anywhere but at the fucking supermarket. Thank God for my trusty fridge-mounted whiteboard, a receptacle for all of the random “Oh, we’re out of that” moments I have around the kitchen.

A drinking schedule

Take one uni student, subtract parental oversight, add stress – boom, the perfect recipe for alcoholism.

Having scheduled drinking nights is essential if you want to hold onto your wallet and your health.

Ziploc bags

I would never have survived campus life without these bad boys. From salads to salamis, resealable bags save so many leftovers from becoming garbage they’re basically novelty-size food stamps.

A grim sense of humour

No act of independence goes unpunished, and moving out home seems to be some sort of cue for the universe to punch you right in the jeans.

One seemingly ordinary day, you’ll be out of milk, your car will break down on the way to the store, you’ll miss the job interview, and you’ll come home to a steaming stack of overdue bills. Then, just when you think it can’t get any worse, you’ll turn on the telly just in time to see Scott Morrison axing Centrelink payments with the sharpened remains of the carbon tax.

Some days, being able to laugh at this shit is the only way to maintain your sanity.

A baseball bat

A crucial part of settling into a new place is feeling safe. And nothing says ‘safe’ like a few feet of tempered aluminium. Though you’ll probably never use it, having a bat tucked under your bed will give you peace of mind in a way that faith in mankind simply won’t.

A nice big mug

For the swimming pools’ worth of coffee you’ll guzzle down over the course of your degree. Just make sure it’s wide to enough to catch the odd tear when exam season rolls around.

House rules

Essential for successful co-habitation, house rules set the guidelines for cleanliness, orderliness, and not-having-loud-sex-while-other-people-are-trying-to-watch-Bloodlines-ness.

Ever been to a share house where there’s more garbage than furniture, and the only thing higher than the tenants are the dishes? That’s what happens when the spirit of law is removed from uni students.

A roll of duct tape                              

Duct tape is life. Duct tape is the domestic wingman you never knew you wanted. Stopper of leaks, sealer of boxes, fixer of broken clothes hoists, duct tape has got your back.

A socket wrench

Unless you have a rich uncle or a taxpayer-funded expense account to draw on, you’re going to assemble a lot of furniture after moving out, and that means a lot of time fiddling around with bolts. The thing is, the tiny disposable spanners that ship with self-assembly furniture are practically useless. In fact, I can only assume that manufacturers laugh maniacally in tower-top lairs as they pack these things into the box.

On the other hand, a socket wrench – especially one with various head sizes – will make short work of whatever hellish instructions those goons at Ikea care to throw at you.

A solid set of headphones

And by “solid” I mean “unlikely to alert housemates to the fact that you listen to Britney Spears’ Greatest Hits when studying.” Privacy is at a premium in share houses, and headphones that leak sound are the enemy of all concerned – especially if you’re into those kinds of videos.

Still, the Britney Spears thing would be worse.

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and freelance writer, Joel pretends to be clever at La Trobe University.

Image: Fresh Meat official Facebook page