(661) 313-3323 tom@thomasiland.com

You may have been expecting a blog about pets and I was hoping to have my dog, Bridget, join us, but she is taking a nap right now and as they say…let sleeping dogs lie.

Instead, I am going to talk about living independently and what it can be like to leave the nest and have your own space as well as the responsibilities of doing so.  It has been seven years since I moved out of my parents’ house and into a two-bed, two-bath condo that they own (they’re my landlords and I pay them monthly rent) and in that time, I’ve developed many useful life skills and a sense of pride that I can manage a household.

There are definite pros as well as definite cons to living on your own.  On the ‘pro’ side, you make your own curfew and can stay up or out as late as you want, you can arrange your stuff how you would like it rather than how someone else would want it for you, and you won’t have to worry about parents being around if you bring someone over to spend the night.  On the ‘con’ side, you have to worry about paying rent and bills on time, making sure there is plenty of healthy food available to eat and cook with, doing laundry, keeping the inside and outside of the house clean…all those things your parents did for you when you lived with them.

Briefly revisiting last week’s blog on ‘dating,’ it is a sign of both maturity and independence to be able to do those things your parents once did for you when you live on your own.  Why?  Because it paves the path towards finding and keeping a life partner, starting a family and running a household.  If you want these things in your life, it all starts with you becoming more responsible and contributing to the betterment of your living space.

Here are a few things you can do to make your household, whether you’re on your own, with roommates or still with your parents, run like a well-oiled machine:

-Have a household budget that shows all sources of income for a given month as well as monthly expenses so that you have an idea if you are spending more than you are making and what items are necessary (needs such as rent, utilities, food, car payments, etc.) vs. luxury (wants such as video games or entertainment systems or gym memberships, etc.)

-If living with roommates or family, have a written set of “rules of the household” for all to see so that all will know what is expected of them and what one will need to do to pull their weight

-Split chores evenly so that the division of labor is balanced…for instance, if one person cooks dinner, another person cleans up and does the dishes

-Set aside a day each week to accomplish routine chores such as vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning, laundry (whites in warm water, colors in cold), etc.

-Present yourself decently at all times meaning, for instance, no sitting around in your underwear when others are around, maintain good hygiene (also referenced in the ‘dating’ blog), be polite and welcoming when guests come over, etc.

I’ve heard some funny stories about people starting out on their own…and I have my share as well even after so many years.  I once attempted to make buttermilk pancakes from pure buttermilk from the carton and without the powder mix.  Needless to say, it did not turn into the pancakes I’d hoped for.  I’d love to hear some of your stories as well!

Pets are another factor to consider when running a household and I will talk more about that in the near future…

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