The Twenty-Something Series: 11 random things to invest in when you move out of home

January 29, 2018
In this post I share some things you need to buy when you start living alone that you might not have thought of yet!

When you move out of home - whether you're living by yourself or with other people - there are some things that are definitely worth investing in, even if they might not seem obvious.

I'm not talking about saucepans or extra cushions, but practical, useful things that you've probably taken for granted living with your parents or not even thought you might need to buy. 

1. Screwdrivers

(Not the cocktail. Although vodka and orange juice definitely aren't bad things to keep in.)

This wasn't something I'd have thought to buy, but when I moved into a house in my second year of uni, my dad said it would be a good idea, and bought me a set of eight screwdrivers. They immediately came in useful: a new set of drawers bought in a flatpack from Argos; fixing some blinds that fell down in my housemate's room; and now I'm in a flat on my own I've used them to fix a couple of loose screws. Plus, the handles work as a pretty good hammer.

2. Spare towels and sheets

You don't always know when you'll get a guest (night out with your mates and you've offered someone to crash on your sofa so you don't both have to get home alone?) but you should be prepared for them. Keep a set of spare towels and sheets. (If someone pukes in your bed, you will not be sorry for the extra sheets then.)

And keep an extra hand towel for the bathroom, too. If you have workmen come by, you might be incredibly grateful for it if your hand towel ends up a bit grubby by the end of the day.

3. Stamps 

Mum always kept stamps for whenever you might've needed them? Not anymore: that's on you. Whether it's a card, a letter, or some application you've had to fill in and send back to your water provider. Spring for some first class stamps while you're at it: you don't know when you'll need them. (Even if you end up using mostly second class stamps.)

4. Wrapping paper and spare cards

Keep some wrapping paper somewhere. You'll remember to go out and buy the gift for someone (usually!) but not always remember to buy the wrapping paper. 

Having wrapping paper also means you need to keep some tape and scissors in, too - don't forget those, if you don't have them already.

It doesn't hurt to keep some spare cards in, too. Maybe a couple of birthday cards, some blank ones. It's not like they'll go bad.

5. A basic sewing kit

You're responsible for fixing that broken hem or that button that fell off now. (Unless you've got a nice housemate who's happy to do it for you - that was me. I was the housemate that fixed holes in pockets and kept needle and thread.)

A little mending is a useful skill to have, and it's easy to find a basic sewing kit with a couple of colours of thread and some needles. A stitch picker won't hurt either, especially if your sewing abilities leave something to be desired.

6. A variety of cleaning products

Not so random, I'll admit, but you really need to invest here. Polish, anti-bac wipes, products for the kitchen sink, something to clean your bathroom tiles and something for the mirrors. You might need some mould and mildew stuff. Hob cleaner. Stain remover for your clothes - and maybe for your carpets. You need to get that basket of cleaning crap under the sink now: there's a reason your parents have it. 

7. A vase

Extravagant, you might think, but you can pick up a vase pretty cheap, and you'll never know when someone will buy you flowers. Or you might just decide to buy some yourself to brighten up the room! Plus, a vase feels like a pretty grown-up thing to have.

8. Batteries

Get yourself some double- and triple-A batteries. When your TV remote dies or you order a clock online and then find out it didn't even come with batteries, you'll thank yourself for keeping them in the back of a drawer somewhere.

9. Elastic bands and a stapler

It's time to make yourself a little stationary kit. Pens, pencils, post-it notes and scissors - you've probably already got that. But what about a stapler? Even if it's for your own letters and bills and documents that you keep in a file and just want to keep them organised better.

And elastic bands are a godsend. Get one of those balls of elastic bands to keep your wires organised, boxes shut, whatever it is. I promise they'll come in useful.

10. A tape measure

Why have I even needed to use a tape measure so many times when living at uni or alone? Why have I needed to measure how tall that cabinet is or how big the room is? I don't even know, but you can bet it's come in useful several times.

11. A printer

If this was something you didn't invest in at uni, you need to invest now. You might not use it that often, but you will find you need to use it. Travel insurance documents or boarding passes, applications that need to be filled in and documents that need to be signed and scanned back in, copies of bills or tenancy agreements you want to keep. It'll be easier than trying to plan when you might get to the local library and then having to figure out how that printer works.

What's on your list of must-have investments when you move out of home? Share in the comments!

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