Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to Adult, a starters guide.

Things have been way too serious.

I have been sitting on advice to give because I wanted to not be sick and have a clear head.

So first up we have a Homie whom we'll call New Adult or NA. NA wants to know some basic, concrete things to know to start adulting.

Okay my darlings this can apply to anyone but I am mainly talking to people getting their first (or not first) place of their very own.

First things first.

When you arrive at your new place, take fifteen minutes and go to a drug store/everything type store (walmart/kmart whatever) and buy the following:

  • Toilet paper
  • Plunger
  • Few large bottles of water (in case your water sucks)
  • Multi purpose cleaner.
  • Some plastic cups, paper plates, paper towels.
  • One dishtowel type thing.
  • If you have periods, buy blood collection devices. Tampons whatever. Stress can make one have surprise periods.
Now I say these things because right after you move even if you have help you're going to be tired. Save 20-50$ and order food in. Eat off the disposable plates so you don't have to wash dishes right away.

Make sure you stay hydrated and don't worry about getting ALL the way unpacked your first night.

Your first night here's what I suggest you need/unpack.

  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Entertainment (TV, computer, whatever)
  • Medications, vitamins.
  • Anything else you need to sleep for a night.
Now, remember you don't have to have your place set up like Martha Stewart exploded in it right away. If you need to take your time, take your time. 

Once you get unpacked invariably there are going to be things you need. Pots and pans, household sundries.

Make a master list and remember you don't have to get everything at once. Don't be too proud to hit clearance sales, thrift stores, Kmart, Walmart where ever. Work with your budget not against it. Do not let people pressure you into shopping at "good" stores because sometimes you just need things now.

Now, there are some skills I want you to master NA.

First thing. Unclogging the toilet.

My first place, I didn't know how and I am a champion pooper and inevitably tragedy occurred. My preferred plunger style is this one. When using this kind, you want to get the narrow part down in your toilet, don't be afraid of the poop and slowly work the pressure until you feel the clog release.

If you don't have a plunger and it is an emergency, you can also use BOILING hot water (please PLEASE be careful with this) and slowly pour it into the toilet to melt the poo.

IF that doesn't work and you don't have a plunger handy, turn on the fan and just wait. If the clog is bad enough pee in the bathtub and keep an eye on the water level in the bowl and it might start to go down.

Also know that it's nothing to freak out about or be ashamed of. Everybody poops and sometimes we poop like bears and our environmentally friendly toilets can't handle it. 

Poop happens.

Next up learn to prepare yourself some basic meals you find tasty. You don't have to get all super recipes and fancy food items. Look at your diet and figure out what things you like/can eat regularly. Stock up on non perishables like rice, dry beans etc if you like those things.

How about some economic survival tactics?

When one is broke there are things you can do to help stretch your household needs dollars.

Even if you live by yourself and you find yourself with a good amount of money don't be afraid to buy bulk amounts of the following:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning products you like
  • Sponges
  • Tampons/pads if you need them.
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Seasonings (dry)
  • Cocoa/coffee/tea
  • Coffee filters/tea bags/etc.
For me things I use more often than not daily, I stock up when I can.

Also remember it is your house, you run it the way you want to.




Even in this day of apps and programs for everything, for me sometimes the easiest way to keep track of bills (and how I paid off several debts) was to keep a simple paper ledger. I bought one from an office supply store and it worked for me.

Don't forget to balance your checkbook if you have one.

If you forget things, don't be afraid to leave yourself notes where you will see them. My go to spot is in the bathroom. On the mirror or by my toothbrush or whatever.

Basically here's the deal.

There is no right way to be an adult.

The right way to be an adult is the way of doing it that keeps you as healthy and happy as you can be NA.

If that means you buy beanbags, microwave popcorn and video games. Go forth and do so.

If that means you get all SUPER Martha Stewart on it, GO GO GO GO.

The truth is, surviving your first few years on your own is a learning process and you're going to fuck up. You're going to stain your carpet, you're going to bleach something that can't be bleached, poop is going to get on your bathroom floor, your shower curtain might mold, you may find something gross in your drain.

It is okay to freak out when that stuff happens.

But once you are done freaking out or while you are freaking out., get shit done. Clean up the poop, unclog the sink, you might lose your deposit but it's okay.

Let me say that again: IT IS OKAY.

So NA relax.

You will do fine.

You will figure out what adulthood looks like for you and you will do it.

If you need help or food or need to know how to slice a tomato or what to do with leftovers come back and we'll talk about it okay?

Now I turn it over to the smartest people on earth, my homies.

SO my homies do you have any advice for NA? Want to commiserate? Feel free to share embarrassing stories. If y'all are real nice I will tell the story about my complete melt down and following feelings of victory the first time I was on my own with a major toilet clog.



Unknown said...

Get a good pan to cook/fry/boil your food. I survived all of last year with a small pot and lid, and made myself pretty decent meals. Also, get a sewing kit. And scissors!

TabbyCat said...


This times forever. Dude, if I had had this kind of list when I first moved out? I would be out on my own right now. I didn't know how to handle a lot of stuff because I lived with my mother who was ever so bent on /keeping/ me there. So... it was rather too easy to give up and go back to mom. Even now, at 36, it is very hard for me to do things that other adult people do. I still can't balance a checkbook to save my life. I fortunately do not have bills to pay -- I finally cottoned on to prepaid cellphones that you can neglect at will with no ill effect -- and am finally starting to really, seriously be okay with not having all the material things I always thought I was 'supposed' to have. Because you know how They Jones is: Buy All The Things or You Are Not Grown.

I'm starting to learn that for me, Adult looks... /odd/. Tiny apartment (if/when I can find one), minimal furniture (literally, a bed, a desk, a chair kthx), and ye gods, a kitchen is completely without use, since I'm dead set against cooking anything. A crockpot is awesome for beans. They cook up nice. You can marinate all the seasonings all up in them. You can ignore it for four hours. I love those things.

Anyway - NA: Listen to her. She is so right! Go forth and do YOU; ignore They Jones, because They Jones will get you in trouble, because They is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I found that my major difficulty when I first moved out on my own was loneliness. I was so glad to be out of my parents' house, but I moved out when I went to Uni (just got a flat on my own at the start of year 1, never did student accommodation, never went back to my parents' for more than a 2 day visit in the holidays) so I was away from my friends and it took a long time to make new ones. On weekends before I got a job I'd go whole days without seeing or speaking to another human being. It scared me, and I did break down sometimes. Which is funny because days entirely to myself like that sound like heaven to me now.

Which is to say, it's ok to find it difficult, and it's ok to lose it sometimes. You too might get used to whatever proves hardest for you or discover that your preferred way of living is not what you expected, or you might give it your very best shot and then decide to change it a little (eg living with others if you find the dislike of being alone doesn't go away, or deciding to have as much time/space to yourself as possible if you're in a shared place etc).

Much less concrete than the excellent advice above (apologies!), which I keep almost just rephrasing because it hits all the major nails on the head for me.

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