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Living Alone in a Big City Apartment

Preparing to live alone in a big city for the first time can induce a whirlwind of emotions. You’re probably feeling excited to have your own space, but you’re likely also experiencing some anxiety (or maybe even a lot of anxiety). Don’t worry; this is to be expected. Whether you’re moving out of your parents’ house, moving on from roommates, or facing singledom for the first time, the experience will give you an invaluable chance to grow as a person and get to know yourself on a whole new level.

At Colonial Van Lines, we understand that the switch to solo living in a big city isn’t always an easy transition. We wrote this article in the hopes that it makes your transition just a little easier.

When you live alone in a big city… there will be challenges.

With that said, there’s also a ton of perks to living alone. Sure, you might initially be terrified when you hear something go bump in the night, but you won’t have to deal with your roommate’s tasteless music bumping into the wee hours of the morning when you have to get up early for work.  

Just remember to lock your doors and remind yourself that no ghosts are lurking in your apartment building. Consider investing in a security system of your own (if for nothing else than sweet peace of mind).

When you live alone in a big city, there’s an adjustment period.

If you’re used to having people nearby all the time, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to immediately feel comfortable in your new living situation.

When loneliness creeps in, remind yourself that they’re called “growing pains” for a reason. If you’re not used to spending time alone and can’t seem to quiet your thoughts, practice mindfulness. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are a myriad of free meditation apps.

If you’re feeling the sort of sulky that makes you want to spend the entire weekend in bed, resist this urge. Force yourself to get out and explore the city. Grab dinner with some friends or try something new, like aerial yoga or a pottery class.

Big cities offer more social opportunities, so get out there.

When you live on your own, it can be easy to become too comfortable in your solitude. Avoid becoming a hermit by setting aside time each week to get out and socialize or have guests at your place. It’s up to you to make sure you get out of the apartment!

If you have yet to make friends in the city, fear not! Meetup.com is a great way to meet likeminded people at organized events of your choosing. If you’re looking for a few authentic, platonic friendships, try Bumble BFF and swipe right on potential besties who share similar interests.

If your friends don’t live nearby, go out of your way to keep in touch. You can plan Facetime dates or Zoom happy hours to show your friends around your new digs and catch up.

Don’t be a slob just because you can. 

Even though there may be no one to scold you for leaving your dirty clothes strewn about the living room, try not to let it turn into a pigsty. Enjoy your newfound slovenly freedom for a bit if you must. Then, once you become too embarrassed to have anyone over, whip out the cleaning supplies. After you relish in the incredibly grown up feeling that having a sparkling clean apartment gives you, you’ll want to keep it that way. If you allow your apartment to get out of control, don’t sweat it, we’ve got helpful tips for giving your apartment a much-needed deep clean.

Make your place reflect you.

You get to call all of the decorating shots! How exciting! Get yourself hyped about beautifying your new place by picturing your ideal aesthetic. If you need some ideas, browse Pinterest for decorating inspiration. Pick out furniture and décor that makes you feel happy to be home.

Don’t forget to create a budget. 

 Budgeting is a less than glamorous aspect of living alone, but since you’ll be footing the household bills on your own, it’s essential to create and stick to a budget. Living in a big city is great, but it definitely isn’t cheap. The best thing you can do is start early, like, before signing a lease. Browse rental ads to get a feel for prices and take it from there. If you decide you need to cut back on spending to afford the apartment of your dreams, we recommend following these guidelines to reduce your cost of living. 

Don’t forget that you’re not just paying for rent, utilities, cable, etc. on your own, but groceries and necessities like laundry detergent, too.

A useful budgeting resource when planning for a move is our free moving calculator. This nifty gizmo gives you a breakdown of all moving-related expenses. There are never any hidden service fees, so you’ll know exactly where each and every dollar is going. 

Get into a schedule. 

Setting aside specific days/times for laundry and grocery shopping ensures that you don’t have to cram these chores into an already busy day. Keeping a schedule makes you feel like you’ve got this whole adulting thing down to a science. 

Consider adopting an animal.

If you decide you don’t love coming home to an empty house and you have enough time to dedicate to caring for a pet, scope out your local shelter to find the perfect furry roommate. So long as your apartment complex allows pets, your first time living alone is the perfect time to get a dog or cat. Besides the unconditional love, having a pet makes it easier to stick to a schedule, since they need regular feeding and care.  

Enjoy having the ability to let go. 

Feel like traipsing around the apartment in nothing but your underwear? Go for it. While you’re at it, blast that annoying pop music you secretly love (not so loud that it bothers the neighbors), and light those candles that you think smell delightful, and your previous roommate hated.

When you need some help moving into your own place, we offer a multitude of options. We also offer free quotes to give you an idea of what your move will cost, without any pressure to use our services. Living alone in a big city will feel like a major lifestyle change at first, but all in all, taking the plunge will be an adventure that will lead to immense personal growth. 

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