Living alone is becoming more common. According to the Asia Research Institute, the one-person household is the fastest-growing type of household in Asia. That’s because there are serious perks to living alone. You have your own space; you control your time, and no one will judge you for lounging in your pyjamas all day. You can also avoid being interrupted by unwanted disruptions during your weekly Zoom calls.
In a COVID-19 altered world, Malaysians are now spending most of their time at home – whether that’s learning how to cook their favourite restaurant dishes using DIY cooking kits, growing their own vegetables and plants, or simply seeking shelter from the outside. If this is your first time living alone or you’re looking for tips to improve your home living experience, here are some tips to help create a living environment that works for you.
1. Safety first!
Here are some tips to keep you safe while living alone:
- Don’t forget to change the locks before you move in. For those of you who are renting, ask your landlord if they change locks in between rentals. If not, you can always offer to pay for it. It’s a worthwhile investment if you don’t want any uninvited visitors during your occupancy.
- Find out if there are any in-built home security features such as CCTV cameras, motion sensors, and home alarm systems that can boost the security of your new home.
- Stay in touch with your neighbours by joining an online chat group so you can get regular updates on what is happening around you.
- Have a first-aid kit on hand so you are prepared for minor accidents and injuries at home. Your first-aid kit should include essentials such as different sized bandages/plasters, sterile gauze dressings, a digital thermometer, and antiseptic cream.
- Now that you’re on your own, make sure you brush up on basic first aid skills too.
2. Create a proper home office set up.
As remote working becomes commonplace, it’s time you designated an actual home workspace that isn’t your kitchen countertop or bedroom. If possible, also invest in computer monitors, keyboards, and laptop stands that will promote good posture and make it easier for you to work from home.
According to cognitive scientist Anja Jamrozik, there are five essentials for working well: having good access to natural light, a comfortable temperature, good air quality, comfy furniture, and a strategy to minimize distractions. You should try setting apart your workspace from the rest of the house by picking a corner or a room and dedicating that space as your new office. This creates boundaries and lets your mind know where to work and where to rest, promoting a healthier work-life balance.
Want to add a splash of colour to your home? Try using a proper paint tape like the ScotchBlue™ Original Painter’s Tape to create the perfect geometric feature wall. This painter’s tape a great painting tool as it resists paint bleeding and removes easily after the paint dries, leaving you with a fine and crisp line art. Who needs virtual backgrounds for conference calls when you’ve got such an amazing real-life backdrop?
3. Marie Kondo your life (and your home).
A house isn’t a home until you’ve made it yours. According to Marie Kondo, an internationally renowned organizing guru who stars on Netflix: “The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” Make room for the things that matter now by being intentional with what you keep and where you keep them.
Declutter and organise along the way so your house won’t be a mess a few years from now. A good example of a space you can declutter is the bathroom, kitchen, and storeroom which can be a sanctuary or a battlefield depending on how it is organised.
Visual appeal is key to making your space work, so don’t just scatter your items all over. Instead, make use of vertical spaces so everything can be kept neatly without taking up your floor space. Command™ products are made for that purpose, and now you can organize your belongings without the need to drill. Want to change the position of the hooks? Just pull the strips to remove the hooks and it will not leave any residue behind. Extra plus points for those of you who are renting!
4. Pick up some practical cleaning skills.
The general rule is that you should clean as you go to avoid big piles of mess. To help inculcate a good cleaning habit, invest in efficient, easy-to-use, and long-lasting household cleaning tools. Here are some tips for a stress-free clean-up during cooking and cleaning:
Smelly kitchen scourers that are not very effective? Invest in quality kitchen scourers like Scotch-Brite™ Scrub Dots that can cut through tough stains, repel residue, and resist unpleasant odours.
Dust allergy acting up when you sweep? When sweeping with a traditional broom, dust tends to take flight which can put you in a sneezing fit and at the same time cause the dirt to just settle elsewhere. Good quality sweepers are usually expandable and come with a refillable disposable cleaning cloth that attracts dust, dirt, and hair so they won’t fall out once it is picked up.
5. Ensure that you have clean drinking water.
It is important to invest in a good quality water filtration system to improve the overall household water quality. Be sure to purchase water filters from trusted brands like 3M through their authorized partners to avoid buying counterfeit products.
Look for products that offer features like easy-change cartridges, comprehensive warranty, and adhere to NSF international standards and protocol.
6. Lastly, don’t forget to stay connected with others.
Living alone doesn’t mean being lonely, and social distancing doesn’t mean emotionally disconnecting from others. You’d be surprised how a dinner over Zoom can pick you up and help you feel better. Always reach out when you need support or if you just need to be alone, try picking up a project to work on. “Our homes play a large role in our self-care,” said Joanna Townsend, a life coach and a Washington D.C.-based psychotherapist for Blush Online Life Coaching. So, remember this the next time you pick up a project to improve your home. You’re not only working on making your house a home, but you’re also working on yourself.
There’s no place like home! It’s up to you to cultivate an internal space that will help you to become the best version of yourself, regardless of the external circumstance.