5 Problems You Only Face While Living Alone (and How to Deal with Them)

published Jul 15, 2014
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Remember that roommate you had that walked around naked? Or the one who clipped his toenails in the living room while watching TV? There’s a reason you now live alone and love it. At some point you decided it was time, could afford it, and today you certainly don’t look back. But, while great in some respects, there are parts of living on your own that are, at the very least, different, and at the most, a pain in the ass. Here are five major ones, and strategies for dealing.

1. Economies of Scale

Problem: Generally, the more you buy at one time, the cheaper it becomes. While a family of six cruises through a pot of chili, that much food can get wasted in a household of one. It’s also more expensive to buy smaller quantities of toilet paper and other household supplies.

Solution: The Kitchn has some great tips for cooking on your own. For everything else, consider teaming up with a friend, family member, or neighbor to split that 24-pack of toilet paper. You’ll save money and space in the process.

2. Heavy Objects

Problem: You get an itch to decorate first thing on Saturday morning and find yourself stymied by your grandmother’s huge, six ton armoire.

Solution: Don’t hurt yourself by trying to lift things yourself. First, break the piece down in any way to make it manageable: empty contents, remove drawers or legs. If it’s still too big or heavy, round up a friend or next-door neighbor to help you out on the fly. Otherwise, save up all your little odd jobs and hire someone one Saturday afternoon to knock out everything out on your to-do list that requires help.

3. Loneliness & Boredom

Problem: Even if you have tons of friends, a boyfriend/girlfriend, sometimes being home alone at night is a downer. Everyone likes someone to occasionally turn to to express outrage over Ann Coulter’s most recent comment, or to rub it in when you get that night’s Final Jeopardy question correct.

Solution: Create structured ways to leave the house and regularly interact with others— especially if you also work at home — at the times you feel most alone. Sign up for yoga classes, or join a book club. Host regular dinner parties, or even low-key television watching sessions with another person who shares your love of Game of Thrones. Lastly, think about adopting a furry friend. (Because everyone talks to their pets, no matter what we tell others.)

4. Fear for Safety & Well-Being

Problem: Maybe you are scared of axe murderers at night. Or, you worry about falling down the stairs and having no one find you for days. These are very rare yet valid concerns that shouldn’t be deal breakers.

Solution: Yes, there’s always LifeAlert. And the pet (dog) you adopted to thwart loneliness will also help deter any meanies. Otherwise, set up a check-in system with a friend/neighbor and agree to touch base with each other regularly via text or phone. Ideally, this person will live alone as well, so the benefits go both ways. If one party is suspiciously quiet, either expect a welcome knock on your door, or head on over to check out your buddy.

5. Deliveries & Repairs

Problem: You’re only one person, and can only be so many places at one time. If you expect a package during the day, or need something repaired, there are only so many times you can take off work to be there in the flesh. There’s no one right answer for this problem: the solution depends on your unique situation and needs.

Solution: For mail, check out this post on How to Manage Home Deliveries, or services like Amazon Locker. For repairs, arrange to work from home one afternoon (again, if this is feasible). Renters can often ask landlords to greet the person on site. If you know and completely trust your repairman or contractor, install a key safe outdoors, then change the combination once the work is done. If all else fails, and you have to take the time, try scheduling appointments first thing in the morning, or as the last slot in the day.

If you live on your own, what are your paint points? And what, if any, strategies are helpful?


Re-edited from a post originally published 7.15.2014 – cm