19 Things About Living Alone

1. If you set a thing down, it just stays there.
2. You could die and people might not find your body for weeks.
3. There is no dissemination of responsibility. Also there is no responsibility.
4. You will feel the need to explain why you live alone so people don’t think you are a sociopath.
5. You must play music all the time. The quiet is when the weird creeps in.
6. You may feel like someone could break in and kill you at any moment, and in some ways you’re right.
7. No one ever knows where you are. Usually you are home.
8. Your fridge may just have hummus and four kinds of beer, and I guess that’s okay.
9. Things you won’t just have, unless you go out of your way to buy them yourself: band-aids, q-tips, mayonnaise, dryer sheets.
10. Accept the fact that you will never know which day the trash and recycling is picked up.
11. You will be acutely aware of the amount of water and electricity you consume; it is alarming.
12. Try leading double lives, or triple lives, even. Quadruple is pushing it.
13. You’re either vastly weird or painfully boring when alone. You’re going to learn this The Hard Way.
14. If you leave empty bottles from multiple cases of beer out, it can look like you just had an awesome party if you play your cards right.
15. You are not an adult, nor will you be any time in the foreseeable future. Embrace that.
16. Life without furniture builds character.
17. Is it cold enough to turn the heat on? How do you know?
18. Spice it up! Buy some candles.
19. Sandwiches.

taylor’s actual fridge, as of right now

Taylor has written 137 articles for us.

120 Comments

  1. I love living alone, I don’t think I could tolerate a roommate anymore because: A)They touch and move your stuff. B)They have different housekeeping habits than you. C)They are around when you just want to be alone. D)They hog the teevee with shit you don’t want to watch. E)They are not always financially responsible. F)They smoke/drink/party more than you. G)You can never agree when to turn the heat on. This can be a disaster when it’s time to buy oil. (H)They eat your sandwiches.

    I actually had a great experience in my early to late 20’s, I had the same male roommate for 7 years. It’s my longest relationship to date. Maybe this should concern me.

    • I have lived alone forever but then I moved and live in a city that is more expensive that my paycheck and now I have a dude roommate for the first time in my life. He is sooooo chill. I’m like, damn, I’ve been doing it wrong. *Worries*

    • I’m starting to think that maybe I could use a roommate because I don’t like cleaning, but the roommate would have to be someone I really, really liked (preferably someone I’m dating).

  2. “If you set a thing down, it just stays there.”

    yes, i think the hardest part of living alone is knowing that there is only one single human in the entire universe who might put those shoes where they belong and that person is me.

    also: “Things you won’t just have, unless you go out of your way to buy them yourself: band-aids, q-tips, mayonnaise, dryer sheets.”

    also, a cheese grater

      • i think the most popular brand of dryer sheets is Bounce. they are these sheets of a similar size and shape as a tissue that you put in with your laundry in the dryer to cut down on intraclothing static cling by some wizardly magic no one really understands, not even nikola tesla.

        • i only know this because i still live at home and i recently learned to do laundry. and by learned, i mean i wrote down a multi-step process as my mom dictated it, and that list has been tacked to the wall beside the washer ever since. so.

          • …Wait. People use dryer sheets? I always forget even though I own them and my laundry always comes out just fine.

            Also I lived by myself this summer and my mom was so worried about #2 she texted me twice daily asking if I was alive. Once I was in the shower and I’m pretty sure she was ready to call the police.

          • i know you mean number two on the list above, but for my own amusement i have chosen to read your comment by interpreting #2 as poop.

            i am tickled positively pink by your mother’s panic for your poop.

          • dryer sheets are one of the first things to go when one constructs a monthly budget with a teeny-tiny amount of money. i remember dryer sheets from when i was younger, they were so lovely.

            also it took a while for me to accept that i would have to be the one to go out and buy the ibuprofen, now i have like 3 bottles, but i don’t know where any of them are

      • they are also fun to stick random places and pretend if you hide enough of them, your room will always smell like fresh rain or a sunny day like in the commercials. the downside is that they will most certainly fall out of your clothes while you are in a public place.

    • I live alone and I have all of the band-aids, q-tips, mayonnaise, and dryer sheets…ALL OF THE THINGS…and the cheese grater, in two sizes. I cannot live without these things, you are welcome to come over and share the things.

  3. this entire list is my life. also sometimes when i’m out and about in a sketchy area and feel unsafe, my first thought is WHAT IF I GET KILLED/WHAT HAVE YOU and the SVU folk find my APT. Seriously, sometimes that is the only thing that keeps me going-the fear of people breaking into my disgusting apt and my not being able to rationalize away why I live in such disrepair. “I was going to clean those dishes tomorrow, I swear.”

  4. I have a roommate and yet most of these apply to me. If I live by myself I’ll have to buy my own can opener. I think about #2 surprisingly often.

    This is a good reminder that I’m out of hummus. My fridge just has beer and milk now.

  5. I became hyper-aware of #2 after falling down the stairs last year. My thought process mainly went like this: “Oh g-d. The cats. They’d eat me.” :s

    Also, #17 is a fun game. I typically keep layering clothes until my nose starts to run.

  6. #3. Honestly, I think living alone is a great way to build responsibility. If you don’t do the dishes, the dishes stay there; if you don’t put your stuff away, you end up tripping over it. So gradually you learn to just do the damn dishes and put things back where they belong. You become accountable to yourself instead of to other people.

    But hey, what do I know? I’ve never lived alone. Though I’d really like to…if only it were more cost-effective.

    (Also, I am a vastly weird person all the time. Sometimes I feel sorry for my roommate, who occasionally walks in to see me just spinning aimlessly in a circle and has no idea what to say.)

    • There are many forms of weirdness. I pace back and forth a ridiculous amount– on the phone, listening to music, even doing work sometimes.

      I wouldn’t be weirded out by someone spinning around in a circle. Heck, I’d probably join in.

      • Even before I started living in my own apartment, I was living in a single dorm and before that, I had my own room in my parents’ house. So I’ve been doing the pace-back-and-forth thing for a while now.

    • Yeah I have a few plastic bins of old food in my fridge where I’m too lazy to do more than just scrape the food out. Of course, part of it is that I need to clean all the piled-up dishes in the sink first…

  7. I, too, have that $11 bottle of Sierra Nevada in my fridge! I thought it was only $3 when I took it to the register and then was too embarrassed by my inability to read clearly marked prices to put it back, plus the dude who checked me out said it was delicious. Fingers crossed.

  8. after 15 years living alone, this is what i’ve learned:

    if you answer #17 with NEVER, you don’t have to worry so much about #11 (the electricity part, anyway). it all evens out over the year. (this is what i tell myself when i see my summer electricity bills)

    #6 get one of those clubs that jam the door. it probably won’t stop someone from breaking in, but it’ll give you enough time to call 911. instant peace of mind. (also a thing i tell myself)

    #3 quickly turns into “you have ALL the responsibility”. you will become aware of it when the coffee runs out because THERE’S NO ONE ELSE TO BUY THE COFFEE AND IT’S MORNING AND THERE’S NO COFFEE IN THE HOUSE.

    #2 i’ve got nothing. i’ve accepted this will likely happen.

  9. when i lived alone i learned the hard way that the weird creeps in when it’s quiet :p also, living in a basement apartment with bars on all the windows doesn’t help the feeling like you’re gonna be murdered at any minute 😛

  10. I love living alone.

    #1 is a killer though. One day I didn’t go to work because I couldn’t find my keys and was certain I would be trapped in my flat for eternity. Eventually I found them around 8.30pm underneath some clothes on top of an upturned cardboard box that had become an impromptu storage system merely because of its existence.

    Also, heating is for wimps, it’s far more economical to central heat one person with a few glasses of port.

  11. #6 is why my door is always locked, ALWAYS. And why I refuse to live on the first floor.

    #10 – I only know when the trash is picked up because the garbage truck has a tendency to wake me up on Monday morning.

    #17 – when multiple sweaters are not enough to keep you warm and/or you have frostbite on your nose

  12. This list just might make me end the search for roommates, I mean who needs cheaper rent, I can do without hummus n beer. Also Im gonna have to make my future wife read this, so she won`t run me over with her U-Haul for at least another 5 minutes

  13. I’m not sure I would be able to live alone, whenever I hear a noise I think someone is trying to break in and kill me. I do a LOT of suspicious creeping around and leaping out from behind doors and so forth. I am 100% sure my tae kwon do skills from 5 years ago when I was 16 would be super effective.

  14. I just constantly have the Liz Lemon nightmare that I’m going to choke on something and no one will find me for days…. Also, I have no one to watch all day Bravo marathons with.

    Living by myself also means that my laundry never, ever gets folded because no one needs the couch space.

  15. oddly, this listling makes me want to live alone really badly. i feel like that was not what it was supposed to do? or maybe it’s just because after living with my parents it feels like living in any other kind of situation, particularly one where polite small talk over forced dinners does not exist, would be heavenly? whatever, i support this list wholeheartedly.

    • I love family style dinners (which could mean anything really, but I just mean dinner/food with more than one person). Right now my roommate and I just take our food to our bedrooms to hang with our own cats. Yep.

  16. When I was in grad school they made me teach an intro class for my department, but I have a public speaking phobia so I used to have severe panic attacks every day I had to teach (and any time I had to check my university email, for some reason). One morning, a panic attack hit me in the shower and I was shaking so hard I slipped and smacked my head on the faucet. I was fine, but it completely freaked me out because I lived alone and if I cracked my head open, I’d bleed out completely and be dead for days before anyone even thought to come looking for me. So I had to stop showering on days I had to teach. Just in case.

    I miss living alone so much I could cry.

  17. My list of stuff about living with my girlfriend is strangely similar to this one. I can only assume it’s because we don’t have kids, which would force us to grow up far more rapidly.

    The way I see it, we live like students except with better personal and domestic hygiene. Also, I’m pretty convinced that any meal is better when it is in the form of a sandwich. Particularly if the bread you’re using can form some kind of non-leaky eating vessel which then cuts down on dishes. So, Sunday roast dinner (including gravy) automatically upgraded to WIN when you stuff it into a sandwich.

  18. #2 is so true.
    once i almost choked on my dinner while watching tv in my underwear. and while i was coughing like crazy, all i kept thinking was, “if i die now it´s all because i live alone. and it´s gonna be so embarrassing if they find me like this. i need roomies.”

    i guess i would be found fast though, cos my mom would get worried after 8 hours of not hearing anything from me 🙂

  19. This list is incredibly accurate.

    -My fridge consists of hummus, almond milk and some beer right now.

    -The only furniture I have is a desk and a chair — inflatable mattress FTW!

    -I have no fucking clue what day is garbage day, so I just always take it out on Sundays, which I’m 90% sure is not garbage day.

    -Some nights when I’m in bed, I randomly freak myself out and think, “Someone could break in and kill me tonight.” And honestly, they could. And I just have to live with that.

    -Also, because no one is here to see it, I’m far more messy than even I am comfortable with. When it gets real bad, I look around and say, “If someone came in here, they would think I suffer from some sort of mental illness.” Then I clean for a little while and get bored before I finish.

    Good news for me though, I am moving out of this place very soon. My next apartment? I will probably live alone again, just by the nature of me moving a lot. And this time? I will buy an actual couch and a TV. Oh yes, it will be glorious.

  20. Technically I’ve always lived with other people, but I loved getting my first apartment in college, because even though I was living with three other people and sharing a bedroom, they often weren’t around (especially the girl who shared a room with me), often out partying or travelling or studying at the library or sleeping over at a boyfriend’s/friend’s. So I spent a LOT of time alone. And at first it was super lonely and weird, but it didn’t take long before I was loving it.

    I grew up in a big family in a small house, so maybe that was partly why, but I loved the purity or whatever of doing my own thing by myself, whether that was studying, eating take-out at midnight alone on my bed and watching movies, listening to the rain with nothing else to distract me, playing my music loud and dancing in the kitchen… I loved being alone. I don’t have the same situation now, and I often look back on that period with longing.

  21. Once when I was living in a single room in my college dorm, I left the door unlocked and the RA came in without knocking. I was sitting by myself on my bed with a blanket over my head.

    #13- vastly weird.

  22. I usually live with others. Before now, I’ve only ever lived on my own once before, a few years ago, and it was alright. Back then, I still missed having flatmates. This time though I am fully embracing it, especially #1, 3 and 8. Also, I second the weird food combos from leftover food, bread and random stuff in my fridge like cheese. Oh and standing up and wolfing down dry food like sandwiches/croissants, sometimes over the sink, just so that I don’t have to use a plate and also so that I don’t invite ants over.

    And numbers 2, 10, 11, 17 and 19 are quite applicable.
    #2 is really really applicable right now. I am coming off a bad cold/bronchitis. The first night I seriously thought I was going to drown in my own snot. I even dreamed about it. Thank God the snot phase is over but coughing is still on. Each night when the coughing starts up I think that I could choke/suffocate to death and no one would know. Also, for the first 4 days, I would feel slightly horrified when I thought that when people found me, the studio would be filled with disgusting pieces of tissue EVERYWHERE, pieces of lime, numerous mugs and an assortment of cold-related items all around the bed. And I would be in the same clothes I had been wearing for 4 days straight, on account of only leaving the bed to make some tea or other cold-fighting concoction.

    http://SoNotStraight.tumblr.com

  23. agrrr… I was supposed to moving out on friday… I think a few of the comments have made me re think the move….. I like beer and hummous and all… but who is going to stop me getting killed (as in point number 6)!!

  24. KINGS HARVEST HUMMUS IS THE BEST

    My opinion of you, Taylor, just increased exponentially.

    I have a roommate but nearly all of those things still apply. I think I may need a new roommate… Or need to learn when the trash and recycling comes.

  25. i’ve lived with groups of people before ( at uni) and non of us ever know when it was bin day (trash, for those of you on the other side of the world)… in all honesty… does anyone ever know when to take the rubbish out??

    also…emptying the hoover?? I have come to accept that I can not do this… (can anyone?) i’m going to get a dustpan and brush… or walk about with some double sided stickey tape on my shoes…

  26. #1, So sometimes it just doesnt just stay there. Which leas to a couple questions. Like,just wre does it go anyway? And the question do I beleive in ghost?
    #7, That astoundedlook and question that follows, Where the hell have you been, business trip,vacation,caribe,shcool? Nope home hangin about.

  27. #14 I was about to get really excited about this until I realized that I leave vitamin water bottles and wine everywhere…i’m just going to pretend that my friends and I are so wild yet classy we get sloshed on mixed beverages.

  28. I agree with all of these, especially #17 (the answer, btw, is when I wake up in the morning and can see my breath.) I would slightly argue #19, though. I say burritos. Tortilla shells have a longer shelf-life than bread and goodness knows when you live alone your kitchen’s worst enemy is anything with an expiration date within two weeks. I would also add #20: You have to consciously decide to get dressed.

  29. As I’m starting to find out (as of five days ago) that this is all alarmingly true. And it’s surprisingly easy to forget to leave the house for days at a time. Looks like I need to buy some hummus, though.

  30. All of these things. I am a newly single mom and while I have to maintain things somewhat for the children, I have gotten weird spending so much time in my own company. When I am around people I totally forget to finish sentences because I only ever talk to myself and non verbal micro humans.
    And my house is a mess, like I need a days notice for company messy. Speaking of, I should probably stop reading Autostraddle and go do something more tangible.

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