A three part series
We all get to that point in our lives. It will be time to leave home. This could be because it is time to go to college, university, work or you may have gotten to the point where you would have realised that staying at home won’t be of any use anymore due to the limited opportunities present. I am going to share my experiences as well as a few tips that will help you move out.
This is a very underrated part of moving out of your parents home. The first time I left home, I assumed that I would get into a place with all the basic necessities. I expected to find a bed, a fridge, a stove and all the basics needed. I remember arriving at my new home and realising that there was nothing. There weren’t any curtains, beds, cupboards or even buckets. There was absolutely nothing in the room – well except for a few cobwebs but hey, those aren’t useful at all (unless if you can turn them into gold..do share your secret). I was very grateful when I looked up and saw that was indeed a light bulb in the light socket. If there wasn’t one then living there was going to be quite a challenge.
The first thing you need to consider before leaving home for the first time is the place you are going to stay. Are you going to stay in an empty room? Is the room going to come with furniture? Are you going to have a room-mate? Having answers to these questions will greatly help you in the preparation process. I am going to focus on travelling to a room which has absolutely nothing.
There are things called curtains. I thought every house that was built automatically came with curtains and laces. Well, that’s not the case. If it was not for my loving parents who forced me to carry a set of curtains and laces, then living in that empty room that I got into was going to be a nightmare. Have a set of curtains and laces and a couple of hooks. (Try to research on the types of curtains that are popular in the area you’re going to. Some areas still use traditional hooks and some don’t. These newer ones have hoops and slide on the rails). Now you’ve dealt with your main privacy issue. The next privacy related issue is to get yourself a key blocker. If you use the newer types of locks, then this may be irrelevant to you.
Time to deal with sleeping issues. When leaving home for the first time, it is very easy to forget that not all houses come with beds. I slept on the floor for a month with a sleeping bag, a curtain and a duvet between me and the floor. This was not a pleasant experience. To avoid this, buy an air mattress or a foam rubber mattress. These are relatively inexpensive. After that, try to look for a carpenter to make a simple base for the mattress. Don’t forget the blankets! I remember taking a look at my blankets and asking myself “Who the hell is going to carry that?” I regretted saying that a few days later. It turns out that the weather actually changes. It actually gets cold. Don’t be like me. Get a blanket or two.
After waking up what is the first thing we do? We eat! Wait…that needs a stove. I didn’t have one. My parents had tried to convince me to carry one but I definitely didn’t want to carry around a bulky, heavy metal electrical device with me. I didn’t even have an electric jug. I quickly discovered that when you don’t have a jug or a stove, your breakfast options are very limited. You can only have bread and drink, bread and water (don’t ask) and bread and really horrible tasting cornflakes. Laziness doesn’t pay. Try to carry a stove with you. In fact, don’t try – CARRY A STOVE WITH YOU.
Tip: First research on the types of stoves that work best with the place that you are going to. In some places, electricity is expensive, unreliable or expensive and unreliable. In such cases consider purchasing a stove that uses alternative means of power e.g. a gas stove.
After you eat breakfast, you need to bath. Buy soap, buy toothpaste, and buy a bucket. I was too lazy to carry a bucket with me (I never carry buckets because … I don’t have a good reason). You also need flip flops for use in the bathroom unless if you intend to bath bare footed. That is not really a good idea – especially when you are not the only one who uses the bathroom (which happens 99.999% of the time).
And the last and most important thing. The weather. I have lived in areas with weather that could freeze a bear and weather that is so hot that you would sweat whilst bathing (I’m not kidding). Make sure you pack clothes that go hand in hand with the weather there. If you are going to hot areas, pack a lot of shorts (don’t forget to include a few track bottoms / trousers. The weather DOES change). If you are going to cold areas then try to pack a lot of warm clothes. If you’re not sure, then carry a weeks’ worth of clothes. You can always go back home to get more clothes.
So in summary, you need to be prepared. Here’s the process that I use to find out which items are essential.
Sharing conditions – alone? With a roommate? Furnished? If so then do then what’s included? Completely bare?
Privacy – curtains, locks, padlocks, keyblockers
Sleeping – bed, mattress, blankets and sheets
Breakfast (food) – in most cases, the items you use for breakfast can be used for lunch and supper. I check whether I have the following: a stove, plates, a cup, a kettle, and cutlery (you won’t believe how easy it is to forget to include cutlery).
Bathing – soap, toothpaste, a towel, a toothbrush, a bucket, flip flops, a sponge (and a rubber duckie?)
BONUS TIPS: Get durable suitcases, don’t forget your combs, load loads of movies into your laptop, carry an adapter and have books to read.
Where can I get these items?
Well that depends on the country you are in. I would find it to be a good idea to ask a few people who have already moved out (older siblings & friends) which stores to go to. Visit your local grocery store, your local hardware store and set aside a day for looking for those hidden stores that sell goods at really affordable prices. You can also make use of online stores such as Amazon and Ebay. If you are Zimbabwean like me, you can get these items from:
N Richards – you usually find amazing prices here
Pick n’ Pay
Mahommed Mussa – really great for stoves and electrical items
Hardware shops such as Electrosales, and Halsteds – great for keyblockers, padlocks and locks
TV sales and home – amazing for beds
And if you’re not a snob you can also consider going to flea markets. I got really great buckets there.
There is something that you must have noticed. To buy all these items you need money. In the next article, I will give you tips for looking for a house and I will give attention to the financial aspect of leaving home for the first time.
Please do share your experiences in the comments section. I would love to hear what you have to share about leaving home for the first time.