There’s a lot you need to know about living on your own for the first time, be here are some of the key things you need to know before packing up your stuff and saying “Bon Voyage!” to your parents’ basement.
If you plan on living with a roommate, make sure to keep a running list of everything you own
Maybe this is because I freaking love lists, and I am a bit overprotective of my belongings, but I found keeping a running list of all of my stuff really helpful when I had to move 3 times in one year. I’m telling you, if you’ve got a list, you can avoid a lot of “No, this is mine” arguments when you or your roommate decides to leave.
Update your address on your driver’s license
You can either pay to get a new license with your new address on it, or just order a free paper sticker with your new address to put on the back of your license for free. If you live in BC, here’s the link to get started.
Register to vote or if you are already registered, make sure to update your address
I’m not much into politics myself, but I do strongly believe that if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch about the government.
Update your address with the CRA and apply to get your GST/HST rebate cheques direct deposited into your bank account
I personally think it’s more secure than getting a cheque in the mail, plus you’ll get your money faster. You can do all this via this link.
Switch all your bills to epost
I love epost. I like that I can keep all my bills in one safe spot online and can print the bill out if I really need to. Not only does this save paper and thus the environment, but it saves me many trips to my mailbox. If you can’t switch one of your bills to epost, there’s almost always an option for you to get electronic bills emailed to you. This also goes for bank statements and credit card statements.
Buy an external hard drive and regularly back up your computer
Time Machine for Mac is amazing, but back when I was in film school and had to back up all my video files on a couple hard drives I found this free program called SuperDuper really handy. Take it from someone who spilled a bunch of Baileys on her laptop not too long ago, you need to make sure you back your sh** up or risk having years of work erased forever.
Keep all important documents sealed in a ziploc bag
I’m talking passport, social insurance card, health care card, and anything else that’s important that you don’t keep in your wallet. If your apartment floods, you want to make sure those things are kept safe and dry.
Have an emergency kit for your place
I don’t currently have one, but when my older sister first moved out she made herself a really good and cheap one just in case there was some natural disaster and she couldn’t leave her place. It was just a backpack with some bottled water, protein bars, flashlight, swiss army knife, matches and a little bit of cash (mainly coins to use for a payphone). I found this great site called Apartment Therapy that has some other great tips on how to make your own emergency kit for cheap.
Find out where your fuse box is, because you will at some point blow a fuse
At my old place, if I had my computer plugged in and tried to blow dry my hair at the same time, I would blow a fuse. Thank god the fuse box was in my room, very convenient.
I just asked my BF if he had anything to contribute to this list, so for all you bachelors out there, these tips might be helpful to you, or not.
Make sure to always have two types of beer in your fridge
So, if you have a guest come over, you don’t have to give them the good stuff.
Don’t get a fish as a pet
It will die shortly after you get it and then stink up your entire place.
Make sure your place has a real stove
Having just a hot plate to cook on sucks and is just sort of pathetic.