Living alone is an entirely different experience than living with your parents, a roommate, or a significant other. When you live alone you quite literally have to handle everything on your own, and therefore there are certain things you need to know how to do by yourself. Sure, you could call your parents, a friend, or your S.O. to help you out — but you can’t do that every single time something goes wrong.
If you’re going to be independent enough to be living alone, then you need to be independent enough to tend to some things on your own. Unless it’s a major repair, like a broken washing machine or sparking AC unit, you shouldn’t need help.
1. Change a Lightbulb
Everyone should be able to purchase light bulbs and swap them out when they kaput, so the steps for unscrewing and screwing the bulb back in are pretty simple. However, you might run into trouble when it comes to reaching them. So be prepared for all eventualities by having a sturdy chair or step ladder handy so you can reach even the highest of lights.
2. Switch Out a Shower Head
Changing shower heads is actually super simple. All it takes is a new one, some pliers or a wrench, and the threading tape that should be provided in the package with your new showerhead. Sometimes showerheads end up grimy or you may want a simple upgrade (hello, six spray settings!). No matter the reason, you should know how to do this on your own. There will be directions included in the packaging, but in general, you use the pliers/wrench to remove the old shower head, remove the old threading tape, wrap new threading tape around the thread in the pipe, and screw the new shower head on, tightening it with the pliers/wrench when you can’t twist it on your own anymore.
Test the new shower head’s tightness by turning on the water. If there’s any water leakage, you’ll need to take the head off and redo it to get a better seal.
3. Mow the Lawn
Unless you’re living alone in an apartment or have the funds to pay for someone to mow it for you, you need to know how to mow the lawn on your own. It’s a messy, sweaty job, but it’s kind of unavoidable. It’s actually pretty simple, though. You just need to know how to turn on your lawnmower (which will be dependent on the type of lawnmower you own, but it’s not any harder than turning on a car), and push it across the grass. If you’re lucky enough to have a riding lawnmower, then it’s even easier. Just hit the gas and steer.
4. Decode the Laundry Tag on Clothes
The laundry tag inside your clothes is key to making sure those expensive threads last for a long time. Unfortunately, there are so many symbols that most people don’t understand what the tag is even saying. Here’s a quick and easy infographic to help you out.
5. Clean Your Coffee Maker
For some reason, most people don’t think to clean their coffee maker, and that’s a huge mistake. By not cleaning it, you open yourself up to all kinds of gross mold and mildew, which in turn can make you sick. So you have to clean it at least once a month, but I’d aim for once a week.
To clean it, fill the water chamber with equal parts water and white vinegar, place a filter in the maker, and turn it on until there’s half of the mixture left in the chamber. Let that sit for 30 minutes, and then turn it back on to finish brewing. When that’s done, empty the coffee pot, and run it again with plain water and a clean filter.
And just like that you’ve killed the gunk and germs hiding inside your coffee maker and can sip your caffeine in peace.
6. Flip the Breaker Box
If your power ever ends up off due to weather or whatever reason, you need to know how to get it back on if you can. Unless the damage is due to some power lines being down (in which case you’re S.O.L.), then you can usually get your power back by flipping the breaker.
Step one is to figure out where your breaker box is. Usually, it’s somewhere like in the laundry room or a closet. Then all you have to do is go check the breaker, figure out which switch is off and flip it back to the “On” position. This also works if there’s just one room or item (like the AC) that stops working for absolutely no reason.
Terra is an Arkansas-based writer who spends her free time obsessing over her planner, debating between working out or eating, and singing to her dog, Gatsby, even though he hates it. She also writes for Earn, Spend, Live blogs here.
Image via Unsplash