So you’ve moved states and found a great new house to live in…with complete strangers. You may be in your mid-20s, but the idea of a mortgage in a new city is just too daunting and it’s always better to be in the company of other people, even strangers (you know… in case something happens) — and to be honest, you’ve been in so many potential housemate interviews, you just want to put your bags down and lie on the floor of what could potentially be the new room in your new house — any house — and sleep, only to wake up in the morning realizing that you’ve moved in with…new potential friends!
These are the nine things you must have to populate your space and mark your territory, to make living in your new environment exciting whilst making sure you’re asserting positive vibes that can allude to what we all as humans, crave, desire, cherish: a “relationship.”
1. Your own personal mug. It’s a necessity. Should you be a ludicrously rich university student, fancy and able, purchase a few of different designs so that you never, ever, have to use someone else’s mug (and possibly incur their wrath).
2. Your personal coffee making device. You’re not going to make living with strangers if you don’t bring your own unique way to make coffee in the morning. How do you expect to bond with your new housemates? What are you going to fill your coffee cups up with? Whether it’s the stove top, French press, Aeropress or that slow drip apparatus that will make you stand around in the kitchen for hours – make sure you own one. Don’t drink coffee? Buy a cheap French press so you look like you do! They’ll never accept you otherwise.
3. Tupperware. It really depends, you may be lucky enough to live with a fantastic housemate who owns several Tupperware boxes to store leftovers. If so, slowly but smoothly integrate yourself into the kitchen one Tupperware container at a time, first with non-staining foods like last night’s brown rice and when no opposition is heard, move in with the delicious, slow-cooked Bolognese sauce. If your housemate does disagree though, evict them.
4. A candle. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a house that does not smell like your home. Cats mark their territory with piss, but we humans — yes, even college students — are a lot more sophisticated. The integration of your smells could take days, it could take months, especially if it’s a combination of your washing detergent wafting through from the laundry mixed with your particular brand of shower gel and, most importantly, a scented candle put into the common living space.
5. Your own mattress. Now really, does this need to be explained? Unless you are living in some remote region where the purchase of a new mattress is beyond your financial means, BYO mattress. You’re an adult now, you want to impress your new housemates (read: potential friends). Nothing says “I’m an adult” like the look of you and your friend carrying a mattress up to your new room. First impressions count.
6. WiFi. We live in the 21st century people, now I hear you: “no, no, I like to switch off at nights, I don’t need the internet in the house.” Oh yes you do, my friend! I would know, I’ve done it. A house with no internet means late nights in the library, it means bonding over TV shows becomes so much harder and it means that the mutual sharing of “hilarious memes” will be impossible because the idea of crowding around your tiny iPhone screen is too exhausting after a day in the office/school. WiFi saves lives. It also means you’re not relying on your phone data plan and chewing it up on one of your late night google searches.
7. Headphones. You can thank me later and so will your housemates. It’s hard to gauge what your new living buddies are like. They may love noise or they may hate it. You may think you’re watching that movie/listening to music quietly in your room but you’re actually not — this is where headphones come in handy. Alternatively, it’s a polite way of telling your housemates, even when you’re in the common space to “Get lost” when you just need a little bit of downtime but want a change of scenery from the corkboard in your room.
8. A dressing gown. Because nothing says let’s be friends better than your mutual respect for someone’s fear of your nakedness. Yes, be naked and proud, maybe even drop into conversation one housemate dinner evening that you like to sleep naked — maybe over dessert. But keep that nakedness to yourselves (at least until a later date where your nakedness is deemed acceptable). One day, that naked dash you do in the morning from your room to the toilet is going to be seen by your beloved yet conservative housemate as he makes his coffee in his personal coffee-making device. It will be disastrous. Weeks of awkward silence will ensue, the coffee will be ruined, housemates 1 and 2 will whisper heatedly about who is going to tell you to put on a dressing gown, you’ll wonder whether they secretly enjoyed it and then kick yourself for even thinking about it. Do yourself a favor and purchase a fluffy dressing gown and savor those naked times for well…when naked times are appropriate, or even when they’re not, but not with your new living buddies.
9. Your own personal friend. BYO friend, friend. What impression are you going to make coming in with no personal friends of your own? Even if it’s that classmate you only met last week, coerce them into helping you move furniture so it at least looks like you have a friend. If you’ve just moved to the state, even better, nothing says “I’m actually normal” like a fellow stranger bringing in another fellow stranger, who first said stranger actually knows, into your new communal living space. It reassures your new housemates, that you are in fact, NOT a serial killer that they chose off the interweb and opens up space for more friendly dialogue and potential relationship building. Personally, I usually bring a big, tall, and strong friend who, although polite, unconsciously lays the groundwork for your new housemates, strangers, perhaps potential friends to err on the side of caution.
Purchase these simple items and you too will be on your way to heaven — and by heaven I mean, the joys of mutually respecting each other’s dirty habits and inability to clean up crumbs from the kitchen bench, but learning to love each other anyway, and maybe if you’re a real hipster, going for a communal bike ride together, around the lake, or sharing broccoli bought at the farmer’s markets.