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Five essentials for living alone for the first time

There comes a day when every student finds themselves in their very own place. Time for a fresh life of independence and self-discovery – of housemates, guests, and chores – it all starts with your own room!

I’ve compiled a list of 5 essentials you should watch out for to make your new place feel a little more like “capital ‘H’ – Home”. Let’s make sure that you have time to experience the rest of Groningen with a safe and cozy place to fall back on.

1. Make sure you’re warm


The Dutch weather is fierce and unpredictable. It doesn’t take long for you to feel like your little place in heaven lacks the basics when it comes to temperature control. Layers are your best friend. On the coldest and rainiest of days, it helps that you always have a way to keep warm without taking that extra hot shower.

Plaids, slippers, and a bathrobe. Trust me, sharing a place with fellow students or even friends is nothing like living with family. To keep some privacy, but still live in comfort and warmth – it always helps to have a layer that you can just throw on after waking up. Nobody will judge you for cooking eggs at 6 am with a tightly snug robe and puffy pink slippers.

Oh, and if you’re really getting a cold-spot in your bones, investing in a nice and thick carpet is always a good idea. Most heat escapes from the feet, after all. Self-care is the first step to a productive household.

2. No one ever does laundry on time


Laundry… Has it been two weeks since I’ve washed my clothes already? It’s Sunday and the neighbors are complaining – washing clothes at 12 am is really not the best way to make friends.

Remember, the washing machine works even when ‘you’ are busy. Say you ever decide to do some grocery shopping in the morning or are thinking of doing some work for a few hours. This is the perfect time to get rid of that pile of dirty clothes you’ve got lying around in your room. Come back and voilà – two jobs for the price of one! Pick an activity and let the machine do the rest.

Get a laundry basket. Not only will it save some space and give you a convenient hoop to practice your three-pointer, it’s also an extremely essential tool for making laundry a little bit more bearable once it’s done. Just don’t forget about the weather when you’re putting your clothes out to dry. Having a drying rack or even a small clothesline tied across your room is going to do wonders in fitting things in on those rainy days.



3. Groceries can get tedious


Take the time to learn where to get supplies. Groningen can be a little bit overbearing when it comes to goods and services. There are shops every which way you go and knowing the closest Albert Heijn, Jumbo or Lidl to get food from goes to great lengths to keep your time free for other activities.

Location, location, location. Picking out a spot that’s got the freshest ingredients or the most affordable items is important but doing the groceries can become tiring when you tend to look for supplies multiple times a week. Make sure the store is in between your home, work or university. Pick a place that’s got you covered for the essentials – condiments, cookery, even a few snacks if you’re treating yourself. Leave the nice stuff for when you go to the market. Taking the time to gather items for your precise diet is a lot more fun when you’ve got the essentials already taken care of. 



4. Where does trash go?


Buying things is great, but sometimes stuff has to leave your home as well. Where does it go? No one knows, believe me. But taking out the trash is a task you wouldn’t want to leave for the whims of faith. No one wants to save time for the messy stuff, but if you and your fellow household members work together in turn, a chore can turn into a rare but awarding occasion. Set up a calendar or make a schedule for trash-duty. Once a week should be enough!

Be aware that not all trash is the same. You don’t have to throw away your old papers and boxes in with the banana peels and spoiled food. Get a trash-can for your room and kitchen separate. Groningen takes recycling initiatives throughout the city, including glass, textile (clothes) and paper apart from your regular residual waste. The Groningen Municipality provides descriptions and locations to all of these.



5. Know your boundaries


When all is said and done, and you’re snuggled up in a blanket waiting for your favorite socks to dry with a cup of freshly bought coffee and old fliers safely stuffed in with the waste-paper – remember: a content landlord and happy housemates make the world go round. Know your limits and learn what you can do. Air out your room, clean after yourself in the kitchen and keep it on the quiet when the clock strikes 10 pm. No one wants to be set on curfew, but keeping a few boundaries is the only way you can get some peace and rest after a long day.


Your home is your castle, after all. Take care of it and it will take care of you!


Written by Jānis Lazda – PR Committee