I’m Living Alone for the First Time, Here Are 3 Things I Didn’t Expect

Sangeeta Kocharekar

I never thought I’d live on my own. I had friends who lived on their own and I always felt lonely for them. I thought of them getting home from work, dropping their bags and kicking off their shoes and being completely and utterly alone. It sounded awful (and yes, as dramatic as I’m making it sound).

I, myself, had always lived with housemates. Over the last few years, I lived with them in a four-bedroom flat. And then, at the end of 2020, I moved into a two-bedder with a friend. But, after my friend moved out, and I had two not-so-ideal housemates in a row (that deserves another story), I found myself eager to try what I never thought I’d want: to live alone.

Once I made the decision, it all happened quickly. I found a great spot that ticked all my boxes: lots of natural sunlight, new, hardwood floors and, something I’d been wanting since I didn’t have one in my old place, a bathtub.

Even better, it was a five-minute walk from my old place, in the North Bondi suburb, Ben Buckler. So, not too much of a change from my old life.

I moved in February this year, and remember that first night well. All my furniture, clothes and boxes were spread across the apartment, and I suddenly realised: I didn’t have to apologise to anyone for it. Before I went to bed, I stood at my bedroom door, unsure if I should close it. Both were fleeting moments, but important ones because they were when it sunk in: I was finally living on my own.


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Now, nearly five months into my move, I thought I’d share what surprised me about living on my own, and how I feel about it all now, in the hopes that if you’re considering the move, too, you might get a better idea of what to expect and be able to better decide whether or not you’re actually ready to take the plunge.

It Took Ages to Get Set Up

The first thing that surprised me about moving in on my own, but is often true with moving generally, is that I had no idea how long it would take to get settled. And by that, I mean, how long it would be until I was completely unpacked and had all the furniture and homewares I needed. It took months. And that’s with many, many hours per day dedicated to selling old furniture that didn’t fit my new place and buying new pieces that did.

I also needed to figure out how to hang things — whether I’d use nails or the sticky hanging things — and where I should store things because my apartment doesn’t have any closets or cupboards (apart from in the kitchen).

It was overwhelming and seemed endless. But then a friend reminded me: this process is supposed to be fun. I was in a brand-new place, all on my own, and I could make it look exactly how I wanted it to. Why not enjoy it?

I Got Super Creative

This brings me to my next surprise. Once I reframed the chance to furnish an apartment as a positive, I started to get really creative with it.

I didn’t realise how enjoyable it would be to have complete control over a space and make it exactly the way I wanted it. When someone walked in the door (obviously that someone would mostly be me), what did I want them to feel? And what did I need, furniture and homeware-wise, to create that feeling? I pored through Instagram for inspiration, studying the details in homes interiors pics, and then would try to find pieces I wanted second-hand on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.


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I drew a lot of inspo from Scandi homes — minimalist and lots of white and neutral — but also wanted it to be beachy since I could see the sea from my place. While I love what I’ve created now, I also like the idea of constantly updating it and swapping pieces in and out (into the storage I eventually get, in the form of a bed with storage hidden inside it).

It Felt… Not That Different

Finally, I didn’t expect moving on my own to feel so… normal. As in, not all that different from previous living situations. That could’ve, of course, been the result of me living walking distance from most of my friends and generally being a social and active person.

Whatever the reason, living alone now just feels nice. In fact, I’d probably never go back to living with housemates – I enjoy it too much. Again, this from someone who, for years, shunned the idea. Funny how things change? And then end up really working out.

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