9 Things to Do When Your Roommates Go Out of Town

When I considered where to move from my last apartment, I briefly thought about living alone. I’ve always had at least two roommates, and over the years I’ve grown used to the sweet moments in a shared space: chatting over the cutting board, exchanging recipes, trying each other’s food (or more accurately: me, shamelessly mooching my roommates’ food). Plopping down on each other’s beds, going over our days, wondering out loud what our next phases will bring. Mixing cocktails, sharing songs, taking walks through the neighborhood. Commiserating over our landlord’s good intentions yet awful execution. Experiencing our first Chicago apartment, together.

Home alone
The idea of living alone and coming home to an empty apartment seemed like just that…empty. Despite that, something about the idea kept tempting me. In my own place, I would be able to decorate however I wanted, read/run/work/blog with no distractions, leave the dishes in the sink for a couple days with no one to judge me (Jim would probably encourage that behavior). I would experience complete independence, an idea as exhilarating as it was scary.

My extroverted side won out in the end, as did my budget, and I love my three-bedroom apartment and my two dear roommates. So when they told me that they were both going out of town for two weeks, all of those fears about living alone popped back up. The apartment was going to be so lonely! What would I do when I came home from work to an empty place, night after night?

Well friends, I have the answer. After spending two lazy, messy weeks on my own, I learned that there are quite a few perks to living alone…

9 Things to Do When Your Roommates Go Out of Town

  1. Enact a formal ban on pants. Flowing west African boubous or bust.
  2. Cook all the things! I made a lot of baba ghanoush and some very tasty breakfast rolls with scrambled egg wrapped in nori (seaweed sheets).
  3. Wash none of the dishes.
  4. Spread all your bills, letters and receipts on every available surface in hopes that you will be productive, but then…
  5. …take a nap in the living room with the sole air conditioner blowing on your face.
  6. Marathon-watch Pretty Little Liars. 
  7. Take as many Instagram pictures of inanimate objects as possible. Colorful pens? Check. Container garden? On it. Delightfully garnished cocktail? Oh yeah. No witnesses, no judgment.
  8. Tell yourself that you’ll make good use of this time to clean, decorate and make healthy habits. Journal about how great this time will be and all the nice things you’re going to do for yourself.
  9. Laugh and get takeout instead.

Of course, an honest #10 would be, “miss your roommates, at least a little.” Because what I’ve found is that, while I love my space and my free time to run around with no pants on, people are the main reason that my house feels like a home. I’m glad to have them back…even if that means I have to wash the dishes.

What about you–what do you like or dislike about your living situation? Have you ever lived alone?

  • http://www.alissaerin.blogspot.com Liss

    I’ve been living alone for a little over a year, and I can say I pretty much do all of these on a weekly basis! Especially numbers 9 and 10 :) I found that I need to leave my house in order to get any writing done, because Netflix is always calling my name when I’m home.

    I was nervous about living alone at first, but I’ve come to love it. I don’t think I could have roommates (unless it was a boyfriend/husband). Funny how you just get used to your surroundings!

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      It’s definitely an adaptive thing…I am always surprised by what we can get used to. I am trying very hard to establish certain places in the house that are “writing places” vs. “relaxing places”…writing does not happen on the couch in front of the TV!

  • http://blakeseverydayadventures.com Blake G

    Roommates has always been a weird situation with me (and maybe I’m to blame?), My roommate in the college dorm NEVER talked to me. Like ever. It was living in awkward silence for a year. Then my roommate in my college apartment kind of talked to me, but we never became friends. We would just say hello to each other when we passed by each other. We never hung out in the kitchen or living room or anything! Then finally I moved in with my sister and another friend, and I had a normal roommate situation for one year. Now I live with my boyfriend, and he makes a pretty good roommate because he’s really tidy and cleans up after me half of the time!

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Oh man, I wish I could find a roommate who cleaned up after me! Roommates do change your experience of a place. I’m glad you had better roommates after those experiences in college!

  • Katherine Lacabe

    My roommate is my husband… I need to make a list like this about when he goes out of town!

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Yes! It’s fun to take over a shared space and just do whatever you want, even if it’s as tame as unwashed dishes and dance parties.

  • Betsy

    I’m terrible about washing the dishes when my husband is out of town. Although it always comes back to bite you in the butt since then there is a TON to wash haha.

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      YUP! I spent a lot of time in front of the sink right before they got back, haha.

  • http://www.thistooisfoundhere.blogspot.com/ Kari Holtkamp

    I love it when I have the place to myself, but then I also like knowing my husband will be home so it doesn’t get too lonely. It makes that alone time extra special. I totally hear you about watching all the TV you want and not having anyone raise their eyebrows at what you’re doing:)

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Yes, absolutely. I think the reason I liked being roommate-less so much this time was that I knew, in the end, I would still have roommates.

  • http://belongwithwildflowers.com/ Caitlin

    I’ve lived alone several times before + I always loved it… but I’m also very introverted so it fit my style. I think whether we live alone or with others, there will always be pros/cons.

    “Enact a formal ban on pants. Flowing west African boubous or bust.” — Best tip ever! When I lived with roommates + they would go out of town, the first thing I implemented was the ‘no bra zone’. It was fantastic + freeing haha. I hope you enjoy the time alone :)

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      YES! So much fun. I had a great two weeks; now we’re all back in town though and it’s just as great in different ways. :)

  • http://www.paperswallowevents.com/blog Stacia

    I am so thankful for the time that I spent living with roommates before I got married. I feel like it made the transition to moving in with my husband so much easier – we were both already used to sharing our spaces with others and talking about what does and does not bother us about the others household habits in polite ways. Now whenever he is gone for the night (hello all of our friends getting married and overnight bachelor parties by the ton) I hardly know what to do with myself. haha.

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      That’s a good point. I’ve learned to accommodate a lot of different living styles and to compromise, and I think that will definitely help when it comes time to move in with one partner!

  • http://www.thehungrygoat.net Ktcyril

    I love love love living alone. I can keep my apartment as messy as I want (clean, but messy), blast my musical mix at all hours of the day and night and, the best, naked time all the time :)

    Just kidding. Kind of.

    There are times I miss having an extra person or two with me but I can’t imagine going back to having roommates.

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Hahaha. “Clean but messy” is my jam. Like, I know where everything is and the dishes never get TOO gross…but I’m relaxed about all that stuff.

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  • http://longdrivejourney.com Amy @ Long Drive Journey

    I LOVED living alone. The best part is that you can put something somewhere and there is NO ONE there to move it. Amazing. That being said, I decided that I wanted to get a roommate in Chicago, and so in a few weeks I will go from living completely alone to living with someone I’ve not actually met in person. Not sure if I am incredibly brave or incredibly stupid, but from what I can tell, I really like her! I think being home for the summer with my parents was a good way to ease back into living with other people.

    • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

      Absolutely. I always find it interesting to go home to my parents’ house after living alone. It’s an adjustment to go from your own rules and the way you manage your household to seeing, with new eyes, the way your parents do so. I hope you’re enjoying your new apartment and roomie!