The life of a twenty-something is a bumbling and haphazard mess 90% of the time. Job hunting, grad school, moving out of chez mom and dad. You’re stretched thin in all directions and all you want is some literal direction in your so called life. As the baby of the family, I’ve watched three older siblings do the growing up thing. And now, as the 23 year old baby of the family, I guess I have to do the whole growing up thing myself. Gross.
So what comes with growing up? A big girl job, your own place, squeezing some time in for fun between binge eating or binge studying – that all sounds about right. For a big girl job you’re armed with your education or experience. For having some fun, you have your high school or college BFFs to schedule a GNO with. But your own place? A place that you need to pay rent for, furnish, AND do your own laundry in? Well, you’re gonna need a few things:
1) Stationary: From calendars and notebooks to agendas and business cards, stationary is a total must. You know how the life of a twenty-something is a bumbling, haphazard mess 90% of the time? That, my dear readers, is what the planner is for. The calendar, the to do list, the agenda – whatever you call it, is a twenty-something essential. Doctors appointments? Job interview? Date night with the SO? Drinks with the girls? Yeah, there’s a planner for that. Hang your calendar with pride wherever you can see it and take a stab at sitting down with a glass of wine and organizing your week. You will be amazed at how your days will open up once you begin utilizing the free space that you have in between work till four and cardio at 7 on Monday and Wednesday.
2) The Perfect Mattress: The first thing that my sister did when she moved into her own apartment was buy herself a queen sized bed. Okay, girl. I see you. Now, I don’t usually say this, but she had the right idea. There is nothing better than tucking into bed with a good book and Enya on your iPod after a long day. Get comfy cozy in your boyfriend’s shirt, throw on an overnight face mask, and snuggle up on your new mattress compliments of Casper. Breathable, lush, plush, springy, and supportive, you’ll be traveling to the land of nod in no time as soon as you get curled up on the mattress of your dreams. Just make sure to put mattress shopping with Casper on your to do list before dozing off tonight! 😉
3) Business Casual Wardrobe: This isn’t necessarily an apartment essential as much as it is a life essential. I think that it is so important for twenty-somethings to begin investing in business casual wardrobe staples. Whether your ideal job setting is laid back or totally formal, you still need something to wear to the interview, right? Start supplying your closet with sharp, chic pieces that scream “boss lady” as soon as you walk in the door. I’m talking pencil skirts, crisp button downs, trench coats, blazers, cardigans, and a smart pair of trousers.
When I began shopping for my job with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (which is about as business cashe as it gets), I gradually began making an effort to instill a more professional feel into my wardrobe. I hit up stores like Loft and Express for clothes that were unquestionably cute, but still looked put together and work place appropriate. Look for simple, well tailored pieces and let your accessories or a funky patterned cardi showcase your personality. There is no rule stating that business casual means boring!
4) Culinary Cool: One of the things that comes with moving out is not having a delicious meal prepped for you every day by the rents. I, personally, am a firm believer that everyone should have a basic understanding of cooking and finding your way around a kitchen. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this mindset with me, so cooking on your own might be a rude awakening to burnt pizzas or blowing a fortune on takeout every night.
BUT IT’S OKAY!! I promise. I absolutely love cooking and baking and my golden rule is that if you can read, you can cook. Go to the library or bookstore, snag some cook books (even if it is Making Eggs For Dummies!), and practice. Hit up your local Aldi’s or Save A Lot for ingredients, follow the directions, and you’ll have a meal that you made all by yourself in no time. I swear that it is not as daunting as it might seem and, within time, you might find yourself actually enjoying your meal preparations in your kitchen.
But, of course, you can’t cook without the proper tools. You don’t need to go overboard, but do invest in some quality but not too costly gear to help you out. Spatulas, measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowls, and a sheet pan for your pizza rolls will go a long way. And, like any well stocked arsenal, it doesn’t become that way over night. Pick up odds and ends for your kitchen every so often when you’re out and about and you’ll have all of the necessities before you know it.