Living away from home for the first time: help!

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
6 min read

Laundry detergent? Utility bills? Budgeting?

Living away from home for the first time can feel very intimidating and like there’s little to no information out there to guide you through your first few weeks out there in the big wide world. But we’re here to help you realise that in actual fact, it can be really fun being in control of your own life and gaining independence for the first time.

From doing your own grocery shopping, to having to budget and save money, to separating your dark wash from your white wash, there is a lot to think about and learn how to get to grips with. 

Whether you’re a student moving into halls, or you’ve got your first job and are renting for the first time, we hope these tips will help you find your way. 


If you've never had to manage your own money before, as well as factor in bills and rent, this can feel very stressful. Make sure you don't blow all your money in the first couple of weeks after moving out.

Check out our other article Top 5 money saving apps (and top tips) for a great range of apps that are free to download that can help you easily save money and track your spending easily! We also share some great tips for separating your money in a fun and easy way.

Cooking your own meals

We want to help you level up your pesto pasta to really tasty but still affordable meals that are super easy to cook. Finding recipes online is a great way of doing this, and there are a number of sites that post regular recipes that are tailored to young people. Our favourite is MOB Kitchen, who give you the ability to make your own free account, save recipes, and build shopping lists to make grocery shopping easier. They also publish regular articles with cooking and food tips directed at students and young professionals.

If you are a complete beginner, this article by BBC Good Food shares 25 skills every cook should know.

Don’t forget to make sure you have all the right utensils! 

When moving house for the first time everyone always forgets something. For a fully extensive list of utensils and equipment to remember, click here. Utensils/items that are most commonly forgotten but are extremely essential are:

  • A peeler 
  • A masher 
  • Tin opener
  • Oven gloves
  • Bottle opener (very important!)


Laundry is one of those things that can seem very complicated but in actual fact is quite simple.

Let's break it down:


Separate laundry into a white wash and a dark wash. Essentially what this means is that anything that ISN’T white (or creamy coloured/light grey), put in the dark wash. Believe me when I say that there is nothing worse than having a bright pink top stain all of your white underwear because you didn’t separate them properly. 


Check the label! The label on your clothes with the little symbols on is there for a reason. Read them to know what temperature to wash the item on, as well as if you need to hand wash or machine wash it. Click here for a full guide to laundry symbols. 


Check the machine thoroughly after each wash - even if you think you’ve collected everything - otherwise you may end up only have one half of a pair of socks.


Where should you put detergent? The answer depends on the type of detergent you’re using, which can range from powder, liquid or capsules. 

Powdered detergent usually goes in the detergent drawer of your washing machine which has the ‘II’ symbol. Liquid detergent depends on which detergent you’re using, but mostly it will go straight in the drum. 

How much detergent should you use? This again depends on the detergent type - it should tell you on the label on the detergent packaging to make life easier!

Capsules are probably the easiest way to wash your clothes, as it is pre-measured for you - just make sure to put the capsule in the drum of the washing machine and not the detergent drawer!

Housemate etiquette

If you’re living in a group with other housemates, this can be a very different experience to living with family or your parents/guardians. If you’re living with strangers, you’ll have to learn about each other and the way they operate in a house - how clean they are, if they are night owls or early birds, and how much they want to socialise. You’ll soon learn about their boundaries, and most importantly how to respect them

This might be knowing how loud to listen to music and the days of the week that maybe aren’t the best to invite people over to socialise (if they have an early morning lecture on a Monday for example). 

If you’re living with friends or people you know, you may find that you may find out things about them now that you’re under the same roof as them. You might not know it yet, but your best friend (and new housemate) might never wash up their dishes or tidy their bedroom, and confronting friends about this can be tricky.