A Place To Myself

March 10, 2021,
keywords: housing, grad life, non-academic

In a couple months, I’m moving out of my current residence and getting a place to myself. I’ve had roommates pretty much since the start of my undergrad, except for the first year of undergrad where I lived in a single-person dorm room, but had floormates. There’s a lot that I’m looking forward to. They largely fall into the categories of

  • having more space for myself,
  • not having to share space,
  • having more control over what happens to the space and objects/items in the space, and
  • cleanliness and peace and quite.

First and foremost, I am looking forward to not having to share fridge and pantry space!

  • I was not the first person who moved into my current residence, so I did not have “first dibs” on the pantry space. While I have been slowly able to carve out space for myself, there are a lot of things in my pantry that I do not have easy access to. Really looking forward to having easy access to all my utensils and spices.
  • There are some spaces that we share, such as space for plates, glasses, and cooking utensils. These spaces are either not organized the way I would have liked them to be, or look ugly from mismatched items. Looking forward to being able to dictate the organization.
  • We’ve had several roommates over the years and sometimes it is not clear who things belong to or if things belong to people who have left. There are two reasons why some of these have not been cleared out. Firstly, we keep items in case at least one person in the house might have use for them. Secondly, it is difficult to organize all the roommates together to figure out if the owner of an item has left the house. Looking forward to not having any useless items my cupboards. My cupboards! Just saying the phrase fills me with stress-free bliss!
  • Stress-free fridge space! There are two fridges in my current residence, and one of the fridges is dedicated to me and one of my roommates. The fridge has three shelves, the first one my roommates uses, the second one is mostly used by me, and the bottom shelf is shared between the two of us. There are also two crisper drawers, one used by me and the other used by my roommate. Even though it is with only one other person, sharing a fridge is stressful!
    • A year and a half ago, my roommate got a giant Brita filter which he installed on the second shelf. This was a bit of an invasion of my space. I didn’t say anything because there were no other good places to put it, but it is something that took up a third of my space! I am okay with temporarily having other people’s food in my shelf, but a permanent installation of something that I have no use for is just annoying.
    • There are also the semi-permanent items in the fridge/freezer that I find annoying. Like jars of jam in the fridge that are used at the rate of 1 spoon per year. If these belong to other people they are is annoying because they are taking up space. If these belong to me, I feel guilt from taking up space for long periods.
    • In the third shelf sometimes if there’s space for it, my roommate sometimes stores entire pots in the fridge instead of taking the food out and putting it in a Tupperware. This leaves very little space for me if I intend to use it. Plus a display of sheer laziness induces stress! The solution to this is to passive aggressively use up space in the third shelf so that there’s no space for large pots and pans in the fridge.
    • I like to use up a lot of freezer space. Luckily, my roommate does not use a lot of freezer space. But using up shared space causes stress too!
    • Some of this is very nitpicky, but tiny amounts of stress from everything does build up. Just because I can “suck it up” doesn’t mean I want to!

I’m also looking forward to having space for appliances. We currently have a lot of counter space, but it is shared between 5 people. Most of the housing I’ve been looking at has a lot less counter space, but the space will be all mine! There have been several situations where I have stopped myself from buying appliances because it would take up shared space. Every appliance that I have in the kitchen resulted in guilt from taking up shared space, and every appliance that others have in the kitchen that take up counter/pantry space is annoying. I’m looking forward to not having to worry about this.

Not having other people’s dishes in the sink or stovetop! Having a clean sink after I’m done with my dishes is just blissful! But it is rare to experience this when living with roommates. Most of the time there are still other people’s dishes in the sink after I’m done with my own. The worst is when there are large items like pots and pans in the sink - they get in the way of my doing my own dishes. We have sometimes had some really lazy roommates who never did their dishes!

Speaking of lazy roommates, younger roommates can be particularly troublesome. For example, if they had never taken out the trash in their own home, they might not realize that overfilling the trashcan can make it very difficult to take out the trash. Some are also not very good at using up their food before they rot or checking up on their food and throwing them out when they start to rot.

I’m also looking forward to not having to spend so much time in my bedroom. During the COVID pandemic, my bedroom is the only private space that I have. There are always people around in the shared spaces. Work, play, exercise, and rest all happen in my bedroom. Video meetings can have my bed in the background if the app does not support virtual backgrounds. If I want any private entertainment, e.g. Podcasts or YouTube, it has to be in my bedroom with headphones. I’m also hoping that I’ll require less headphone use in general, since I currently use headphones to both drown out distractions and for computer audio. When I move out, I should be able to just use my computer speakers without distracting anyone else.

Roommates being around when you need to be alone can also be stressful, and you can get randomly getting dragged into stressful situations by people around you. People being around can also make certain spaces uninviting. For example, I do not want to be in the living/dining room if there is someone having a zoom meeting there. People can also be loud sometimes. I’m looking forward to the peace and quite and am hoping to make every part of my home welcoming to me in my own way.

Another big thing that I’m looking forward to is having space for my family to crash over if necessary! I am the only person in the family who has a stable Canadian residence, the rest are in a state of flux in terms of living in Canada or living in Bangladesh. During the COVID pandemic there were several situations where I could have used space for the family! This has honestly been the some of the most stressful parts of the pandemic.

My rent is about to jump up by a lot! I’m also a little worried about loneliness - movie nights, hotpot, and other activities with my roommates are nice. There’s also the unknown, I’ve never lived by myself before! But I’m excited for my next adventure, even if it requires a significant number of sacrifices and compromises.