Nine Must-Haves for Starting Out On Your Own

Now that summer is coming to a close and students are heading back to school, there is an entire population of young people who are about to embark on the scariest adventure of their lives: starting out on their own. This first step into adulthood can be quite overwhelming and somewhat intimidating. And let’s face, there is no manual. There are no books of how-to’s and what-to-expect’s that cover everything you need to know to prepare you for the obligations and responsibilities of what adulthood holds. So as a follow up to my Letter to Myself at 18 Years Old, I am going to share my own personal list of must-haves for any young adult just starting out on their own.


In the Bedroom

First and foremost, because this new beginning can be a source of great anxiety, I cannot stress enough the importance of good, healthy sleep habits. (Check out this post that I published in February: What To Do When the Tired Sets In: Developing Healthier Sleep Habits.)

1. Invest in a quality mattress! Even if you can’t afford a good quality bed frame, put your money in the mattress. Seriously, you won’t regret it after a long, exciting day at that dream job you just landed when you climb into that soft pillowy haven of safety and get a good night’s rest. You can find some great mattress options right here. You can also follow Casper, a global sleep brand, on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

2. Some seriously soft bedding. High thread count is key for sheets. Nobody wants to sleep on rough scratchy sheets. In the interest of saving money, you can find good quality sheets and bedding at most discount retailers like Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Home Goods, and Ross Stores. I have even scored some pretty fabulous bedding at buy-out retailers like Big Lots and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Get two sets of sheets so you can still have your bed put together on laundry day!


In the Bathroom

3. A few good quality towels. I love a giant bath sheet that I can wrap up in with the most amount of coverage. Especially if you have roommates, you want full coverage as you walk from the bathroom to your bedroom. But probably grab yourself a nice fluffy bathrobe, too!

4. All the other bathroom accoutrements. Make it a happy and relaxing place with a bright and cheerful shower curtain and bathmat.  And remember the disposable liners and shower hooks. I like to change out my liners every few months as the soap scum starts to build on them. For only a few dollars apiece, it is worth the investment to have at least one back up stashed away in the closet.


In the Kitchen

5. A full set of dishes and silverware plus lots and lots of coffee cups! If you have a dishwasher, make sure you have enough coffee cups to get you by until the dishwasher is filled and has been run. Especially if you live alone. It takes a while to make enough dirty dishes to fill a dishwasher and there is nothing worse than running out of clean coffee cups when you need a caffeine fix!

6. A coffee maker with a timer. While you are adjusting to that new work schedule, you will want your coffee brewed when you walk into the kitchen on those mornings of early meetings. I absolutely hate waiting for the coffee to brew! I want to wake up to the sweet aroma of it already steaming in the pot.


In the Closet

7. Lots of organizational items! Put your closet together in such a way that it is neat and organized and easy to navigate. As you are adjusting to a new lifestyle, you don’t want to waste time digging through your closet looking for those killer pumps and power blazer that lose their impact if you are late for that important meeting.

8. A steamer. Never ever leave your house looking like you pulled your clothes off the floor! Nobody has time or space for an ironing board and iron anymore (although they are good to have on hand). Invest in a steamer. They heat up in about 30 seconds and de-wrinkle your clothes in about 2 minutes.


In a Drawer

9. A handy pair of scissors. This is probably the most important thing to have on hand in my experience! I will never forget when I got my very first apartment by myself at the age of 26 immediately following my divorce. I literally had to start over at that point. And as I arrived at my new apartment with a new sense of freedom and independence with all of my newly purchased home goods, so excited to start setting up my new home, there wasn’t a pair of scissors to be found. And I couldn’t open the packaging on a damn thing. For the sake of your own sanity and convenience, have a good sturdy pair of scissors with you on moving day!

There are lots more necessities and basics that you will need. Most are common sense, I think. So with my list of must-haves, I wish all of young folks out there much luck and success in this new adventure. The world is your oyster, my friends! Smile and seize the day!

Looking for more ideas for must-have purchases to start out on your own, check out these posts, too!

To all of my fabulous already-established readers, do you have any other tips to share with those young people just starting out? Share them in the comments!

Keeping it on the edge,


Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.


I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

22 Responses

  1. Ankita Bardhan

    Thank you for sharing this post Shelbee. I am very bad at organizing, I am embarrassed to admit it but I always had someone to take care of my belongings and keep it in place. Not a proud confession. But recently I will be moving out and living alone, this post is really handy for figuring things out cos’ I am pretty sure I will be overwhelmed!


    • Ankita, thanks so much for stopping by! I think we have all been in that place where someone else was taking care of our things. Isn’t that all part of the growing process? We learn as we go. You will be overwhelmed but you will be fine, I am sure. Be sure to check out the other posts that I linked for more tips and even check back here to see if others have shared valuable information in the comments! Good luck, my dear! The world is your oyster!


  2. Oh, what a lovely and definitely helpful article Shelbee! I am sure many young students will find it very useful.
    Wishing you a wonderful week!

  3. Thank you so much for linking one of my post! Everything you listed is so true! Great post!

  4. A vice nice post, Shelbee! I honestly wish I had this advice when I was 18. Honestly, looking back I was such a cocky person and I thought I knew everything when in reality I didn’t know a darn thing. I love the dress, by the way, it’s so exotic and reminds me of India.

    • Gigi, thank you so much! And weren’t we all the same at 18? Ignorant know-it-alls! Hahahaha. Seriously, I could have used some better advice on so many things at that age. But here we are…alive and well and rocking at life despite all of our dumb mistakes! Have a fabulous day, my friend.


  5. This is a good read Shelbee, with some great information. Jacqui

  6. What a great post! And of course, you look amazing in this outfit!


  7. Great post and tips Shelbee. I hate not having my scissors when I need them. Drives me mad! Thanks for sharing at The Wednesday Blog Hop.

    • Claire, thanks so much for reading! I keep scissors in the glove box of my car now…just in case! Because that is the worst when you need them and don’t have them. #scissorsareimportant


  8. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. You look great in that Indian inspired dress

  9. Love your dress! you look fabulous!

    Edwige |

  10. Shelbee, great advice and tips, especially the ones that speak to items for taking care of oneself like a quality mattress and nice-to-the-touch linens and towels. Thanks for sharing your post on my Fine-Whatever link up.


    • Rena, thanks so much for reading my little list! I remember my first mattress when I got out on my own was so incredibly comfortable and comforting! I hope you are having a great weekend.


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