Living on your own for the first time can be both exciting and a bit scary. Here are 10 student hacks from The Student Housing Company to help simplify life away from home…
You’ve finally flown from the nest to go to university, and have started to feel like a fully fledged independent adult who is making their own way in the real world.
But there are certain things that have started to baffle and bewilder you, as you uncover more of the little things your parents must have done without you noticing or the luxuries that are no longer available in your student accommodation.
Follow our guide to making living away from home for the first time a simpler and more enjoyable experience:
1. The emergency stash
No matter how well you get along with the people you are living with, there should be no shame or guilt in keeping a secret stash of emergency goodies all to yourself in your room.
This is vastly easier with dry goods that can be ferreted away under your bed or your desk, but if there are items that are best kept cool place them at the bottom of your wardrobe to keep them out of sight and at a more palatable temperature.
2. Keeping drinks cool with limited fridge space
For a nifty summer trick, try filling your sink with cold water to cool your drinks for several hours before you start drinking. To achieve optimum results, regularly refresh the cold water to prevent it from becoming tepid.
3. Planning ahead
Over the course of your first few months living alone, you may have noticed that the key to an easy life is organisation. This largely applies to keeping your lecture notes in order, attending seminars and making sure you have clean pants. However, being an organised human being can also help you when you are blowing off steam on a night out.
If you have a tendency to get a little peckish after a night out but you are frequently less than able to alleviate that hunger without spending your precious pennies on a takeaway, then get your snacks ready for when you get home.
This can be as simple as putting a bag of microwavable rice next to the microwave or a pre-cooked pizza in the fridge waiting to be warmed up or eaten cold when you return. If this still seems like quite a lot of effort, pop snacks such as crisps and chocolate bars in your coat pockets or handbag to munch on the journey home.
4. Where are your keys?
They’re on your wall being kept safe by your handy tennis ball friend. This is a great trick for those who have a tendency to misplace essential items such as keys, vital documents and wallets. Simply cut a slit in a tennis ball and screw it to your notice board for a homemade and easy to spot organiser.
5. Homemade amplifier
If you frequently sleep through your alarm or you need some extra volume for a house party, pop your phone in a tumbler to immediately amplify the sound.
Alternatively, get a clearer sound when listening to music on your phone by cutting a slit in the lower quarter of a large fizzy drink bottle (make sure there is no errant liquid slopping around inside), and placing your phone inside speaker end first.
6. Save space
When you live in a tiny room all of your space needs to be utilised to maximum effect. Save space in your wardrobe by looping ring pulls from fizzy drink cans over the hooks of your hangers. You can then hang another hanger from the ring pull and immediately double the size of your wardrobe.
7. Cool down with a wet towel
The UK might only get a couple of steaming hot days each year, but when you are living in a small room with a window that probably doesn’t open very far, this heat can quickly make life exceedingly uncomfortable. Fight the humidity by hanging a damp towel over your open window for a make-shift air conditioning system.
8. Back up your work – a lot
There is nothing worse than getting to the library to print out an essay you have been slaving over for weeks, only to discover that you have left your USB at home and there is no time to retrieve it without missing your deadline. Make sure you save yourself from going prematurely grey with deadline stress by backing up your work.
Email your essay to both your university and your personal email addresses, and save your work on an external hard drive. It is vital that your work is as accessible as possible when you need it, and that it doesn’t get lost at the final hurdle. Remember to click Save As, don’t make the foolish error of saving a read only document that will vanish into the ether, and always print copies.
9. Keep your flip flops handy
Does your accommodation have a shared shower area? If so you might be less than keen to put your feet where so many others have been before; particularly if you are sharing your shower room with lots of people.
To avoid mingling foot hygiene habits, incorporate flip flops into your bathroom routine that you can slip on before heading into the shower room to protect your fungal-free feet.
10. Get that deposit back
You may have lived in your student accommodation for a couple of months already, but hopefully no damage has occurred that could risk your losing your deposit. If your room is still spick and span, take photographs of the flawless walls, wardrobe, desk, bathroom, carpets and lights to be retained as evidence for your inspection.
In the instance that there was already damage to the property when you arrived, be sure to take your evidence to the accommodation administration as soon as possible to record that it was there prior to your moving in.
Many students have gone before and learnt the expensive way that a deposit on student accommodation is an exceedingly difficult thing to retrieve, so be diligent, get that money back and avoid hefty fines.
Danielle Middleton is a digital content writer for The Student Housing Company, the providers of premier student accommodation throughout the UK in locations including London, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
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