Making a home after leaving home

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I never thought I would see the day when I got excited to unwrap cleaning supplies, a toaster, hand soap and kitchen utensils for Christmas. I never thought that, three months from my birthday, I would be asking for my gift to be a kitchen table.

But, that day arrived last month.

I spent the last few weeks of December packing up my belongings and moving out of my roommates’ (OK, my parents’) house.

In my brief time in my cute little apartment, I’ve learned a lot about living alone.

In 22 years, I was able to acquire a great deal of things. I wish that I had acquired more practical things, like dishes, an iron and a vacuum. But instead I collected:

• Five giant Rubbermaid totes packed with books.
• One laundry basket overflowing with books.
• A tall stack of books on my nightstand.
• Three large boxes filled with shoes.
• An entire box filled with picture frames.
• More than two dozen dresses.
• Two dressers filled with an assortment of clothes plus clothes from my closet.
• Dozens of un-matched wine glasses.

I have been reminded of just how tall cupboards and shelves tend to be (or just how short I am). I am now quite dependent on my little stepstool. However, it works to my advantage that I can leave cupboard doors open while putting dishes away and not worry about bumping my head. I’ve quickly learned to store items I need more frequently on the lower shelves.

I love cleaning. In fact, it’s become a bit of an obsession. After almost a month, I’m finally feeling like things are clean enough. I love scrubbing my bathroom floor, and dusting anything and everything. I felt great satisfaction after uprooting a decent sized family of dust bunnies from the top of my cupboards.

Since I live in a land of many mirrors, I’ve become incredibly obsessed with Windex-ing them. The streaks on my three mirrored closets and five mirrors in the bathroom will forever drive me crazy, so, if you have any tips, send them my way. When I’m not busy cleaning the mirrors, I’m busy being startled by my own reflection around every corner.

One luxury I’ve given up is a dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand isn’t as bad as it initially seemed.

In my first four days there, I met with three maintenance workers. The first worker was there to fix my heat, which wasn’t fully working. And of course that happened on what were quite possibly the coldest days of the year. Restoring heat to my place took a solid three days and two different maintenance workers. Then, I decided to get cable and Internet. But, of course, some sort of something that gives me the magical Internet powers is old and needs replaced. So I once again saw two different maintenance workers for the same problem.

It took a while to get used to all of the new sounds, especially the traffic on two busy streets that the building is situated on the corner of.

While I’m loving living alone, my parents are still adjusting. Every time I talk to my mother she asks if “I hate it and want to move back yet.” Every time the answer is “no and no.”

Sorry, mom.

But when I went back to visit this weekend, I found that they’re starting to move on ­— by raising a plant and tracking its growth with a post-it note.

This article was published in the Bellevue Leader and Papillion Times newspapers.

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