9 things that make living alone so much easier
After moving on my own, these have helped me feel less lonely.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
For most of my life, I’ve lived with other people. Growing up, I lived with my parents and older sister, along with our three dogs. In college, I went from having a single roommate to having five. When I moved to New York City post-grad to start my career, I had a roommate in each of my apartments. But, after five years and three apartments in my city of dreams, I knew it was time for a change—and not just in location, but space, too. And so, I made the life-changing decision to move back to the D.C. area and into my very own apartment.
Since leaving New York was a big decision for me, I knew that my new apartment had to be my own personal oasis. The first step in creating such was to find a space that fit my needs. After moving into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,200-square-foot apartment—yes, that space is all for me—the next step was getting a few things that would make the transition to living alone easier.
Things like a new furry pal, some smart assistants, and an incredible vacuum have really helped me manage living alone—especially amidst a pandemic. Knowing that I’m not the only single gal in the world, read on to discover my top nine must-haves for folks living alone.
1. A precious pup
Adopting a pup is easily one of the greatest things anyone could ever do. After religiously searching rescue and adoption sites for six months, I finally made it through the adoption interview and house tour. I met my little Cash Monkey the next night, had a momentary freak out about whether or not I could handle being a single pet parent, then went back the next morning and adopted him. It’s the best decision I have ever made—even though he’s not potty trained and he can be an absolute hooligan. His feisty personality, adorable appearance, and attachment to me make him the absolute best companion—particularly for those living alone.
I found the best way to find pups up for adoption is to follow your local animal shelters and rescue organizations and to set notifications for when they post a new pet. It might take a while to find exactly what you’re looking for (if you have a specific breed or coloring in mind, that is,) but the feeling of rescuing a little baby angel will make it well worth the wait.
It’s worth mentioning that adoption agencies and rescue organizations work fast. You could very well start the week not knowing you’ll have a precious pup of your own by Friday (hi, it happened to me!). With that in mind, as soon as you see a dog that you’re fond of, start preparing. One of the most useful items you can buy is an exercise pen (also known as an x-pen). These adjustable playpens will help you create a safe space for your puppy to play during the moments when you can’t focus on them 100%. I have this one from Zeny and it has saved me from not being completely distracted while working from home.
2. A smart speaker—or a few
I might just be Alexa’s biggest fan. I have an Echo Dot in my guest bedroom, Echo in my kitchen, Echo Show 8 in my bedroom, and an Alexa-enabled SimpleHuman mirror in my bathroom. And let me tell you, they’re the best. Anytime you want to play music, learn new facts, play pranks on your nephews (Echos can make announcements from room to room—did you know?), or know about the weather without checking your phone, just ask Alexa and she’s got you covered.
As much as I adore all of my Echos, my Echo Show 8 is without a doubt my fave. In addition to all the regular Alexa capabilities, you can also make video calls using its large 8-inch screen, search the web, stream your favorite shows and movies, turn it into a digital picture frame, and set it up as a sunrise-mimicking alarm clock. It’s pretty much the smart assistant I never knew I needed. In other words, what are you waiting for?
3. A cozy (and chic) weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are all the rage during a time when so many people have faced more stress than ever before in their lives. They supposedly reduce anxiety and promote deeper sleep, making these blankets fantastic for creating cozy, safe-feeling sleeping spaces—especially for folks who live alone.
While it’s not the best weighted blanket we’ve ever tested, I still adore the ones from Bearaby. I own the Bearaby Velvet Napper, as well as the Cotton Napper. Where the Velvet Napper is plush and soft, the Cotton Napper is cool and smooth. Because of this, I prefer the Velvet Napper in winter, spring, and most of fall, and the Cotton Napper in the warmer days of spring and all of summer. A girl likes to have options. But, be warned: Once you start sleeping under one of these blankets, you’ll feel absolutely naked without it at night.
4. An incredibly comfy couch
Living alone can sometimes be lonely. Because of this, creating a space that’s filled with comfort and your own personal aesthetic makes things feel cozier. After all, one of the best parts about living alone is that you can finally curate your dream home without a second thought on what your roommate or partner might think.
When I signed my lease for my new apartment and officially embarked on single living, I kept this in mind. As such, my very first purchase for my new home was my dream couch—Article’s Sven Sectional in Grass Green. She’s a beaut. Beyond her looks, she’s incredibly comfortable. With deep seats and super-soft velvet upholstery, this sofa is just about as inviting as it gets. Plus, it’s a whopping 100 inches long, so there’s plenty of room to share when guests do come over (post-Covid, that is). It also serves as the ultimate backdrop for just about any photo opp, not to mention the coziest workspace, so it’s technically triple-purpose.
5. A massager that rubs your feet and calves
One of the benefits of having a partner is having someone to give you massages. But thanks to technology, you don’t need another person to get a sole-soothing rub down. Just stock your singledom home with a HoMedics Rolling Foot and Calf Massager. This plug-in device is admittedly a bit bulky, but you can place it at the edge of your couch or chair and indulge in a tension-relieving massage without another soul in sight. The deep-kneading device features low, medium, and high intensities, as well as four massage programs and it’s very much changed my life after a long day.
6. A set of sun-mimicking, sleep-boosting bedside lights
The Casper Glow Light is a sun-mimicking cylindrical light that can be programmed to set and rise with the sun and, if you have two, you can program them to sync across your room. Even if you don’t fall asleep and get up with the sun, the light will gradually dim and brighten your room the way nature intended. It’s a much better wake-up call than any partner will be. But that’s not all. These lamps don’t have any annoying turn-knobs or pull-down switches. Instead, you just flip them over to turn them on or off, and twist them right or left to dim or brighten them.
If you don’t want the full dimming process to take place (they’re designed to dim to complete darkness over 30, 60, and 90-minute intervals), you can press the inconspicuous button on top or bottom to pause the process. Plus, if you just need a glimmer of light to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, grab a midnight snack, or check on your pup in the dark, just give your light a little shake and it will brighten just enough to illuminate your way without wreaking havoc on your eyes or your sleep cycle. Pretty cool, right?
7. A disco ball for a party of one
The most practical? Perhaps not. But, then again, some would say that living alone isn’t practical, either. The thing about a disco ball is that it adds a retro, whimsical flair to your home that will make you smile literally anytime you see it. Whether you have it sitting by a window reflecting the day’s natural glow or on your kitchen counter reflecting overhead spotlighting, the shimmers it throws will cast your home in a whole new light. It’s an instant mood boost and this 8-inch one from Etsy is the perfect size and easy enough for one person to hang.
Psst! It’s available in a bunch of other sizes, too.
8. A step stool for those high shelves
Now, on the more practical side: a folding step stool. Not the most glamorous, but undeniably convenient, a folding, three-step step ladder will ensure that you can reach even the highest cabinets in your kitchen and shelves in your closets and laundry room. It also comes in handy in the event you ever need to shut off a smoke alarm because, hey, it happens.
The ultimate stepping stool is one that can withstand an ample amount of weight—350 to 500 pounds is ideal—like this one from KingSo. That way it won’t come crashing down from under you when you’re putting away heavy kitchen appliances or hanging decorations. It also folds away easily for storing when it’s not in use.
9. An incredible vacuum cleaner
I knew I had reached peak adulting when I got excited about getting a new vacuum cleaner. But hear me out. The Dyson V11 Torque Drive is an incredible cord-free vacuum that comes with three different cleaning attachments, as well as a wall-mounted charging dock. It automatically adjusts from tiles to hardwood to carpet and tells you exactly how much run time you have for each, which is why we also named it our favorite cordless vacuum cleaner. As a result, it takes the stress out of cleaning by yourself, whether it’s floors, upholstery, baseboards, vents, car seats, or whatever else. I am wholeheartedly obsessed.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.