Thursday, February 11, 2016

9 Things Every 20-Something Household Needs

Adult life can creep up on us, and if you're unprepared it can be a bit scary. After spending so many years being taken care of by our parents, our teachers, our older-but-so-cool friends and so-on, we all eventually have to start fending for ourselves.

There's a popular fear among a lot of '20-somethings' that they don't know how to be an adult. Guess what?

No one does. We're all just faking it until we 'make it'- whenever that may be.

You can't learn everything about being an adult from a blog post. Obviously. But you can learn a few things that will make your transition from moody teen to totally-chill co-ed to actual functioning adult a little easier.

1. Emergency Comfort Food

I don't care if it's homemade mac n' cheese in the freezer or a can of Chef Boyardee stashed in the cupboard- at some point, you're going to need emergency comfort food. Maybe your grandpa died and you can't bring yourself to cook anything, or perhaps a close friend got her heart broken and all you can do to comfort her is to feed her. Whatever the case, you'll be grateful to not have to scramble for a meal. Next time you make a bunch of chili or a yummy stick-to-your-ribs stew, freeze a portion for a later date. Or, ya know- take advantage of the 10-for-$10 sale on Kraft when you're at the grocery store.

2. Kitchen Essentials

This is a broad category, and will vary greatly depending on your culinary ambitions and frequency to entertain. We'll keep it basic- no dried porcinis or sherry required. We're also not going to include perishables, since those things usually require meal planning. With that being said, a 20-something kitchen should include: pantry staples (flour, sugar, baking soda/powder), spices (at least whatever you use most frequently, and perhaps some powdered chicken/beef stock), a good chef's knife (a cheap one can be dangerous), a large cutting boardsteak knives, wine glasses (for wine, obviously, but also to dress up a dinner party- serve water, lemonade, sangria, heck- even milk if you're so inclined), a cork screwa bottle openera coffee maker (if you're not a coffee drinking, a french press/grinder for your guests is a good idea- plus, a grinder has many uses!), spatula/whisk/rubber scraper (I recommend a plastic spatula to prevent scraping dishes, but a metal whisk for function), a good quality frying pan (non-stick is easy to come by, but a good cast iron or stainless steel for searing steaks/creating crusts is a blessing), mixing bowls (of various sizes), measuring cups/spoons (metal will last the longest- plastic can crack), good quality baking sheet (cheap ones warp and get nasty real fast), 9x13 pan/8x8 pan (I recommend glass Pyrex), food storage (I like Pyrex again for this since it won't stain, but plastic tupperware works just fine too).

3. Contraception 

Unless you are actively ready and trying for a baby, it's a good idea to have some kind of contraceptive in your household- birth control, condoms, the ol' diaphragm....just have something around so that you don't need to worry about changing your yoga room into a nursery. At least for the time being.

4. Household Basics

These are the things you don't think about until you need them. Depending on your level of preparedness (and how much you shop in bulk), this list could include the following: batteries, light bulbs, a plunger, stamps, fire extinguisher (kept up to date!), flashlight, needle and thread (for when that button pops off right as you're about to head out the door), tape (duct tape and scotch tape), cleaning supplies (multi-surface spray is a godsend, as are Lysol/Clorox wipes for bathroom cleaning. Other items include toilet bowl cleaner, laundry soap, dish soap, a vacuum, a broom, something to wash floors with and deodorizing spray)

5. Medicine Cabinet Basics

When I moved into my first apartment, my darling husband (boyfriend at the time) ended up with a small cut on his finger. I dashed off to the medicine cabinet, only to find I had never thought to buy band-aids. I was mortified. My boyfriend was going to bleed to death because I didn't think to spring for first aid 101 essentials. Luckily, it was only a little nick and he recovered quickly. After that, I vowed to keep a well stocked medicine cabinet. This may vary for you, but my basics include: band-aids/first aid kit, good tweezers, antibiotic ointment, antihistamines, cold medicine (night and day), pain reliever (both types: acetaminophen and aspirin), tampons/pads, nail clippers, acne spot treatment, Pepto, Tums, Calamine/anti-itch lotion. 

6. Renters Insurance

If you're still renting, be sure to find a good renters insurance policy. Most places will require you to have renters insurance in order to rent from them, but some smaller/private rents may not mention it. You should be able to find a good policy for only $10-$15 a month, and it's totally worth it. You should be able to carry the same policy with you wherever you move, so make that phone call TODAY.

7. Luggage

It doesn't have to be fancy, but you should have at least 2 pieces of luggage (one smallish carry-on style, one large suitcase) that you can use. My best recommendation is to make sure both sizes have wheels (believe me- that duffel bag gets really heavy when you have to lug it around the airport for 3 hours), and that both pieces are easily recognizable when it comes to baggage claim. Either spring for the leopard print bag, or tie some bright ribbon on your standard black suitcase.

8. Regional Necessities

This will vary depending on where you live regionally, and also the type of housing you have. Here in Minnesota, this category would include things like a shovel, sidewalk salt, a winter survival car kit and a car scraper. Other regions will vary- things like a bad-weather survival bag, extra water, a chainsaw (for yard clean-up after a storm), a good fan (in case the air-conditioning goes out in the middle of a heat wave), or even bear mace might be in order.

*If you've been in apartment or some other communal living situation and have just moved into a home, I recommend you really take inventory regarding what 'outdoor' items you'll need. It's best to have a shovel before the snow storm hits- if you catch my drift.

9. Non-Electronic Entertainment

Sometimes you just need to 'un-plug'. Of course, if the power goes out and the battery on your phone/tablet/laptop is drained, you may have no choice but to enjoy some good ol' fashioned fun. Cards, board games, a few good books- whatever you think might make a 12-hour power outage go by a little faster.

So that's it! If you have any other recommendations, comment below. I'm sure a 20-something out there will be thankful for the in-put, present company included.

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