A year ago, my bedroom was commonly referred to as a floor-drobe. Now that I've moved out, and everything in the house is my responsibility, I can't leave for work in the morning without a made bed and a spotless place.
Hindsight is a funny thing and, as much as I hate to admit it, most of the house rules I ignored or was keen to kick once I moved out of home are still hanging around. Surprise, surprise, Mum was actually right. Independent living has given me a brand new appreciation for what it takes to keep things clean, tidy, on budget and under control.
The smallest things make a big difference, and suddenly I find myself unable to relax and wind down until all the important house tasks are done.
Here are all the house rules I constantly ignored or rolled my eyes at, only to live by them now:
Wipe down the stove and the splashback after every single cook
Mum was insistent that every time we used the stove it was to be wiped down along with the tiled splashback. Of course, I always wiped up big messes (I'm not an animal), but making sure the oil and general splatter was gone wasn't as important until now.
A splashback that is free from a build-up of dirt and grease is a great way to keep our property manager happy come rental inspection day. Doing this basically eliminates the need for any chemical concoctions designed to break down the damage on your stove top.
Take your shoes off at the door
Holding a social event at my parents' house as a teenager would always come with the warning "please, please take your shoes off". My parents didn't have many rules, but this was a biggy for them.
Now with floorboards myself that you can see both scratches and dirt on, I love it when people kick their shoes off. I won't ask – I'm not there yet, but it's definitely appreciated.
Turn the lights off
This one might go without saying, but nothing really prepares you for your first power bill. While I was always switching lights off behind me when I lived with my parents, there is never any forgetting when you're paying your own bill. I also will flick the toaster and kettle off after breakfast is done – as Mum always says, it all adds up!
It's not nearly cold or hot enough for the split system to be on
Don't tell my Mum, but when I lived at home I would use the aircon and the heater when they were really, really not needed. I'm talking as liberally as when I needed to cool down after a run. When you move out, you quickly change your tune. At my place, the aircon is reserved for almost unbearable heat and the heater has yet to be turned on. Those power bills …
Leaving the dishes to "soak" is a bad idea
You know you're not soaking them, I know I'm not soaking them. You're just delaying the inevitable by not washing them on the spot, and morning dishes are way worse than after-dinner dishes. Just do the dishes.
Eat what's in the fridge
So, as it turns out, the rumours are true. There actually IS food in the fridge. Discovering the sting of keeping yourself fed means understanding why your mum made you pass up the takeaway and opt for something at home.