How to look after yourself (and your home)

In case you need it, here’s a list of all the must-do’s in a household.

This can help if:

  • you’ve just moved out of home

  • you’re about to move out of home

  • you aren’t sure what’s involved with looking after a house.

Girl with recycling box


Everyone has their own cleanliness standards, but if you're looking for some guidance, try the following and see if it works for you.


  • For regular kitchen maintenance, it’s recommended that you wash dishes, pots and pans within 24 hours of using them. This will prevent food from becoming glued to the surface and impossible to get off. It also makes you less likely to get mice and cockroaches coming over for a midnight snack.

  • Wipe the bench in the kitchen each time you use it. It will keep it hygienic.

Once a week:

  • Do a basic pick-up and put-away. Put anything that’s been lying on the floor, or that might get in the way of you cleaning properly, somewhere like a cupboard or a drawer.

  • Wipe down all the surfaces. Depending on where you live and whose turn it is to clean, this might include kitchen benches, bathroom surfaces, desks and tables, window sills, etc.

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to clean up all the stuff on the floor. This is particularly helpful anywhere people have been eating, such as the kitchen, dining room and living room.

  • Mop the floor in the kitchen and bathroom, where the floor can get sticky.

  • Wash your towels – hand towels, bath towels, bath mats. Anything towel-like should be washed every week to keep it fungus (and smell) free.


If you haven't done your own laundry before, it can be difficult to know the best way to clean your clothes without shrinking them or turning a white T-shirt pink. The best way to avoid washing disasters is to check the tags. They’ll tell you whether an item can go in the washing machine (some stuff can only be dry cleaned) and at what temperature for best results. Stuff to remember:

  • Cold washes are the safest option if you can’t find the tag. The warmer the water, the more likely it is to shrink your clothes.

  • Don’t mix coloured clothing and white clothing. Separate them into two separate wash loads to prevent your white things turning multicoloured.

  • Try to air dry your stuff, if possible. Dryers are great in crap weather or if you don’t have an outside space in your house, but clothes will last longer and are less likely to shrink if you air dry them.

  • Wash your sheets every fortnightly to keep bed bugs and other nasties away.


When you first live away from home, frozen pizza, spaghetti hoops and two-minute noodles can be a tempting alternative to a proper cooked meal, but we would recommend not making these your staple diet.

It’s actually a much cheaper – and tastier – option to cook food from scratch. Include plenty of fresh vegies and fruit in your diet, along with wholegrains and lean protein. If you don't know any recipes or are looking to branch out, it’s worth checking out recipe sites online (try, or or buying a cook book such as one by Jamie Oliver.

Remember, these things take time

Don’t stress if you’re not great at any of this stuff straight away. It takes a while to get used to, and no one feels confident about the day-to-day stuff when they first leave home. It’s normal to make mistakes while you’re learning. But if you really feel like you can’t get a handle on things, it might be worth asking someone you trust for some advice.

What can I do now?

  • Share this tip sheet with your housemates.

  • Learn more about moving out of home.

  • Hop on to the ReachOut Forums and talk to others about their experiences.