8 essentials for your twenties… and beyond!


 1… Planner


Your planner doesn’t have to be a massive eighties-style Filofax. But by your twenties you will have to remember things for yourself, and if you have one place where you stick all your appointments and to-do lists at once you’ve got a much higher chance of not having to go to the dentist and the optician at the same time and forgetting that you are dog-sitting for a friend. You can use your phone, tablet, a diary… just something that is never far from you.

2… Email Addresses

We probably all have that email address that we gave to high school friends, and we’re probably all discovering that putting [email protected] on a job application form or when you’re registering at a doctor is getting you funny looks. But the hassle of trying to get all your old friends to pay attention to a change of email address is too much. Instead, make a new email address for things that are important, and keep one for personal communications. For a professional email address, it’s best to stick with your given name and as few numbers as possible (obviously the John Smiths of this world will struggle without them) so they remain identifiable as yours and easy to remember.

3… People to Talk To

  1. One who is good for work advice
  2. Someone who is great for a laugh and de-stressing session
  3. One person who is able to listen and give you reliable advice about major life stuff

4… Go-To Outfits

You don’t need much in your wardrobe. If you have something suitable for the four following scenarios, you’re pretty set:

  1. Formal events (funerals, job interviews)
  2. Stand-out fun events (dates, weddings)
  3. House clothes for workouts or slobbing around the house
  4. … and something fun for everyday

Having one complete outfit for each of those four categories (with the shoes, bags and other bits you need) means you’ll never need to rush out shopping when something unexpected comes up. And because work-out clothes double up well as lazy day clothes, you can easily convince unexpected guests you were doing sit-ups as well as watching box sets.

5… Recipes

Some people arrive at university knowing how to cook and serve a five course meal. Some arrive unable to boil an egg. By the time you hit your twenties, you want to have learned at leave five recipes.

  1. Something quick, cheap and comforting which you can make easily when you’re having a rough day (pasta recipes are an easy starting point here)
  2. Something you can make in bulk and freeze for days when food preparation is beyond you (vegan lentil curries, stews and pies can be made to a variety of tastes and taste just as good when they’re defrosted and cooked as fresh)
  3. Something more formal that you could serve on a date, a dinner party or when your parents are visiting. This doesn’t have to be a roast dinner. Investigate the kind of foods you order at restaurants until you find your signature dish. Maybe learn how to throw a steampunk dinner party and party like it’s 1899.
  4. A dessert. This could be as simple as a microwave mug cake or as fancy as a roulade. Perfect for times when you need a little sweetness or as a final course when people come over.
  5. Something light and healthy. From start to finish. It’s easier than you think to mix up your own salad dressing, chop up your greens and serve it on lazy summer days when you don’t want pasta again.

6… Parts of a First Aid Kit

  1. Plasters of a couple of different sizes
  2. Tweezers
  3. Painkillers
  4. Cold medicine
  5. Bite/sting relief cream
  6. Hot/cold packs

If you have nothing else in your first aid kit or bathroom cupboard, have these, because you aren’t going to have time to buy them when you need them. Check your kit on a regular basis to make sure everything is in a usable condition and hasn’t run out.

7… phone numbers

  1. Your doctor
  2. Your dentist
  3. Your optician
  4. A plumber
  5. An electrician
  6. A good taxi company
  7. A good local takeaway

Health care professionals’ numbers should be easy to access, even when your mobile is dead and the internet is playing up. You don’t want to wake up with a bug and then have to crawl around the house looking for the number to make an appointment to see your GP. Plumbers and electricians (or private landlords or housing associations if they are responsible for maintenance) are good numbers to have when you find there’s no light or you’re ankle deep in water. It’s always good to have a local and reliable taxi company number both on your mobile and near your home phone in case transport arrangements fall through. As for the takeaway, there will be days when your simple pasta recipe is too much effort or your entire swing class wants to come round for lunch.

8… DIY essential tools

  1. One standard screwdriver
  2. One Phillip’s screwdriver
  3. Spirit level
  4. Measuring tape
  5. Pliers
  6. Electrical tape
  7. Wire cutters
  8. Somewhere to keep them

There is no end to the small tasks that you might need tools for. Changing the batteries in your alarm clock, putting up a picture, measuring for new furniture…

If you’re going to try your hand at this ‘adult’ lark, you need to have things on hand when you need them.

Read next: How to survive your twenties

Main image: Kim Dasom, SISTAR