Moving out for the first time is an emotional rollercoaster that twists ruthlessly between joy and horror, massive excitement and deep anxiety. It’s all good when you’re thinking of having no one around to tell you what to do, but then thoughts like ‘Where do I buy light bulbs’ and ‘Do these look like termites to you?’ start to sneak in. Indeed, moving out of your parents’ house is a major life change, with lots of steps and details to consider- this guide is designed to alleviate the stress and dissolve the mystery of the First Ever Move.
1. Get your finances in order
While you’ve been living at home, you probably had at least some kind of financial safety net. Now that you’re heading out on your own you need to have a better understanding of what a budget is and how it works. Consider your monthly income, and find out what your average monthly expenses are. Start by listing the non-negotiable payments like your car, groceries, phone bill, and so on. From there you can break down what you’ll need and how much you can afford and want to spend on rent. Plan your budget for moving out- the cost of a moving company or a rental moving truck and purchases you will need to make for your first apartment. Since you’ll likely need to pay a deposit as well as your first month’s rent, tuck away some extra cash in the months leading up to your move. Take a look at this blog post for some great advice on saving up for your first move.
2. Nail down a steady job
Congratulations, you’re an adult! It’s no picnic, and no place will teach you this faster than the workplace. Most young adults who first head out into the world start their climb to the top in some sort of entry-level position. In most industries, such positions are not famous for fat paychecks- do not let this discourage you! Instead, use this job as an opportunity to showcase your talent and ambition and plan wisely for future success. Keep in mind- if your entry-level job doesn’t cover the rent, maybe it’s not the time to flee the nest just yet.
3. Find a suitable place to live
This stage might take some time but it will definitely pay off if you don’t rush it. There are lots of places to look for a good apartment online, and the best place to start is your social media profiles. Get the word out that you’re looking for a great rental and see what comes up. You can also go through listings on Craigslist, Apartments.com, ForRent, or Rent Jungle, to name but a few. Also, consider this:
To Roommate or Not to Roommate
Moving in with someone is (almost always) the more frugal choice. On an emotional level, it can relieve some of the anxiety of moving out for the first time, especially if that person is someone you already know. One great option is to team up with a friend, look for a home, furnish it and move into it together. Another option is to move in with somebody who’s looking to share their apartment- that could be even more economical as it is likely their place will be mostly furnished. If you can afford to rent without roommates (or if you’re a bit of a misanthrope), you will probably want your first place all to yourself. It might be smaller and less accommodating, but it’ll be all yours.
Another major decision similar to the roommate dilemma is the question of location. How do you decide where to rent your first apartment? There are many things to take into consideration. First of all, it needs to be close enough to your workplace, as well as other places of interest depending on your likes, wants and needs. For example, you might want to live near a gym, a park or a really good bakery. Second, it needs to be safe. If the rent seems too low, check the crime rate on that street before signing the lease. Lastly, it needs to be accessible and have good public transportation. It will make your social life livelier and might even mean you could ditch your car (and car payments).
In any case, plan ahead and start collecting things you’ll need for your new abodes like furniture, kitchen items, and personal essentials unless you’re planning on moving cross-country. In that case, it’s smarter to buy those things once you’ve moved. Check out this first apartment moving checklist to know what you should start stocking up on.
4. Hire a professional moving company
This is one step that many unfortunately miss: a professional moving company will take the hassle and backache out of moving. You have enough to worry about with the rest of the small details, so let a team of full-service movers do the work and make your first moving experience a good one. Getting a quote from Unpakt will help you factor this expense into your moving budget well in advance, too — so you can stay on top of your finances and make sure you get a good deal on moving coverage to protect your belongings.
5. Create a schedule of chores
In those first few months of living out on your own, it can be tempting to let everything get a little loose- a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, laundry that never gets folded, a bathroom that just gathers soap scum… you get the picture. Trust us- after a while, you’ll wish you haven’t let things get so bad. Instead of succumbing to your inner teenager, try to create (and stick to) a schedule of chores immediately upon moving in. If you have a housemate, get them on board so you can both contribute to keeping your house a home.
6. Practice good habits before you move out
If you’ve been living the easy life without having to do many chores or watch your budget, start changing those habits now to make the transition easier down the road. Pay close attention to your cleanliness habits and step them up a notch. Start sticking to a budget now so you can get an accurate picture of your spending habits before relocating. Perhaps the most difficult: set yourself up with a daily routine to prepare yourself for entering the work world. Yes, that means an alarm clock. Sorry.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents for help
They’ve likely done this before, at least a few times, so they’ll be able to help you understand what to expect. Ask them to help you lay out anticipated moving expenses, including the little things you might not think of like a shower curtain, a plunger, or a fresh coat of paint in your new kitchen. Plus, they’re probably going to miss having you around — so giving them the opportunity to take care of you while they can just make them feel good.
8. Get the party started!!!
Nothing says “I have arrived” like throwing your first house party. House parties can be as casual or as outlandish as suits your nature, but the basic necessities include guests, music, snacks, and beverages. Start by choosing a date and drawing up the list of people you’d like to invite. You can then begin to plan the refreshments table- if you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point you can ask a few close friends to help you organize.
Whether you’re moving locally or across the country, that first leap out of your parents’ home is an exciting one. Good luck!