Moving out of your parents’ place will likely end up happening sooner or later — for millennials and Gen Zers, the average age is between 24 and 27, although there will always be folks on either side of that range. Moving out is a daunting task, and figuring out how to move out on your own for the first time means having no idea what to expect. So, we’ve compiled a list of things to do to help make moving out for the first time as simple as possible.
Your finances are going to set the parameters for your entire move, and you’ll need to have a really good understanding of what they look like before making any other decision. And the first thing you should consider is your cost of living. If you’re moving within the same city, then your expenses will be a little easier to estimate — but if you’re moving somewhere else, you’ll need to consider your updated cost of living. Items on your cost-of-living budget should include (but are not limited to) debts, groceries, phone payments, medical care, pet care, car payments, transportation and/or gas, utilities (including WiFi), subscriptions, eating out, and a fun fund.
After you’ve evaluated your monthly expenses, you can think about how much you can spend on rent. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough cash on hand for moving expenses such as a security deposit, a moving truck, movers, a storage unit (if necessary), and hotels and gas if you’re driving cross-country. It’s also a good idea to have a bit of cash for furniture and household necessities you will need, but these can be acquired over several months, or even an entire year.
Many experts also recommend having at least six months of living expenses saved up, but this isn’t always necessary. When I moved from my mom’s house, I was paying off student debt and I did not have six months of living expenses saved up — but I did have a job lined up in my new city, so I knew that I would have money coming in. How much money is in your emergency fund is deeply personal and completely dependent on your situation.
Research your new city and neighborhoods.
Now that you’re finished evaluating your finances, you can move onto something a little more fun! If you’re moving to a new city, you’ll want to take some time to research neighborhoods that are within your budget and fit your lifestyle. Consider walkability and bikeability, as well as local restaurants, parks, amenities, and commute.
If you’re not in a rush to move, this is a great opportunity to take your time and do some extensive Googling. In addition to searching online, try to talk with people you know who live in the area and can tell you a bit about different neighborhoods to check out. Post on local Reddit forums and ask questions about neighborhoods that are good for your lifestyle. Ask around to see if you know someone who knows someone that you can connect to.
Start your apartment search — and tour.
Okay, you have your budget set and you know where you want to live: The apartment search is on! A good place to start is browsing the online rental sites. If you find that you can’t find a place you like online, don’t be discouraged. New places pop up all the time, and if you aren’t in a rush to move out of your parents’ place, then take your time and go slow. In fact, 31 percent of renters regret not touring more apartments before signing a lease.
Touring apartments is an important step in the search. Virtual and FaceTime tours are a great tool, but they ultimately will not give you the full story, such as what the neighborhood feels like, how well the communal areas are kept, and if the closet is big enough for your wardrobe.
If you’re moving to a totally new city, you do not have to forgo in-person apartment tours. When I moved from my mom’s place on Long Island to San Diego, I put most of my stuff in storage and stayed in an Airbnb for a month upon arriving in my new city. That month gave me plenty of time to tour apartments and see them in person.
Now it’s time to pack all your things. The good thing about moving out of a parents’ house is that you typically don’t need to worry too much about having every single item packed away — unless your parents are moving houses themselves, or just want to convert your bedroom into a home gym.
That said, it can still be a daunting task to go through all of your items, and this is not something you want to leave until the last minute. Packing is also a great time to do some cleaning and editing, getting rid of or donating things you no longer need. (It will also help you make a list of things you’ll need to purchase for your new place.)
Try to begin about a month out from your moving day, starting with things you don’t use every day such as seasonal clothes, extra bed linens, books, trinkets, and board games. Then, as you get closer and closer to your move-out day, pack a bit more. Once you’re a week out from moving, you can pack all of your clothes, sparing a few items in a weekender bag.
Moving in can be equally as daunting as moving out — and it’s a good idea to create a list of things you need to do so that you can refer back to it regularly. To-do list items are going to be personal depending on your situation, but they should include things such as scheduling utilities, taking photos of your unit for record keeping, going shopping for necessary homewares, and getting renters’ insurance.
Consider move-out day options.
And finally, it’s time to plan move-out day. Move-out days can be extremely emotional, for both yourself and your parents, so if you can, try to make sure that moving out and making the day special is the only thing on your to-do list. Why not go out to breakfast together and enjoy one last meal as cohabitors?
But prior to the actual move-out day, you’ll need to do some planning and consider what will be best for yourself and your budget. This will mean weighing options such as hiring movers, renting a moving van, having your items shipped, or, if you don’t have too much stuff, packing things up into the car on your own.
Try to get quotes from several service providers before deciding on one — the first mover you see online might not be the most cost-effective. And be sure to read reviews to make sure that you’re getting the best service for your hard-earned dollar.