How Do I Move Out On My Own for the First Time?

By John Rose, May 27, 2016, Moving

I was 31 years old when I finally had a place of my own, a place without random roommates and far enough from home that my parents wouldn’t be dropping by and nagging me about a weeks’ worth of dishes in the sink. This, my friends, was liberating – and mildly terrifying.

How Do I Move Out On My Own for the First Time?

Who’s ready for the big time?!

No matter what arrangement you’re leaving as you move out on your own for the first time, you need to engage in some real forethought before you start packing. These four steps only scratch the surface of the process, but they represent a good start in your quest for your own place.

1) Do Your Research – and Do Lots of It

How Do I Move Out On My Own for the First Time?

Yes, doing research into your move will be frustrating, but it pales in comparison to the frustration you will feel if you move out withOUT planning.

A common mistake when striking out on your own is to not fully account for all of the expenses that you share with a roommate – or take for granted at your parents house. For instance, you’ll want to know the cost of trash, water, sewage, parking, electricity, gas, internet, and cable TV. Even if you’re moving into an apartment with certain utilities included, chances are you’ll still be paying more than before if you’ll want to keep the lights on and Netflix streaming. You need to conduct a hard comparison between your current expenses and what you will spend on your own – and it’s always a good idea to err on the side of overestimating.

2) Understand What Belongs to You

When moving out from one particular roommate situation, he and I argued about what belonged to whom, and it got a little messy. Avoid any fights by discussing items in question ahead of time. If an item isn’t all that expensive, you may want to skip the fight altogether by leaving it there. After all, even if you don’t like your roommate, it’s always easier to keep the peace and be a respectable grownup. If you had any shared purchases, discuss who will buy out who, and make sure that the buyout is fair, given the other person then needs to purchase something new.

3) Understand What You Need to Buy

How Do I Move Out On My Own for the First Time?

A key part of the packing process is to realize what you aren’t packing from the place you’re leaving and then determining if you need to replace it in your new home.

As I just pointed out, roommates share a lot of things, from dishes to furniture. A few weeks prior to moving, every time you use something that isn’t explicitly yours, write it down on a notepad, as you’ll likely want one at your new place.  As you get closer to the moving date, shop around for replacement items one at a time in order to keep from quickly draining your budget. Moving always cost more than you think.

4) Budget, Budget, and Budget Some More

How Do I Move Out On My Own for the First Time?

It really is “all about the Benjamins.”

By the time you are ready to start looking for a new home or apartment, you’ll already have a monthly living budget in mind. But many people forget to leave some cushion in the budget for, well, all the stuff that you didn’t think of in the first place. Thankfully, you’ll be informed since you’re reading this blog post. Not preparing to spend on everyday necessities you forgot when you moved out can be a budget disaster. This can result in either doing without key items, using lower-quality replacements for a while, or simply busting your original budget to buy important household staples you forgot from Tips 2 and 3.

Once you’re in your new place, no matter how well you planned ahead, you can still face unexpected expenses and purchases that will, if no cushion is in place, eat a hole in your wallet. My rule of thumb? No Budget = Cheap Toilet Paper.

5) The Actual Moving Day

How Do I Move Out On My Own for the First Time?

Friends are great for quick moves, but professional moving companies will make Moving Day a breeze.

If you only have a few knick-knacks and the odd table lamp to move, you can probably use your car and maybe one friend’s. But if you’re living in a 3rd floor walk-up and want your friends to help move in all that new furniture you purchased, be prepared to shell out for refreshments as repayment, not to mention for an adequately sized moving van, as a sofa likely won’t fit in your Kia Rio.

From my experience, you’re better off saving up for a moving company. You’re a grownup now, so pony up the dough and then sit back and relax with a cold beverage while other people do all of the work.

Why am I an expert in this subject? Because I have ample experience with moving in all the wrong ways, so when it came time for me to move out on my own into my first solo apartment, it wasn’t the fun experience I’d hoped for. Thus, by learning from my mistakes, you can move out the right way: quickly, efficiently, and pain-free. I sincerely hope that your first move to your own place goes much better than mine!

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