Over one-third of Millennials have moved back in with their parents after a period of independence. Living in Mom and Dad’s basement, once a punchline to bad jokes about socially awkward, Star Wars-obsessed nerds, is the new normal for an entire generation.
Despite the advantages of living at home, there’s also a lot to be said for striking out on your own. Living in an apartment provides young adults with a sense of independence and self-sufficiency, gives them the freedom to make their own choices and teaches responsibility.
If you’re moving out for the first time, you’re probably super-excited, and maybe a little bit apprehensive, as well. That’s why we’ve put together this compilation of tips and tricks to make your move go as smoothly as possible!
First, Get Organized
Ensure that your move is as easy and efficient as possible by getting organized right from the start. Buy a three-ring binder or folder where you can store your lease, information about utilities, quotes from moving companies, and other pertinent paperwork.
Next, you’ll want to gather some supplies. It’s pretty easy to find free cardboard boxes at grocery or liquor stores, and use newspapers or bubble wrap for protecting fragile items. Pro tip: use your kitchen and bath towels, pillowcases, or even small items of clothing to cushion glassware, dishes, and tchotchkes — it will save you space and eliminate the need to acquire, then discard, all that eco-unfriendly packing material.
You will also need a couple of rolls of packing tape and some permanent markers to label boxes. Ideally, use several different colors of markers and/or tape. Color-coding boxes according to rooms in your apartment will help the movers or your friends know where to take them. This, in turn, will make your unpacking a lot easier.
Learn more about the moving process by checking out this guide to packing, utilities, saving money, hiring movers, and more.
Save the Shopping for Later
If you’re moving out for the first time, chances are you’re itching to hit up Target or Triple B for apartment living essentials — dishes, silverware, bedding, furniture, kitchen appliances, and so on. However, moving can be costly, especially if you have just put down first and last months’ rent as a security deposit. We recommend drawing up a budget and sticking to it!
In addition, there’s no shame in acquiring supplies on the cheap, so check Craigslist and thrift stores before paying full price. Don’t be shy about asking around, either. Your friends (or your parents’ friends) may very well have extra silverware, a seldom-used toaster oven, or even furniture that they’ll be willing to give you.
You can always upgrade down the line, or use the money you’ve saved to splash out on some framed prints, luxury bedding, or some soft, squishy throw pillows.
Another great reason to wait until you are settled in before buying all the items you need? You won’t have to pack and move them!
Get Your Utilities Sorted
There are some things you’ll need right away, of course, and chief among them are electricity and internet service. As soon as you know your new address, start shopping around for the best internet provider. Many of them also bundle cable TV and home phone service, so take some time to decide what you need.
Call the gas and electric provider in your area and arranged to have everything up and running at least a day or two before the date of your move-in. That way, you’ve got a bit of a cushion in case of mix-ups or delays.
Look Into Renter’s Insurance
Moving out for the first time often entails a crash course in adulting — there’s a lot more to independent living than being able to eat cake for breakfast or walk around the house naked whenever you feel like it. Take insurance, for example. The last thing you need when money’s already tight is for your valuables to be damaged or stolen, and that’s where renter’s insurance comes in.
Renter’s insurance may also cover damage to or theft of your property outside the apartment — if your laptop or guitar are stolen from your vehicle or even a hotel room, you might be covered!
Another option to protect your valuables is a security system. Many apartment buildings are already set up with security, but if you’re not living in a complex, you might have to spring for this yourself.
We’ve touched on this topic a few times already, but a household budget is such an important part of living on your own that it deserves to be addressed directly. Until you are responsible for all of your own expenses, you might not realize exactly how much the costs will add up. Once you’ve forked over money for rent, monthly utilities, monthly insurance premiums, and food, there might not be much left over.
There are a lot of clever hacks for saving money aimed at young adults just striking out on their own for the first time, but what’s really important is that you establish a budget and stick to it. Knowing where your money goes each month not only gives you peace of mind but also better equips you for saving some of it!
Are You Moving Out for the First Time?
Whether you’ve been living in college dorms until now, or are just getting ready to fly the nest and live without Mom and Dad for the first time, moving out for the first time is an exciting adventure. It can also be stressful, but if you stay organized, watch your wallet and avoid excess splurging, and keep these tips in mind, it will go much more smoothly.
What aspect of living on your own are you most excited about? How will you decorate your new apartment? Do you have any tips for saving money on furniture or other household supplies? We’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below and start the conversation!