Rent signCredit: Deposit Photos

You have done it! You have declared your independence and are moving out of your parent’s house. Are you fully prepared for what lays before you? See what tips you can pick up as I share my story.

1. Laundry will not clean itself

At home, laundry was done by my mother. When I moved out I was in for a rude awakening when my laundry piled up, and I was left with the choice to clean my clothes or buy new clothes. Enter my first encounter with a coin-operated washing machine and coin operated dryer. I lived in an apartment complex which had washer and dryer hook ups, but I lacked the necessary machines. My parents lived thirty minutes away so it was not convenient to haul my laundry home. I had to scramble to find enough quarters to run my laundry though. The lesson I learned was to go to the bank at the beginning of the month and get a roll of quarters and to schedule one day a week to clean my clothes.

2. Bills come every month

The only bill I was responsible for before moving was insurance on my car. When I moved out the list of bills seemed to grow every month. I did not want to be late and scar my credit, so I bought a small file box and listed the different invoices which would arrive each month. I would pay the bill and then write the date and check number on the invoice and file it in the box. Most bills are paid online now, but having an electronic file of dates and confirmations of payment keep you on track and credit score intact.

3. The bathroom needs cleaning

The bathroom is not the only room or area which needs to be cleaned regularly, but it was certainly the one I do not like to do. To make the experience more pleasant I would turn on my favorite music, give myself a time limit, and perform all the routine cleaning maintenance.

4. Where is dinner?

Having food on hand was one of the things I missed about living at home. If you want food, you have to buy food, and if you are on a tight budget like I was, it makes sense to buy necessities in bulk and prepare them ahead of time and freeze meals in serving size portions. This made dinner prep a snap and allowed me to decompress from the workday while my dinner was warming up.

5. Is a roommate a good idea?

At first having a roommate seems like a great idea, someone to split the bills, cleaning, and fun companion when you are bored. My first experience with a roommate was my last one. I did not do my research and chose someone from the sign up board going around at church. We were not very compatible, and I learned that if I were to take on a roommate situation again, I would make sure we agreed on what clean means, made a plan if one of us loses or quits a job, and who we agree may come in to our apartment.

6. Insurance

Now that you live on your own there might be changes to your car and health insurance. Make sure that contact your agents and give them your most current information. As a renter, you will want to make sure your items are covered.

7. Do you need a shower curtain?

Go through your new apartment or living space before you move in. Take note if you need to provide anything that will make your stay more comfortable. I missed this step in my first apartment and had to take a shower the initial day sans a shower curtain.

8. Furniture, appliances, and dishes

Before you move out, it is a good idea to acquire new or used furniture and appliances. If you choose to have a roommate, make a list of what they expect to contribute and combine it with what you will be bringing. Take note of anything that is missing like an iron, can opener, or dining table.

9. Tool box

Your landlord is responsible for major repairs, but it is up to you to have the necessary tools to make life easier. I brought a toolkit which included a socket wrench, hammer, screwdriver with interchangeable tips, flashlight, and a measuring tape. These tools came in handy when I wanted to hang pictures, measure for curtains, and being able to see when the power went out.

10. Pictures before and after

Prior to moving in take time stamped photos of the entire living area. Ask your landlord to walk through with you and take written notes of any damage. If you don’t take this simple step, it is possible to be held responsible for damage, which was not your fault, and it may cost you when you move out. When you move from an apartment take time stamped photos again as proof of the condition when you left.
Moving out on your own is a big step in a person’s life, and it behooves them to be prepared. I made a list of what I thought I needed, and it benefited me greatly. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything you need to be fully prepared to move from home, but it is a great start.

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Bonus suggestion

Start a savings account

When I was on my own, I lived paycheck to paycheck, not because I did not make a decent salary, but because I had no skills in saving money. My paycheck easily covered my bills, rent and gas, so I used the balance to spend on things, which were fun in the moment without a thought for emergencies, layoffs, or my financial future. Putting away a sum as small as twenty dollars per paycheck may seem insignificant, but it will add up and the good habit will stick with you throughout life.