Moving out for the first time is both challenging and exciting. You’re breaking out of old patterns, and routines as an amazing new chapter in your life is just beginning.
In this article, you’ll find some great tips on how to get through the move to your first apartment as seamlessly as possible, so you can enjoy your new place without stressing about the process.
Table of Contents
Before the Move:
#1. Make a Budget
The process of moving out for the first time starts before you even begin looking for a place. One of the first things you’ll need to do is create a budget. To do so, start by writing down your net income (any money coming into your bank account from work, scholarships, or any other means).
Then, add up your expenses. If you’re unsure how much money you spend during a month, try tracking your habits. Keep all your receipts for 30 days, and see what you’re spending your money on and what it means. If you’re living with your parents now, you may not be paying for groceries — which is a significant factor in calculating your budget. Also, consider the cost of gas or public transit, any books or supplies you need for school or work, and money you spend on entertainment — such as movies or streaming apps, road trips, or nights out with friends.
Set realistic goals based on the trends you notice and make a plan. Write down how much you can afford to spend on rent by adding up all your expected monthly expenses and subtracting that number from your total income. A good model is the 50-30-20 rule. This system suggests spending 50 percent of your income on needs such as rent, groceries, and car payments, 30 percent on wants (entertainment expenses, gifts for your friends and family, or the latest bestselling novel), and the final 20 percent on savings.
To plan for the unexpected, set up an emergency fund. This storehouse may take some time to build up, but you’ll be grateful when you face unexpected challenges — like car maintenance or medical bills. It’s beneficial to review your budget and regularly evaluate how you’re doing. Sometimes adjustments need to be made, and that’s fine — just try to be as accurate as possible when calculating your expenses. If you’re living too much outside your budget, it’s time to streamline your wants and needs.
#2. Know your Needs
Before looking for a place to live, it’s essential to consider your short-term and long-term needs. Examples of valid needs may include:
- commuting every day
- working from home
- having a car
- using public transportation
- thrive best with peace and quiet vs. busy streets and loud noises
- having more than one bedroom
- living alone or with roommates
Always look for a place to live that fits your needs, whatever they may be.
It may sound tedious, but decluttering makes moving easier. Here are some advantages of decluttering before you move out for the first time:
- Packing will be less overwhelming. If you have lots of extra stuff that you don’t necessarily want to bring into your new life, now is the time to donate it or throw it out.
- You don’t want to leave a bunch of clutter behind in your old room at your parent’s house. Respect the space your parents have given you, and leave it in good condition.
- Once you get to your new place, you’ll have to find a place for everything. When you bring a lot of clutter, you’ll have to sort it out rather than enjoy setting up your new apartment.
Before you move, take a weekend to declutter. Go through your room one corner at a time and assess what you have. Ask yourself what you need, what brings you joy, what gets used, and that’s just sitting there collecting dust.
Your closet might take the most time, as people accumulate more clothing than they give away. Take some time to try on old clothes and put aside everything that doesn’t fit, has become ratty and worn, or that you never wear. Once you’ve sorted your clothing, decide what you can donate and discard. If you have younger siblings or cousins, you might like to pass some items on to them, donate to charity, have a garage sale, or repurpose your old clothes to be something new.
#4. Buy the Essentials
When you move out on your own for the first time, you’ll want to have all the essentials ready for your new place.
Here’s a checklist of some essentials needed for your first place:
- Kitchen: pots, pans, cutlery, glassware, and dishes
- Bathroom: shower curtain, bathmat, bath towels, and toilet paper
- Bedroom: sheets, pillow, curtains, and bedside table
- Cleaning supplies: detergents, cleaners, mop, garbage bags
- Furniture: tables and chairs, sofa, desk, bed, lighting
During your Move:
Moving day can be stressful, but if you prepare well, you can easily get through it. As you prepare to move out, make sure you’re packing smart. This means you’re taking an active, organized approach. You may also want to try packing for each room, such as the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Other packing hacks, such as labeling boxes, packing clothes in plastic bags in hangers, and packing an overnight bag with essentials, will help everything go more smoothly.
#1. Pack Smart
#2. Plan Out your Setup
Before moving in, you can map out where you want your furniture to make it easier for movers to place heavy items. That way, you save time and stress later, with your items all in their proper place rather than in a pile in your new living room.
#3. Move at the Right Time
The timing of your move is another important factor. Picking a good time to move will save money because movers are cheaper during the week. If you live in a cold climate, you may not want to move in the deep cold of winter, and the same goes for the laborious task of moving in the summer heat in a humid climate. We recommend you consider weather conditions when planning the timing of your move.
After your Move:
#1. Safety First
Check that the doors and windows lock properly, the electrical sockets all function, and there are smoke, and carbon monoxide monitors set up. Check with the landlord first, but changing locks is a good safety measure.
#2. Unpack Smart
There are important steps to take after moving, which generally involve setting up your new home for function, beauty, and safety. Make sure you find a place for everything and set up a system for things like laundry, dishes, and your bathroom routine.
Avoid throwing everything into a pile to be dealt with later; instead, find a place for everything as you unpack. Mapping out areas and correct labeling on boxes can help with unpacking. Recruiting friends and family is a helpful alternative if you can’t afford professional unpacking services.
#3. Get to Know your Surroundings
Finally, get to know your neighbors and surroundings. It’s a good idea to get to know the people around your building and street, neighborhood, and other local landmarks such as hospitals, churches, grocery stores, pharmacies, and community centers.
When you plan well and execute your plan correctly, moving out for the first time can be a fantastic opportunity for a fresh start. Rather than worrying about how things will go, be as proactive as possible and make a concrete plan you can implement with the help of your family, friends, or professional movers. Taking these measures will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment — especially if you’re far away from home for the first time.