Moving out of your parents’ house is a major life event. It’s exciting, and you’re probably looking forward to the independence that comes with living on your own terms, but you may also be feeling rather anxious for the same reason.
Being well prepared will greatly improve your confidence in your own ability to live independently, and reduce your anxiety. It will also make it much easier to cope with moving day!
If this is your first time moving out, our checklist can help you get organised and ready for your new home.
Moving out for the first time: checklist
Finding your own place:
1. Make a budget:
- Add up all the income you’ll get from all sources.
- Add up the cost of non-negotiables: rent/mortgage, council tax, utilities (electric, gas, phone, broadband, water), TV license and petrol/diesel/public transport costs. You can find average costs for these from the government’s Money Advice Service.
- Add up annual bills, like car insurance, home insurance, MOT/service, boiler/gas fire service. Divide this figure by 12 to know how much you’ll need to set aside each month.
- Add “b” & “c” together, and deduct them from “a”. This will leave you with a monthly figure that you’ll have to spend on groceries and entertainment. Remember, you should also set aside some savings each month for unexpected costs, and for things like holidays and Christmas/birthday gifts.
- If you don’t have enough to eat properly, save up and live comfortably, you may need to find cheaper housing, or look for a flatshare arrangement to split the bills.
2. Stick to your budget! Spiralling debt is no joke, and there won’t be anyone there to bail you out if you overspend.
3. Check you have enough money in the bank for…
- Your deposit and first month’s rent, if renting;
- Your capital deposit if buying;
- The cost of moving - if you need to hire a van, for example;
- Furniture and furnishings.
4. Once you’ve chosen a property within your budget, visit it at different times of the day to listen for excess noise and monitor traffic levels. Do a dry-run of your daily commute at the time you’d normally set off.
Preparing to move
5. Take photos of your old room, and your parents’ house just as it is. Things will change after you’ve moved out, and photos can help keep your memories of your childhood home alive.
6. Have a clear out. The fewer things you need to take with you, the less time it will take to move. Take things you’ll need for your new home (see 9, 10 and 11, below) and give away, sell or gift to charity anything that you know you won’t use again.
7. Be careful not to throw away all your memories - your parents might agree to store excess belongings in their loft, or you could consider renting a self storage locker to keep items that you’re not ready to part with but that don’t fit into your new home.
8. Plan how you’ll transport your belongings to your new home - can you use your car, or will you need to hire a van?
9. You will need the following furniture as a bare minimum:
- A bed and mattress
- A wardrobe or clothes rail
- A bedside table
- A sofa
- A coffee table
- A bookcase and/or chest of drawers
- Washing machine
- Dryer/clothes horse
- Vacuum cleaner
- Iron and ironing board
10. You will need the following furnishings as a bare minimum:
- Duvet cover and pillowcases
- Curtains/blinds - check what will be left by the last tenants or owners
- Coat hangers
- Shower curtain
- Cushions and blanket for the sofa
- Lamp for softer lighting
- Toaster and kettle
- Dinner plates and side plates
- Cups and glasses
- Tea towels
- Washing up liquid and sponges, or dishwasher tablets if you have a dishwasher
- Tea, coffee, sugar canisters
- Laundry detergent
11. These are very useful to have in your home:
- A toolkit with a hammer, screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips), allen key/hex key and stanley knife.
- Spare lightbulbs
- Laundry basket
- First aid kit
- Cleaning supplies including carpet cleaner
12. Change the locks. You don’t know who else might have had spare keys over the years.
13. Introduce yourself to the neighbours - they may become your friends, and they may be willing to keep an eye on your house when you’re away, if you reciprocate. They’re also a great source of local information.
14. You should check you know:
- Where the fuse box is and know what to do if a fuse blows
- Where the stopcock is in case you need to turn off the water supply
- What day the bins need to be put out
- The numbers of emergency plumbers and electricians
- That the smoke alarms and CO detectors are fitted and working (put fresh batteries in even if they are working)
15. Make a note of the electricity and gas readings, and your water meter reading if one is fitted - take a photo in case of disputes later on.
After moving in
16. Sign up for broadband, gas, electric and water.
17. Register to vote, and make sure you’re registered for Council Tax.
18, Change your address on your paperwork - driving licence, passport - and tell your employer/university and bank.
19. If space becomes an issue after you’ve moved in (e.g. when you’ve started to buy things like Christmas decorations, camping gear or sports equipment), you could invest in a shed if there’s room in a secure area, or rent a self storage
20. Draw up a list of daily/weekly chores so that they don’t become overwhelming. Choose what works for your home, but as a starting point:
- Washing up
- Wiping down surfaces including oven hob
- Bleach the loo and wipe down the bathroom sink
- Change beds
- Clean the bath
- Clean the windows
- Sweep high level areas for cobwebs
Bear in mind, when moving out of your parents’ home...
This is a big step, one that you need to be prepared for practically but also psychologically: once you’ve moved out, every time you return home it will be as a visitor. Your old room won’t look the same and may even get repurposed by your parents as a gym, office or guest room.
You’ll find your own way of doing things, which might be different to how your parents have always done them - your parents might find this difficult to adjust to and may seek to override your decisions or criticise them. You may be a grown up to the rest of the world, but to your parents you’ll always be their child!
Take a deep breath and try not to take it personally if they treat you like you don’t know what you’re doing - it comes from a place of love and care, and when you go back to your own home you can do exactly what you want!
Enjoy settling into your first proper home.