It’s time to move out. You’ve worked that crappy job for a while now, you’ve paid your dues, and you finally have enough money to take the first step toward adulthood. But before you make the big move, you should know a few things.
1. Your parents will have an opinion about it.
Whether they are overprotective (a lá My Big Fat Greek Wedding) or happy to see you go (like Failure to Launch) the ‘rents are going to have something to say and they’ll have no problem letting you know. It’s only fair. We are talking about the people who (ostensibly) raised you. So make sure you have a plan set in stone for when you break the news to them.
2. Your friends will have an opinion about it.
They might see your new pad as a great addition to the places where they can light up and chill. Or they might be jealous if they are still living with their parents and will passive aggressively congratulate you. Watch out for haters and moochers alike. Share your news accordingly.
3. Society will have an opinion about it.
Odds are that at this very moment some old geezer on Facebook is ranting about how you are a drain on society for not having moved out of your parents’ place the moment you turned 18. This old fart will also be grudgingly pleased that you managed to use your sissified, millennial arms to pull yourself up by your own Velcro 90’s nostalgic bootstraps. How good for you.
4. Basically everyone will have an opinion about it.
And that’s a-okay. Who gives a fuck? Not you, you sexy young thing, forging your own path to independence. Go to the nearest mirror and give yourself a double thumbs up. You deserve it.
5. You probably won’t find your dream place.
Are you willing share your apartment with a few dozen cockroaches if it means being close to the subway? Would you like a balcony with a view despite the paper thin walls? Can your asthma handle the tenants that smoke like a chimney on the floor above you? Finding the perfect place to live is difficult and chances are something is going to suck.
6. Looking for roommates is hard!
Maybe you can’t afford to live alone. This means you’ll have to look for a roommate. Be warned, the search is fraught with peril. You don’t want a sex maniac who wakes you up at 3 a.m. while she loudly bangs her boyfriend in the next room. Nor do you want a guy so quiet he looks like he should be on an FBI watch list. Choose carefully.
7. How is your credit score?
You better have that shit in order or you’re going to have a bad time. Landlords check your credit score to make sure you are on the up and up and will pay your rent. But since you are a responsible young adult preparing to move out you don’t have to worry about that… right?
8. Packing (boxes, so many boxes).
Packing can be a doozy, especially when you have to decide what parts of your life get to join you in your new home. Should you take your lava lamp or a cast of your hand print that you made in the first grade? How about those participation trophies from youth soccer (you know, the ones that turned you into an entitled twenty something that lives at home?)
9. Packing (part two).
How exactly are you going to get your stuff from point A to point B? Your mom’s car? With the help of friends? A moving company, perhaps? Chances are you will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting yourself or you will have to rely on the kindness of a good friend or two. Just know that when your friends need help moving they will likely call on you to return the favor (as you should).
10. Decorating can be fun.
But don’t go overboard. A tastefully furnished pad can easily become a kitschy shrine slash fire hazard to the overeager decorator. So dust off one of those Bed Bath and Beyond coupons you keep getting in the mail and save some money while you’re out shopping for a new place.
11. New address, new you.
Don’t forget to update your new address and not just for your favorite online shopping sites. In certain states the DMV must be notified of an address change and it’s important to keep your voter registration information up to date, as well. And finally, make sure your friends and (approved) family members know your new address. You might get a care package in the mail!
12. Bills bills bills.
This is your life now and you are responsible for taking care of yourself. That means paying your bills on time. Unpaid rent and overdue bills can affect your credit score and make your life difficult in the long run, so keep up with that shit. And speaking of money…
13. Don’t forget to budget
Take some time to take stock of your money. Every time you get your paycheck, put aside some money for bills, rent, and food. Additionally, put some money in a retirement or savings fund. Save for your future. You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.
14. Keep food in your kitchen.
This is a big one. I know. I know. Cooking is going the way of the dodo. These days you can order almost any meal and it will arrive at your door within 30 minutes hot ‘n fresh and ready to eat. But being able to feed yourself with a few ingredients from the pantry is a skill that will always be useful. A lot of grocery stores also offer delivery services. Take advantage of this and keep at least some non-perishables within reach.
15. You might get lonely.
Congratulations! Your kitchen is stocked, your finances are in order, and you have your own space fixed up exactly how you want it. Now what? It might take a while to sink into your own rhythm and figure out what to do with yourself. And you might get little lonely. That’s totally normal and totally okay as you make your way through the next major stages of your life.