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Moving out for the first time

Moving out of your parents’ house can be daunting, exciting and a little bit sad all at once. There’s a lot to think about, from finance and planning to packing and furnishings. There’s a lot to remember, so have a look at our top tips.

Moving out for the first time

Tips for before the move

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that the house moving process starts long before moving day. Here’s a list of tips to make the move easier on everyone.

Make sure your finances are in order

Remember that you may no longer have the safety net of living with your family. Begin by working out a daily budget to make sure you can actually afford to live on your own. Compare your income to your total monthly expense, taking everything into account – groceries, gym memberships, travel expenses, phone bills… remember that some expenses, such as groceries, may be more when you’re not living at home. Things like travel expenses may also differ depending on where you move to.

If you’re planning on renting, use this budget to work out how much you can afford to spend on rent. Remember to include council tax and an estimate of your utility bills. If you’re unsure of any component of your budget, be sure to overestimate it. If you can, try to leave some money aside each month for unforeseen costs, or to go into savings. If renting is going to take too big a chunk out of your paycheque, consider getting a housemate or flatmate.

Next, budget for the move itself. If you’re buying a house then you can use our Moving Cost Calculator. If you’re renting it’s a little simpler as you don’t need to worry about things like surveying or conveyancing fees, but remember to include the deposit amount as well as the first month’s rent.

For some, a deposit can be up to 6 weeks rent. It will be stored in a deposit account, rather than by your estate agent/landlord, so be sure that you confirm this. Whilst estate agency fees have been changed by law, be sure to consider if you will have any other fees due.

Think about how you’re going to actually manage the move – could you do it in a few trips spread across a couple of cars, or does the amount of stuff or the distance you’ll need to travel mean it makes more sense to hire a removals company? Also remember to think about what you’ll need to buy when you get there – is your new place furnished or unfurnished?

Check out our advice if you can’t decide whether to rent or buy.

If you’re renting, have a look at our article on what to consider when renting.

Be sure of the location

Once you’ve found a place, make sure you’re totally happy with the location. It can be easy to compromise – you may think an hour’s walk to the station is worth it for the lower rent, but doing that walk every day might get wearing pretty quickly! Visit at different times of day so you get a sense of traffic, and if you need parking look at the restrictions and how busy the road is.

Practise good habits

You can be making the inevitable changes to your lifestyle before you move out. Tidy up after yourself, keep an eye on your money (this will help you to budget more accurately, too), and get yourself to places instead of relying on lifts from family members. Moving out can be stressful but not everything has to change at once – if you make small changes before you go it won’t feel like such a shock to the system.

Have a clear-out

Putting all your belongings into boxes and piling them up to move can be a wake-up call – “I have too much stuff!” Luckily, just before a move is the perfect time to get rid of stuff because you’re sorting it all anyway. The less you have to transport to your new home, the cheaper and easier your move will be. Donate, recycle, give away or sell items to make space (and maybe even a little cash for your move!)

Prepare emotionally

It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous or even sad at the thought of moving out. Make sure you plan with your parents when you’ll see each other next – for example, do you plan on going round for dinner at the weekend?

If this is your first time living alone you might feel uneasy at the prospect, so do whatever you need to do to feel safe. Change the locks, introduce yourself to the neighbours, or, if you haven’t already, leave time on moving day to walk around the neighbourhood to get to know it.

Your first night alone in your new home may be unusual – you’ll be getting used to new noises in the property, sounds from the road, or even a level of quiet you’re not used to! If you are a bit nervous you can always invite a friend over for a first night sleepover. Which means you’ll have help with your unpacking too!

What do you need when moving out for the first time?

Whether you’re moving to a furnished or unfurnished place, you will inevitably have some shopping to do. Some of the things you need are essential, and you should buy them beforehand if you can. The bigger shop can wait until after you’ve moved in.

Checklist of things to buy before the move

Here is a checklist of all the essential items to tide you over for the first day and night in your new place.
  • Bed – Although you might not want to invest in a frame until you’ve properly assessed the size of the room, a mattress, mattress topper, pillows, duvet, and bedsheets are essential.
  • Curtains – After a long day of moving you’ll want a restful night of sleep – not to be woken up early in the morning when the sun comes up. Plus, they’re great for privacy and keeping in heat.
  • Toolkit – Hammers, screwdrivers, nails – they’ll all come in useful for building furniture, making any repairs and even opening boxes.
  • Step stool – You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll use this – it’s not just handy for unpacking into high cupboards or shelves, but also when you’re settled and you need to change the smoke alarm batteries!
  • Shower curtain – Pack this in with your toiletries and towel. After a long day, you’ll want a hot shower and the last thing you’ll feel like doing afterwards is mopping the bathroom floor.
  • Toilet paper – Make sure you’ve got plenty of this!
  • First aid kit – Whether it’s a cut from opening a particularly stubborn box or backache from all the lugging around, a box of plasters, painkillers, and antiseptic cream certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
  • Cleaning supplies – Maybe the previous inhabitants have left their mark, or all the unloading has resulted in muddy footprints all through the house. Whatever the situation, it’s always good to have some basic cleaning supplies to hand – a hoover, antibacterial spray, cloths, bin liners and toilet cleaner are good things to start with.
  • Kitchen basics – All you really need is moving day snacks, dinner and breakfast for the next day, along with the equipment to cook it, any tea or coffee you’ll want and plates/mugs. If you’re very limited on space, an oven pizza and some bread will tide you over!
  •  Electrics – Make sure you’ve got the batteries and extension leads you need, and make sure chargers are easily accessible.

Making arrangements before you move

There are some bits of paperwork you can do before you move in to make life easier when you arrive at your new property:
  • Set up wifi – Compare prices on broadband and book for the router to be delivered (or for installation) after you arrive, so you’re not stuck without it.
  • Council tax – Often you’ll receive a letter about council tax, but you can be proactive and register your new address online. If you are a full time student you are exempt, but you’ll have to get a letter from your university or college.
  • Update your address – Change your address on important documents – your place of work, university, bank etc all need your new address.
  • Driving license – Your driving license needs to have your current address on it by law. It will also make it easier to collect parcels! It costs £14 to change your address on your driving license.
  • Compare gas and electricity – You may not know who your current provider is until you move in, but doing a little research can mean you’re ready to switch when you’re in your new home.

Checklist of what to buy afterwards

Once you’re as unpacked as you can be, it’s time to go shopping. Some of these bits may seem obvious and you may even already have them (especially if your new place is furnished), but some may not even cross your mind until the moment you need them.

In the living room:
  • Sofa
  • Coffee table – this may not seem like an essential, but you might find yourself eating your dinner in the living room, especially if you live alone
  • Extra lighting
  • TV and cable box
  • Storage
In the kitchen:
  • Table and chairs
  • Kitchen bin
  • Full set of dishes
    • Mugs
    • Glasses
    • Cutlery
    • Different sized bowls and plates
  • Pots and pans
    • A frying pan
    • A saucepan
    • A stockpot
    • A casserole dish
  • Utensils
    • Different sized knives
    • Chopping boards
    • Measuring spoons
    • Mixing bowl
    • Colander
    • Spatula or wooden spoon
    • Whisk
    • Serving spoons
    • Bottle opener
    • Can opener
    • Kitchen scissors
  • Appliances
    • Toaster
    • Kettle
    • Microwave
  • Foil or cling film
  • Tupperwares
  • Drying rack
  • Tea towels
  • Oven mitts
  • Washing up equipment
    • Sponges and/or brushes
    • Fairy liquid
In the bathroom:
  • Cleaning stuff
    • Toilet brush
    • Plunger
  • Bin
  • Bath towels
  • Hand soap and towel
  • Storage for toiletries
  • Bath mat
In the bedroom:
  • Bedframe if you haven’t already got one
  • Clothing storage
  • Mirror
  • Laundry bin
  • Bin
Once you’ve got everything on this list, make it feel like your own! If you own the property you can redecorate, and if you’re renting you can read our article to find out how to make a home of your rented house.

Moving out of your parents’ house is a big step, especially if it means you’ll be living on your own for the first time. But if you make sure you prepare accordingly and get everything on our checklists you’ll feel at home in no time, and ready to enjoy your newfound freedom.
 

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