Moving out of your parents place and into your own home, sweet home, is as exciting as it is terrifying. Everyone should spend some time living alone – even if it’s for a couple of months. It is an experience that will force you to grow into your own skin and learn a lot about yourself.
I moved out of home when I was 21. Not only was I moving out of home, I was moving to a completely different State (but only about 3 hours away) into an apartment on my own and starting a new job. It was all exciting until I realised that I had a whole lot of things to figure out.
The first thing you want to figure out is how much money you’re going to have up front and how much money you’ll have each month. This will dictate everything you do, including how much you purchase to get settled. You don’t want to spend $300 on amazing decorations from Kmart when you won’t have any money for food in your first week.
You need to consider how much you’ll be earning and what your basic expenses will be – rent, electricity, gas, phone/mobile, internet etc. How much do you spend on groceries? What about petrol and car registration and insurance? What about going out and buying birthday presents?
Use a spreadsheet and note it all down. If you don’t know the answer to all of these questions then you’re going to find it hard to manage yourself week to week.
I’m not a fan of using credit cards to sustain a more lavish lifestyle when you’re starting out because future you doesn’t need all that debt to payback. Don’t fail the marshmallow test.
Find your means and live within it. Future you will thank you and reward you for it.
Figuring out where you’re going to live
This was probably the hardest thing to figure out. I was moving to a very different State that I knew nothing about. I figured out where my office was going to be and then started Googling surrounding suburbs to figure out where key amenities were. I wanted to live near a Westfield or large shopping mall. I wanted access to public transport in case something happened to my car. I looked at bus stops in to the city and main roads that would make the trip easier to get to work.
Once you orient yourself, start thinking about the type of environment you want to live in – a busy city centre? Out in the suburbs? Near all the cool hipster cafes? By a lake? Near a farm? Do you want to be walking distance from somewhere? Do you need to move further away from the city to get better value housing?
I ended up deciding that I wanted something that was near a transport hub, but not anywhere near the city centre. Something chill and semi-suburban. Conveniently, that’s where a lot of decently priced apartments were.
Oh. And I didn’t want to live with people. I tried looking for roommates but everyone was a freak and I just couldn’t handle it. But if you’re more
patient tolerable flexible than I am, feel free to hunt for a roommate. You might save yourself a bunch of money. I chose to not save money and instead save my sanity.
When moving out of home, it’s easy to think about the big things – I could take my bedroom furniture, but I needed a couch. I was taking my bookshelf but needed a washing machine and microwave.
It’s everything else that’s hard. I think the easiest way to figure out what you need is to go room by room and write down what you’d need. My list looked something like this:
- Toilet paper (important not to forget!)
- Lota (uhm. Muslims… we like to wash our bums. It’s a long story)
- Toiletries – shampoo, body wash, deodorant other things
- Toilet cleaning brush thingy
- Liquid soap dispenser (and liquid soap)
- Domestos or some other toilet cleaner
- Hand towel, bath towel
- Furniture things
- Sheets + pillowcase
- Spoons, knives, forks
- Wooden spoon
- Garlic crusher
- Dishwashing liquid and dishwasher tablets (nice ones, because you don’t need to run that thing twice.
- Sponge and cleaning cloth
- A cleaning spray of some sort.
- Tea towels
- Dish drying rack
- Bowls and plates and cups. Water drinking cups. Mugs.
- Rice – basmati and short grain
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, mixed herbs, 7 spice, sumac, caraway, cloves, cardamom, garam masala
- Canned tomatoes, canned beans
- Vermicelli noodles
- Pomegranate mollasses
- Rose water, orange blossom water
Okay. Wait – maybe you need to make your own list here because mine’s a little bit… Lebanese.
Are you exhausted by reading that list? Probably. I’d make a full list for you, but everyone needs different things.
Take stuff & look for bargains
Take all the random bits and pieces that you can from your family. If your mother is anything like mine, she has a million plates and things. Take stuff!
If you plan on cooking things for yourself, I highly recommend you get yourself one or two decent pots and pans. Cheap will burn and peel and you’ll end up with random flakes in your food. Get some non-stick, dishwasher safe pots. You’ll thank me for it later. Totally worth it if you can afford to.
I bought most of my cutlery and crockery from cheap places like The Reject Shop (yes, my non-Australian readers! That’s a thing!). I think I spent $150 on all the basics. A few months after moving in I started to decorate and yes, Kmart was amazing for this – art work, vases, useless pillows for the couch.
I gradually bought more things – a dining table and chairs, side tables (with storage – from Kmart) for the living area. I started to swap out my crappy, crappy cutlery for nicer stuff that wouldn’t rust etc.
Be nice to yourself
The most important thing to keep in mind is that moving out of home is a totally stressful, totally terrifying experience. But it can be really exhilarating and liberating also! You’ll suddenly realise just how much effort and energy it takes to be an adult – to clean the house and cook for yourself and go to work and pay bills while maintaining your health and sanity.
The most important thing I learned was that sometimes you have to let things go. Most people can’t keep a spotless house all the time. Most people can’t cook a perfectly healthy meal every night or food prep perfectly. That’s okay. There will be ups and downs but you’ll get better and managing your responsibilities.
The best part is you’ll be rewarded with so much personal growth and be a better person for it.
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