Moving out on your own is a milestone moment which is exciting as it is nerve-wracking. You’re probably full of buzzing anticipation for how thrilling it will be to be your own boss under your own roof, whilst also having moments of sheer terror at the thought of such responsibility!
Some solo living experiences are rights of passage that we all need to experience with no previous forewarning or advice – when they happen to you, you’ll know. Or rather, after they’ve happened to you and you see them happen to someone else, then you’ll definitely know! Others are practical tips and hacks that we’ve included here so that you can make sure that you’re well set up and prepared for your first experience of moving out and living on your own.
Picking the right place to live is tricky, and chances are, you’ll make some missteps along the way. It’s okay; most of us have a nightmare story of living accommodations that we shudder about. Whether it’s an unpredictably horrid landlord, crazy neighbours, or a lift that never works and seven flights of stairs to your apartment, it’ll be lessons learnt that teach you what to look out for and what to stay away from when you choose your next home and indeed your next agent!
Planning and being prepared is key, and you can do things to help make sure that you have the best chance of finding a place that’s a good fit. First, and most importantly, know what your budget is before you start looking at places. Nothing takes the shine off the excitement of getting a home more than when you start out looking at beautiful, spacious, airy, and bright places only to realise that they’re four times what you can afford, and everything else suffers in comparison. Take some time to set a realistic budget that you know you can afford each month, and you’ll be far happier when your rent is due. Living alone is more expensive than having a roommate, and doubling up is a great way to help reduce expenses without having to live in a hovel just so that you can afford it on your own.
You found a place, signed a lease, and have a move-in date. Congratulations! You’re on your way to one of the most exciting milestones. There are a few things that you can do to make the big day more fun and less chaotic:
- Find a moving company – If you’re going a long distance and can’t move your things in your vehicle or have furniture you need to move, consider hiring a moving company. The extra cost is well worth the time and energy and can make your moving day much less stressful than trying to do it all on your own. Before the moving day, make sure to get some cardboard boxes to pack your essentials, and you can even reuse them by turning them into crafts for your new home after they’ve fulfilled their purpose.
- Make a list of what you’re bringing – Forgetting something when you move is the worst! Make sure you have a comprehensive list of everything that you’re taking with you so you can avoid the dread of knowing that you forgot something critical. Of course, this is less of a worry if you’re 45 minutes away than if you’re a 3-day drive, but it’s still worth doing.
.Do your walkthrough inspection – It is crucial but perhaps not the most glamorous part of getting your new rental property! Having patience here is made extra tricky because the walkthrough is often the last step before you are given the keys to your new kingdom. You just want it to be over so you can bask in the glory of your new home and start making it your own, so what does it matter if a plug doesn’t work and there’s a crack in a tile?
Trust us; when it comes to getting your full safety deposit back at the end of your tenancy, you’ll be happy you were diligent!
- Set up utilities in advance – This one is important to ensure you don’t have an interruption in your services or a delay in getting Wi-Fi set up. Depending on where you’ll be living, there can be a waiting period for installing the internet, and if you book these things in advance, you won’t be stuck in your new place with no Wi-Fi for two weeks.
Power can often be scheduled to move over to a new account in advance, so if your electricity is not included in your rent, you’ll have to coordinate creating a new account and moving service over on your move-in date.
Below is a checklist of things for you to run through to make sure you have a plan for the essential parts of your living space:
- Sleeping – make sure you have a plan for a mattress and the right size of bedding. Nothing is worse than having to make a late-night excursion your first night in a new place because you don’t have sheets that fit the bed!
- Lighting – Note the lighting situation when you’re doing your walkthrough. Often walkthroughs are done in daylight hours, and it’s easy not to notice where there is and isn’t overhead lighting.
- Bathroom supplies – Similar to the bedding problem, you don’t want to be going out in search of somewhere to buy a towel because you realised as you were getting ready to have a shower that you don’t have one!
- Cleaning supplies – At the very least, when you move in, you’ll want to have a bucket, mop, rubber gloves, cleaning sprays, bin bags, cloths, and paper towels. If you don’t want to deal with a real vacuum right away, make sure you have a broom and dustpan and brush too.
- Basic kitchenware – Don’t overthink this one until you settle in and figure out how much you cook, what kind of food you make, etc. A basic set of pots and pans will be just fine, and the same goes for utensils and dishes – just get the basics for now. Once you have the basics and an idea of your cooking habits, you can build up your selection of baking dishes, containers, etc.
- Small Appliances – To start with, a kettle, microwave, and toaster will be your best friends here!
- Basic toolkit – This is not one you’ll want to wait to get until you need it, and a basic one will suffice that does not take up too much storage space and has the essentials you’ll need.
- Essential furniture – Furniture is expensive and hard to move, so it’s totally normal to take your time building your home furniture collection. That being said, there are a few items that are good places to start. Your bedroom should be a comfy and relaxing place, and getting a good bed frame and mattress will make a big difference. If you’re a student or working from home, a desk and comfy chair are essential. After that, start thinking about your living room furniture. A couch, comfy chair, coffee table, and end tables are all going to make your space feel homely and enjoyable to be in.
- Which things can wait? You likely won’t be able to completely furnish your first home right away, and that’s okay! More oversized furniture items like a couch, coffee table, or dining table and chairs can wait until you’ve settled in and have a better idea of how you use your space and what you want to put in it. Same for decor items like rugs, blankets, pillows, art, etc. You’ll find out what you like and don’t like as you get used to the space.
- Make a food shopping list – This might sound like an obvious thing, but it really is the best way of making sure that you don’t spend £££’s on supplies only to get home and realise you didn’t buy anything that actually goes together to create a meal.
- Don’t spend more than you earn – Another tip that sounds like common sense, but it sneaks by many of us until we get into a financial pickle. Know how much you make, how much your essentials are, and track your spending accordingly.
- Clean as you go – Nothing kills the joy of a Saturday more than having to clean your apartment that looks like a tornado went through it. Spending 10 minutes a day cleaning will ensure that you’re not dreading ‘The Big Clean’ every month.
You’re off to do one of the most exciting and freeing things – live on your own! Follow along with our checklist of tips and advice, and you’ll make your move-out smooth, fun, and stress-free.