How to Leave Home for the First Time

Four Parts:Making the Appropriate PreparationsGetting Your Finances in OrderTiming When to LeaveTalking to Your Family

Leaving home for the first time is extremely stressful and difficult. While there are a number of reasons for leaving home – college, work, or travel – all of us face the same challenges. We have to make a huge number of preparations, time our move well, and deal with family. Even in the best of circumstances, the anxiety that can come from all of this can be overwhelming. Fortunately, though, with a little work and some thought, you can get ready to make your move as enjoyable as possible.

Part 1
Making the Appropriate Preparations

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    Secure a place to live. Perhaps the first step you should take when making preparations to leave home is to secure a place to live. Ultimately, without a place to live, you’ll have a tough time managing a job, school, or anything else in your life. As a result, make this search a priority.
    • Talk to friends or family in the area where you plan on living.
    • Search online websites that are dedicated to real estate rentals or sales.
    • Contact a Realtor or a property management firm in the area you’ll be moving to find a suitable place to buy or rent.
    • If you’re a student, contact your college or university for a list of recommended student housing solutions. You might consider an on-campus dormitory.
    • Think about enlisting potential roommates. You might also think about renting or subletting a room from someone who already has a home. Having roommates will drastically cut down the cost of renting a home.
    • Find out exactly what date you’ll be able to move into your new home.[1]
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    Set up your utilities. After you’ve got a place to live and know when you can move in, you need to set up your utilities. Without setting up your utilities, it will be very hard to function in your new home.
    • Important utilities you need to think about usually include: electricity, water, and cable and internet. Depending on your region and municipality you might also need to consider a natural gas provider, trash pickup, and sewer service.
    • Ask your landlord or real estate agent about the utility companies that serve the property you’ll be living on.
    • If you’re moving in with someone who already has utilities set up, talk to that person about how utilities will be split.
    • Contact all of your utility providers and arrange a day for them to turn the utilities on.
    • If you’re starting new service, you may need to pay a deposit or connection fee.[2]
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    Line up transportation. Now that you’ve got a home and utilities ready to roll, you will need to arrange for transportation for your move. Depending on your circumstances, you’ll need to arrange travel and transportation to your new home. Either way, it is important to think about transportation as soon as you can.
    • If you’re moving and have a lot of stuff to bring with you (like furniture), you’ll need to look into renting a moving truck. Make sure you measure your furniture and other things you’ll be moving, so that you will have enough space.
    • If you’re moving and don’t have a lot of stuff, you might just be able to move it in a car, SUV, or a truck. Use your own vehicle, or a friend or family member’s to move your stuff.
    • If you’re just moving across town, consider moving your stuff slowly over the course of a few weeks. [3]
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    Try to line up a support network. One important thing to have as you move out of the home is a support network. Whether you’re moving far from home, or just around the corner, you should invest some time in making sure that you’ll have friends and family available to support you emotionally (and to socialize with). This is important, as without a support network, you may feel isolated.
    • If you’re going off to college, there is a good chance you might know a few people who are going to the same school. Try to get their contact information ahead of time, so you’ll be able to meet up with them.
    • Even if you’re just moving across town, try to get a handle of how far your friends and family will be. Also, see if you have any friends and family close to where you’ll be living. Just having someone 10 minutes away could make a world of difference.
    • If you’re moving to a town or city where you don’t know anyone, consider joining social clubs or similar groups in order to make friends.[4]
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    Pack your belongings. After you’ve lined everything up, you’ll need to pack up all your belongings. Next to physically moving your stuff, packing can be one of the most stressful things you’ll deal with. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and think about what you need to take.
    • Buy plenty of boxes to pack your stuff.
    • Pack systematically. Move through your dressers and bedroom furniture piece-by-piece. Don’t forget anything.
    • Make piles or stacks of like-kind items. If you’ve got games spread out, put all of your games together before you put them into a box.[5]

Part 2
Getting Your Finances in Order

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    Secure enough money to pay your one-time expenses. Moving is an expensive endeavor. You need to make sure you have enough money to pay for initial housing costs, moving expenses, and expenses after you’ve settled in. Having enough money to pay the bills is critical to your success being on your own. You need to plan accordingly and accumulate as much money as you can for your move.
    • Be prepared to buy items you may not have thought about. One of the benefits of living at home is that your parents, guardians, and family have gone to the trouble and expense of buying all of the little things you need every day. After you out, you won’t have this benefit.
    • Have your security deposit and first month’s rent (or mortgage payment) ready and available.
    • Always keep at least some money in reserve for a rainy day.[6]
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    Make a list of things you'll need to buy. If you're moving into a place of your own, you'll most likely need a wide variety of things that you don't already have. Before you move out, you need to make a list of everything you'll need for your new place.
    • Plan to buy furniture. While you may be able to put a lot of furniture off, chances are you'll need to buy a bed (or futon or air mattress), a desk, and some chairs and/or a couch.
    • Be ready to buy a lot of little things. Little things can include dishes, silverware, cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, and more.
    • Consider shopping at thrift stores for a lot of the stuff you'll need.
    • If you'll be paying for everything by yourself, make sure that you have enough money saved up. Do not plan on paying for these one-time items out of your monthly budget.
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    Find a job, if you’ll need one. Before you leave home, you should find a job if you’ll need one. Ultimately, finding a job is the best way to support yourself once you are on your own and out of your house. Without the financial security offered by a job, you’re new status will be in constant jeopardy.
    • If you’re a college student moving out of your parents’ home, consider finding a part time job or even a full time job to supplement any money you’ll be getting from your parents or from financial aid.
    • If you’re moving out, and aren’t going to college, make sure you’ve got a full time job lined up before you take the big leap.
    • Ultimately, whatever you’ll be doing moving out of the house, you will need to make sure you have enough money to pay all of your new expenses.[7]
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    Create a budget. After you've secured a job (if needed) and saved enough money to pay your initial expenses, you need to create a budget to help you manage your finances. Creating a budget will make sure that your income (wherever it is derived from) matches or exceeds your expenses.
    • Add up all of your necessary expenses. This will include rent, utilities, gasoline, basic groceries, and more.
    • Subtract your necessary expenses from your income (financial aid, money from parents, money from work), and see what you have.
    • If you have money left over after basic expenses, you can choose to allocate some or all of your extra money to entertainment, recreation, or savings.
    • If you don't have enough to pay your necessary expenses, you need to consider a job with higher pay, a part time job, or finding a cheaper place to live. After this, if you still don't have enough money, you should consider postponing leaving home.[8]

Part 3
Timing When to Leave

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    Time your move based on when your job or school starts. For most people leaving home for the first time, the reason for leaving is related to either college or a new job. If this is you, you need find out when the semester starts or when you need to report for your new job. Once you get this information, time your move appropriately.
    • If you’re moving for school, make sure you have plenty of time to get adjusted before the semester begins. You should have at least two weeks prior to college starting in order to complete your move, stock up on supplies at home, get school supplies, and settle in.
    • If you’re moving for work, make sure you have at least a weekend to get settled into your new home. Ultimately, though, more time is better.
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    Talk to friends and family about when they can help you move. Before you move, you should talk to your friends and family to see if they’ll be available to help you move when the time comes. This is important, as moving is always made a lot easier when you have people who care about you there to help.
    • Depending on when your lease, job, or school starts, you may be able to time your move around the schedules of your friends and family.
    • Consider doing a partial move on your own, and then enlisting friends and family for the rest of the move when they are available.
    • Remember that enlisting your friends and family in moving is not only about actual physical moving, but about emotional support as well.[9]
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    Know the move-in date at your new residence. Before you do anything related to the physical act of moving, you need to pin down exactly when you can move into your new home. This is extremely important as you’ll have to time everything else around your move-in date.
    • When you talk to your new landlord, make sure to get a concrete move-in date in writing.
    • If you’re purchasing a home, make sure you have a closing date set before making any arrangements. In most states, you will take position of the home right after signing the closing documents.
    • Try to put off other moving related responsibilities, like turning on utilities, and more, until you have a specific date that you will move in. However, if you are anxious, you can go ahead and set up accounts with your utilities to save you time once you have a date.[10]

Part 4
Talking to Your Family

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    Talk to your family, if your move is unexpected. After you’ve decided you want to move, you should sit down and have a real discussion with your family. This conversation will help soften the blow or sad feelings your family may feel.
    • Tell your parents you need to talk. Say something like “We should talk about my future.”
    • Tell them “you love them,” but you’ve got to strike out on your own.
    • If you’re moving for college, they may expect this. If you’re moving to pursue a love interest, a job in another city, or simply because you want a change of scenery, you should tell them.[11]
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    Initiate a conversation with friends and family about how you’ll stay in touch. Start a conversation with your friends and family about how you’ll stay in touch. This is extremely important, as not only will your friends and family want to hear from you, but you’ll likely need the support that they’ll provide through conversations or visits.
    • Talk to your friends and family and ask them if there are special days or times that they would like to hear from you.
    • Set up times when your friends and family will visit you, or when you’ll visit them.
    • The more ways you can stay in touch, the better.[12]
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    Leave your contact information with your friends and family. Before you leave, you should go out of your way to provide your new contact information to your friends and family. Not only will doing this enable them to contact you (or visit), but it will let them know that you’re thinking of them and want to stay in contact.
    • Make copies of your contact information, including phone number, address, and email address.
    • Distribute the copies to friends and family.
    • Let your friends and family know that you want to continue to talk as often as possible.[13]


  • It’s important to understand that leaving home should not make you feel as if you are doing something wrong. Understand that you’re doing what you feel is best and that, in the long run, your absence will serve your future.

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Categories: Creating Life Balance