Moving Out for the First Time: What to Do Before Flying the Coop

Moving out for the first time is one of those experiences you’ll remember forever. The extra bounce in your step when you get that shiny, new house key. The extra beats of your heart on that first night in the new place. And maybe even a bit of homesickness if it’s your first time being on your own. It’s a snapshot in time that’ll leave a lasting impression, for sure.

Maybe you’re beginning your college career on the other side of the country, or maybe you’re simply moving to a nearby neighborhood to have easier access to your new job. Maybe you’ve been saving for a while and finally feel like you can afford moving out of your parents’ house, or perhaps it’s time to take that next step in the relationship and move in with your partner

Regardless, moving out for the first time is a pivotal moment in your life. You’re going to want to put a lot of thought and preparation into it before making the leap. That’s where we come in. To help you navigate these uncharted waters and confidently go out on your own, begin your journey by considering these practical tips for moving out for the first time.

Q: At what age should you move out?
A: There is no by-the-book answer (although, for maturity reasons, you should at least be a legal adult). Instead, it’s a when-it-feels-right kind of situation. The same is true about whether you should live alone or with someone else. Before you make the final decision, however, you need to take a deep, honest look in the mirror and determine if you have what it takes to be living on your own at this stage of your life.

First, balance your heart and mind

Let’s get serious for a minute. If you have a good relationship with your family, moving out — no matter how practical it may be — won’t be easy. The love and support you’ve learned to count on has become a security blanket of sorts, always there when you need it. If you’re leaving the home you grew up in, it may be especially hard, as you’ll be leaving behind your lifelong friends and neighbors in the process. You may find yourself thinking how do I cope with moving out for the first time? Should I even do it now? Our advice? Consider this:

  • DO realize this transition is not a final goodbye. Once moved and settled, you can visit your family and friends as often as you want, and they’ll likely want to visit you, too to check out your sweet new digs. If it’s tough to see each other in person, take advantage of face-to-face phone calls — the next best thing! Focus on the excitement of this new adventure. Have intentions of meeting new people, finding fun activities, and exploring your new area. And remember: Nothing is permanent, even those sad feelings.
  • DON’T stay stuck in the past. Sure, there will be a lot of emotions in the beginning, but keeping heavy with these emotions can affect your mental health. Adopt the right attitude and keep a forward-thinking mindset. Cherish the memories of your old home, but imagine all the great upcoming moments of your new one, too — there will be plenty!

If you don’t have the best relationship with your family and moving out of your parents’ house has been a long time coming, here’s some advice for you:

  • DO stay strong and know you will create support in friendships and school/work circles when you move out.
  • DON’T leave in anger or resentment when moving out. You will be in control of when you visit your family or nearby friends, and you can create your own boundaries to maintain your peace and happiness — not a bad trade, right? Leave with big hugs and wholehearted goodbyes until next time.
A man wearing a heather gray shirt and dark pants counts a stack of $100 bills.

Then, get practical with money

Okay, now onto the good stuff. We know it’s obvious, but moving isn’t free. Or cheap. Prepare yourself to manage your own expenses, such as paying your own internet and phone bills and shopping around for car insurance and other good deals. 

How much money should I have to move out for the first time, you’re wondering? Well, a popular rule of thumb dictates your income should be around three times your rent/mortgage. So to afford $1,000/month accommodations, have an “I need a $3,000/month income” mentality. 

If your family is willing to financially support you for a little while, take advantage, gratefully and conservatively. If you have secured a college scholarship or grant, or even a student loan, see if some of it can be used towards moving costs. If working, budget yourself carefully, with reserves. Also consider this:

  • DO make a proper “Moving Out for the First Time Budget to follow each month. First, add up all the income you’ll get from all your sources. Then, add up all your non-negotiable expenses, such as rent or mortgage, car/student loans, utilities, etc. Now add some annual expenses (don’t forget to divide by 12 for a monthly amount!), such as car insurance. Add up all expenses and deduct the amount for your total income. The balance should then be considered to pay for gas, groceries, eating out, and entertainment. Finally, have a set reserve for gifts, money for a rainy day, or anything else you want to save for.
Insider Tip: From cardboard boxes and packing supplies to hiring movers or renting a truck, things add up. It’s easy to forget that it may cost hundreds of dollars (or more) to move. Keep a “moving day reserve” on the side to avoid the shock afterward. Use PODS moving services to help get you started and sorted! Also, keep in mind to rent/own a dorm, apartment, or house involves an initial deposit or down payment, too.
  • DON’T go into emergency crisis mode if the numbers don’t balance out according to what you had in mind. Go back to the drawing board and consider possibly sharing your dorm or apartment with a roommate (or three). Finding a smaller accommodation or one in a less popular area may help your wallet, too. If moving out for school, find good deals on college dorms. Some are discounted more for students, depending where they’re situated on campus. Bonus: Think of how much money you’ll be saving on a car, insurance, and gas by living on or near campus!
A young woman admires her new view as she opens white curtains surrounding a large picture window.

It’s time to nail down the specifics

Are you moving out for the first time to a college dorm or apartment? Moving in with your best friend from elementary school? Your special someone? Whatever the situation, knowing more about the location of your new home and what’s really needed inside is necessary.

  • DO, most importantly, focus on location. Stay as close to school as possible when finding college accommodations. Focus on apartments/houses near your new job. And see how far the grocery store and gas station are when searching for a new place. These things aren’t only about convenience, but they can save you a lot of time and money when it comes to transportation and last-minute urgencies.
  • DON’T be persuaded to move into that new apartment complex with the supersized pool and social hour meet-ups — that will cost hundreds of dollars more each month than the options you may have already found. The same is true if you’re falling for that beautiful townhome in the new “it” location downtown. When moving out on your own for the first time, it’s smart to keep your budget tighter than not — at least until you get used to this new way of life. Those top-of-the-line options aren’t going anywhere. And be honest with yourself… If you don’t use the pool very often, you don’t need the best one in town.
  • DO stock up on the essentials for your new digs. To save as much money as possible, when it comes to stocking up on the basics like furniture and kitchen essentials, try to snag some from your family and friends. Ask your roommates for help, too, and shop around thrift stores and online marketplaces. For reference, here’s a list of essentials to get you started:


KITCHEN Dinnerware, mugs, glassware, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, pans, cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, pot holders, dish towels, can opener, blender, toaster, coffee pot, tea kettle, cereal bowls
BEDROOM Mattress, box spring, bed frame, pillows, sheets, alarm clock, laundry hamper, trash can, curtains, dresser
BATHROOM Toilet paper/holder, paper towels, tissues, shower curtain/rod, shower/hand soap, haircare, towels, toiletries, plunger, toilet scrubber
LIVING ROOM Couch/seats, coffee table, curtains, shelving/TV stand, television, cable box/streaming equipment, internet modem/router
CLEANING SUPPLIES Vacuum, broom/mop, dustpan, trash bags, cleaning solution(s), laundry detergent, multipurpose wipes, sponges, gloves, bleach
TOOLBOX/MISC. Nails, hooks, hammer, screwdrivers, electric drill, tape measurer, leveler, socket wrench, pliers, flashlight, candles, matches, lamp, fan, hangers, iron/ironing board, batteries, extension cords
Pro Tip: Many of us tend to forget this very urgent thing, but accidents can happen. Always have a first-aid kit handy with some bandages, antiseptic ointment, ice pack, thermometer, cold medicine, ibuprofen, tweezers, and hydrogen peroxide. Some pharmacies have ready-to-go kits that you can purchase and keep in your bathroom cabinet.
A father and son embrace as they prepare for the son to move out on his own.

There’s only one thing left to do: Get moving!

Now that you are emotionally, mentally, financially and physically ready to move — let’s go!


  • DO ask if your college is affiliated with a moving company or research ones that offer student discounts. If moving out for work, see if the company offers relocation assistance.
  • DON’T do it all by yourself, if possible. Even if you only enlist packing and moving help for part of the move, it will be totally worth it. After all, it will be your new place, right? That means it will be up to you to unpack everything and get it all organized when the move is done. Save strength and time wherever you can!
  • DO use PODS storage containers and PODS Storage Centers. You can take your time packing and loading and then unloading and unpacking. You won’t even have to stress about driving a moving truck or towing your car along. PODS will pick up your container and deliver it right to your final destination!
  • DON’T rely on a confirmation. With nationwide staffing shortages, always call your family, friends, or moving company 24-48 hours before your big move day to confirm their arrival as stated. Plans can always change on a dime.


  • DO accept help! Enlist the help of family and friends to help move your boxes, furniture, and even your car, if necessary — whether you’re moving minutes from your home or thousands of miles away. It’ll be a bonding event, if anything, you’ll have extra moral support, and you’ll also save some of that precious moolah!
  • DON’T forget to thank your loved ones for the help and pay for lots of pizza or a nice meal out or two.
  • DO set realistic expectations. You likely won’t move everything at once and immediately throw things perfectly in place the day you move. Moving takes time, patience, and effort that can last weeks or even months.

These tips for moving out for the first time are designed to help you feel more confident and ready to leave the nest. Whether leaving for school or work, to explore being on your own or literally moving into a serious relationship, it can all definitely feel overwhelming. But with the right support and planning, know that you’ve got this! 

For more tips on moving — like these packing hacks from the pros — check out the PODS Blog.

Kiran Bahl is a freelance writer who loves discovering how to make something better yet simpler at the same time. She lives happily and peacefully amongst her family and enjoys dessert every day — especially after meeting a writing deadline early.

The post Moving Out for the First Time: What to Do Before Flying the Coop appeared first on PODS Moving and Storage Blog.