Moving away from home for the first time can be an overwhelming, emotional experience. Maybe you’re going away to post-secondary school, travelling the world after high school or heading off to college. Maybe you’re moving to a new city for the benefit of your career.
Packing up your life as you’ve known it and hitting the road can be tough, as well as rewarding. You may be leaving the comfort of the nest, but on the up-side, there’s no one to tell you to go to bed, clean up your stuff, or what to do.
But before the party can begin, there are a few important things you’ll need to consider.
What Should You Take and What Should you Leave Behind?
It goes without saying that moving into your own apartment, condo or house means you’ll need to fill it with a few common pieces of every home. You’ll need to equip yourself to cook, clean, eat, sleep, and provide entertainment. Inevitably, you’re going to need a few things.
Further, space can be an issue for first-time movers. You can’t possibly take everything you own with you. It’s important to make a solid list of things you’ll absolutely need, and a separate list of things that are just going to take up extra room and make your move less enjoyable.
Leave the plethora of posters and books you’ve been collecting since you were a kid. Consider how much use you’ll get out of your mountain bike, snowboard, skateboard and other sports equipment. If it’ll just collect dust, see if your parents will store it for you, or explore the option of renting a storage space at an off-site facility.
What’s Are Necessities?
This isn’t always the best time to be nostalgic. Packing up your life into a few boxes means inevitably re-discovering a few things that you’d forgotten about that can hold significant memories for you. Leave them behind as well – they’re not relevant to your first move, and they’ll be right where you left them. This rings particularly true if you’re moving into a studio or bachelor apartment where space is a precious commodity.
This goes for stuff like excess clothes, extra shoes, home gym equipment, favourite magazines, games, DVDs, etc. It’s all secondary to your primary concern: making sure you’ve got what you need to get by and begin your new journey.
If you’re moving in with a few friends, make a detailed plan so you’re positive everyone’s not bringing a dining room set of cutlery and pans. Plan out who will provide what, helping each of you alleviate some of the stresses of moving for the first time.
If this is proving difficult, consider going for a test run and stay a couple of weeks with a friend or relative who has their own place. Assess if living on your own is a good decision for you. If you’ve accepted a job in a new city, try to head there for a weekend in advance, gauging how you’ll get around in your new neighbourhood. This can be a good way to see what you’re missing when it comes time to cloth yourself, make a meal, or find transportation.
If it’s paramount that ALL of your things accompany you to your new abode, consider having them delivered at a later date, or making the trip home for a holiday or special occasion with plans to bring them back with you then.
There are bonuses to taking the hand-out’s offered to you by your family and friends – for starters you won’t have to shell out the extra finances to provide these essential things for yourself. If you choose to accept the help, you have to decide whether or not you’re capable of enlisting the help of your friend with the pick-up truck, or whether the help of a professional moving service is a justifiable cost.
Moving a mattress/box spring, a dresser, and an entertainment unit can be difficult if you’re still driving around in a 2-door hatchback. Considering hiring movers to help you quickly and efficiently move your newly acquired second-hand stuff from one address to another can be cheaper than buying a new living room set, pending you’re moving across the country or province. Price out the pros and cons of each, and make the best financial decision possible.
You’ll need to weigh out the options when it comes to selecting a suitable place to call home as well. Consult rental websites and classifieds to seek out a space that compliments your lifestyle and chequebook. Maybe this means renting a place that’s close to your school, new office, or has easy access to public transportation. Are you going to be happy in a grungy suburban basement, or is a slick inner city condo the best fit for you? Will you entertain the thought of roommates to help ease the financial burden of rent and utilities, or are you more of a lone wolf?
Aside from professional moving advice, keep it touch with your folks and your friends from back home. Nothing makes a big transition like moving out easier than reminding yourself that you’ve got a slew of people supporting you. Reach out a couple of times per week to catch up. No matter how old you are, you’re going to miss home, and your parents will probably miss you, too. If it’s possible, head home once a month for a good home-cooked meal – just try to not bring all of your dirty laundry with you every time.
You’re going to encounter your fair share of surprises, as living on your own is an integral part of growing up. Be accepting of new personalities, new spaces, new cultures and new ideas – maybe you’ll just learn a thing or two.