How to Move Out of Your Parents’ House (With a Checklist)

How to Move Out of Your Parents’ House

Bailey had been living at home with his parents for three years. The question “Should I move?” had always in the back of his mind, but, for a while, living at home and saving his money just made sense. Plus, if he was honest with himself, the thought of moving out of his parents’ place usually filled him with a curious blend of anxiety, sadness, and only a touch of excitement. And generally, for Bailey, it was easier to feel anxious and sad about moving out than it was to feel excited.

Also, his parents were pretty awesome. He loved watching Game of Thrones with his dad (save for the occasional, ahem, awkward scene), and his mom was both an amazing cook and one of his best friends.

But Bailey knew how it went. He had started reading more, and he had run across a quote that moved him: “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” Bailey realized that he couldn’t keep waiting around for something to happen. He realized that by putting off the decision, he was, in fact, making a decision—he was simply floating in the stream. He looked downstream a little, and he didn’t like what he saw 10 years downstream.

Bailey had a moment of clarity. He knew that, in a sense, this was his “do or die” moment. If he didn’t start taking steps to move out now, he might never do it. It was this thought that convinced Bailey it was time to take the leap.

When he told his mother the news she was devastated—for the past three years the two of them had been close in that way that only a mother and son can be. He could talk to his mom about anything. Particularly, he enjoyed that special type of friendship you can enjoy with your parents when you finally understand that your parents are real people that had a life before they became your parents.

Nevertheless, Bailey knew what he had to do. After the tears (and his promise to call regularly), his parents understood and even respected his decision. It was time to set out on his own adventure.

Are you ready? Good. We’ll walk you through everything you will need to know and do as you get started on this exciting adventure.

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Moving Out of Your Parents House

If you’re like Bailey and you live at home with your parents, you’re not alone—as of 2017, 31% of millennials between the ages of 25-35 still live with Mom and Dad.

And, it makes a whole lot of sense—between massive student loans, car payments, and humble entry-level salaries, making the move to live with the ‘rents for a few years post-graduation can often be a smart decision. After all, you can’t beat free rent.

However, as we all know, there comes a moment when we must leave the nest—an experience that is admittedly bitter-sweet.

Anytime you are moving out of your parents’ house, one of the hardest parts (besides dealing with a potentially tearful mother) is figuring out your first step. In this article, we are going to help you get through all the obstacles that you might encounter. Here is how to move out of your parents’ house.


How Much to Save Before Moving Out

When moving out of your parent’s house, you don’t want to move back in. That’s why it’s so important to start with the question—how much to save before moving out? Answering this question is your first step.

A good rule of thumb is three to six months of living expenses. What really matters here, though, is whether you are moving out with a job or without a job. If you are moving out of your parents’ house without a job, well, we recommend waiting. Take advantage of that free rent until you find a steady source of gainful employment.

However, sometimes the moment is the moment and it’s just time to move, even if you don’t have a job lined up. Some financial wizards will tell you three months of living expenses is enough, but in this case, we always recommend six.

See below for an example of how to calculate your monthly expenses.

Monthly Expense Dollar Amount
Rent $800
Utilities $50
Insurance $50
Cellphone Bill $35
Groceries $200
Gas & Parking $50
Weekend Spending Money $100
Total $1285

Now, if you add a 10% buffer (which we recommend) to your $1285, your monthly budget comes out to roughly $1400. So, before moving out of your parent’s house, you should consider saving between $4,200 and $8,400. If you are less risk averse, or if you already have a solid job lined up, consider saving 2-3 months of living expenses at the very least.

A common mistake people make when budgeting is underestimating how much they will need. For example, you may think you can do your weekends in under $100. But let’s be real. $100 is not much to work with—it’s just a couple meals out, a few drinks at a bar and an Uber ride home. And that’s just one weekend!

So, rather than creating a budget blindly, we recommend you look back over your old bank statements (as painful as that might be) and record how much you have actually spent in the above categories. That way you’ll have a realistic idea of how much you’ll need to budget to maintain your current lifestyle. You may also realize you’ve been spending a lot more than you thought in certain categories.

Finally, we recommend looking into some budgeting software. Sites like Mvelopes, Mint, and You Need a Budget offer easy, affordable tools for managing your money. Or, if you’re looking for a simpler (cheaper) option, consider using an online budget calculator and then tracking your money manually in an Excel spreadsheet.


Things You Need When Moving Out

Okay, so you know how much to save before moving out and you’ve drafted up a budget—now it’s time to figure out the things you need when moving out. We’ve put together a short list of a few essential things you need when moving out. For a more detailed list, head to the bottom of this article and check out our “Moving Out of Your Parent’s House” Checklist.

  • A budget (which we already covered). Most importantly, you need a budget. Yes, we covered this in the previous section. If you just skimmed it, we recommend hopping back up there and taking a better look. Before ever stepping foot into your new place, be sure to have a plan for how to manage your money.
  • A bed. A lot of times, young people won’t even fuss with a bed frame, they will just take their bed and throw it somewhere on the floor of their room. Depending on how you want to set up your room stylistically, this may not be a bad idea. Regardless, just be sure you have a bed to sleep on.
  • The necessities. These include the not-so-fun stuff that you need to live–– we’re talking toilet paper, a trash can, trash bags, cups, forks, knives, etc. You can find more on these types of items in our checklist at the end of this article.

With that said, the term “necessity” changes from person to person. The must-haves will depend on you and what you consider to be an essential part of a comfortable lifestyle. We encourage you to make a list of essential things you need when moving out.

But that task can be a little daunting, so here’s a helpful way to think about it. Think of your life in five categories: cleanliness, sleep, leisure, nutrition, and exercise. Then, ask yourself what you will need in each of these areas:

  1. What will I need to keep myself and my environment clean?
  2. What will I need to get a great night’s sleep?
  3. What will I need to stay entertained and grow as a human being when I am not at work?
  4. What will I need to prepare my meals?
  5. What will I need to stay fit and healthy?

When you think in these five categories, it will become much easier to determine what is essential and what is not.

A Final Piece of Life Advice

Before we wrap this up and get to the checklist we promised, we wanted to leave you with one crucial piece of advice—stay in touch with your parents. Yes, glancing at your phone and seeing a missed call from Mom can induce eye rolling. We’ve all been there. Yet we all also need to realize that one day those missed calls will stop.

As Evan Stephens Hall muses at the end of his song ‘Old Friends,’ “I should call my parents when I think of them / I should tell my friends when I love them.”

It may not be a bad idea to schedule a call each week—maybe it’s every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Find a time that works with your schedule and give your parents a call, even if it’s for five minutes.

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Now, without further ado, here’s that checklist.

How to Move Out of Your Parent’s House: The Checklist

  Hire movers (optional)

3-6 Months of Living Expenses

Detailed Budget

Comfy Bed with Comforter/Sheets


Trash bags

Cleaning supplies & Sponge(s)

Food & Water

Shower Curtain

Area Rug (optional)

Small Table

Lamp(s) (optional)

T.V. & T.V. Stand (optional)



Pots & Pans

Other Kitchenware––Can Opener, Bottle Opener, Colander, etc.

Bathroom Supplies–– Toilet Paper, Plunger, Bath Towels


Blinds & Curtains

Ironing Board & Steamer


First-Aid Kit


Laundry Hamper, Detergent, and Dryer Sheets

Furniture––Desk, Chair, and Dresser


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