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Moving Out For the First Time Checklist: Everything You Need

Moving soon? Get organized with our free moving checklist.

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By clicking submit, you consent to receive marketing communications from Updater and acknowledge that your information is 100% protected by, and subject to, our Privacy Policy.

Moving out for the first time can be such an exhilarating experience. However, it can also be an uncertain period, especially if you didn’t plan your move properly. There is a lot to think about, from planning and shopping to packing and furnishings. We have compiled an ultimate moving-out checklist to ensure you have all the essentials to begin successful adult life. Here is our list of everything you need:

Tips for moving out for the first time

Before we embark on the items you need for your move, let’s focus on the tips to keep in mind when planning your move:

Put your finances in order

Living at home means fewer financial responsibilities, but all this will change once you move out for the first time. Now that you will be living independently learn to budget your finances prudently to live a debt-free life. The following are some of the budgeting tips to help you get started:

  • Track your income and expenses: Determine your monthly income vs. expenses. List all your essential costs such as car, groceries, rent, and phone bills. Next, figure out the income you will need to afford each item.
  • Plan your move budget: Make a list of all the items you need for your move and their costs. Include the cost of hiring a moving company and get a fixed quote as early as possible.

Find a steady job

You probably need an ideal entry-level job that can cover your rent and other expenses. If you can’t find a good job, don’t move out unless you have an alternative plan to gain some stability. Besides, you have a lot to learn as an adult, and no place will teach you faster than the workplace.

Find an ideal place to live 

Once you have figured out your finances, be sure you are happy with your location. There are many places to rent a good apartment online, including social media and listing platforms such as Zillow and While at it, remember to stick to your rent budget by avoiding the temptations of fancier locations that can break your budget. Other things to keep in mind include:

  • Choose a location close to your workplace and other places of interest such as gym, park, restaurants, etc.
  • Ensure your new home is in a safe place. If the rent seems too low, check the crime rate on that street before you commit.
  • Determine the presence of public transportation in your area. Good public transportation can make your social life livelier and help you avoid car expenses.

Get a credit card

Add a credit card to your moving out the first-time checklist. If you have never had one, start with a secured credit card to help keep your spending under control and make payments on time. Missing payments can have a huge impact on your credit score. Check your credit score through a credit monitoring service and strive to build a positive credit score.

Consider health insurance

Health insurance is a critical item to consider when moving out for the first time. Living in your parent’s home can make you invisible to health expenses, but all this will change once you live independently. A good health insurance policy will help you meet basic health bills for unavoidable illnesses like flu. If you are under 26 and live in the USA, you may still benefit from your parent’s health plan. However, if you are older, you will need your own health insurance plan. Check with your employer to determine whether you can get an affordable federal health insurance option.

Get renters insurance

Now that you are settling in your new home, you will probably acquire some prized items such as expensive jewelry, a smart TV, and others. Should an unfortunate event cause damage or loss of these items, you can avoid the cost of replacing them alone with renters insurance. Renters’ insurance policies typically have low monthly payments while providing full replacement coverage. Compare different policies to find the best plan that meets your needs.

Update your driver’s license

If you are over 21, you need to update your driver’s license accordingly. If you obtained your driver’s license or ID before your 21st birthday, it might feature a red letter with the words “under 21.” Renew your license to have these words removed. It is also important to provide the DMV with your new address. Besides, if you are moving out of state, find out how to update your driver’s license and car registration to avoid trouble with law enforcement.

Hire a professional moving company 

This is a crucial tip to remember when planning to move out for the first time. Working with a professional moving company helps you avoid the hassle and stress of the entire process. The moving company will take care of the entire burden, so you have adequate time to handle small details. Compare quotes from different companies to ensure you get a good deal and stay on top of your finances.

Practice good habits

You must make inevitable changes to your lifestyle before you move out. This includes keeping an eye on your money, tidying up after yourself, and setting yourself up with a daily routine to prepare for the workplace schedule. If your parents have been buying all your essentials, start buying some of them yourself to learn good spending habits.

Make a list of apartment basics

Moving out for the first time means equipping your own apartment. It is essential to list all the apartment basics you need for comfortable living. The upfront costs of furnishing and decorating an apartment can be staggering. If you are on a tight budget, ask your parents if they have old pieces they are willing to donate. You can also consider getting a roommate to split the costs with them.

Community connections

If you are not moving out of the city, you may need to get some new community connections. Living on your own requires a reliable support network outside of your family. Finding an ideal community is a crucial thing to do before you move out. You can leverage apps specifically for meeting new friends or joining a group such as Meetup. You can also make new friends from your workplace. Consider asking your colleagues to join you for a drink or a workout class. 

Prepare emotionally

It is okay to feel anxious or overwhelmed by the thought of moving out of your parent’s safety net. Focus on the positive aspects of your move and purpose to stay optimistic. Think of how moving to a new place can expose you to different cultures, lifestyles, attitudes, outlooks, and career opportunities.

Clean first

Usually, you will get the keys to your new place several days before your move-in date. Make sure you go over to your apartment and do some thorough cleaning ahead of your move-in date. This ensures you avoid the hassle of cleaning around boxes.

Measure ahead of time

A common mistake most people make is not taking the time to measure their new apartment. You need to measure everything from doorways, rooms, and hallways to elevators. This ensures you move items that can get into your new place and fit nicely in the available spaces.

Take care of utilities ahead of time

Just because water and electricity were on when you were looking at the apartment doesn’t mean it will be on when on your move-in date. To avoid disappointments, determine the utilities included on your rent and those you need to take care of ahead of time. You should also schedule your cable and internet installation a few days before you move. Installations rarely get completed on schedule. 

Checklist of the things you need when moving out

You definitely need to do some shopping whether you are moving to a furnished or unfurnished place. Some of the things are essential, and you should buy them before leaving your parent’s house. Here is a list of things to buy before and after you move.

Checklist of things to buy before the move

The following is a list of essential items to make you as comfortable as possible the first day and night in your new place:

  • Bedding – you most certainly need bedding such as a mattress, pillows, mattress topper, bedsheets, and duvet.
  • Curtains – curtains guarantee optimum privacy while keeping in the heat. You also need curtains to get a restful night’s sleep.
  • Cleaning supplies – all the unloading will leave your house untidy. It is a good idea to buy basic cleaning supplies such as hoover, cloths, bin liners, antibacterial spray, toilet cleaner, and toilet paper.
  • Kitchen basics – some of the kitchen basics include plates, mugs, and other kitchen appliances. Other things to keep on your list include food such as snacks, coffee, or tea. You may also need to do some shopping for your dinner cooking. 
  • Electrics – ensure you have batteries and extension lead. You should also pack all the chargers you will need.
  • Toolkit – a toolkit will come in handy when fixing things in your new home. You will need a hammer, screwdrivers, and nails for any repairs and when opening boxes.
  • First aid kit – all the unpacking and rearrangement may leave you with some cuts and other injuries. Ensure you have with you a first aid kit with such items as painkillers, a box of plasters, and antiseptic cream.

Checklist of what to buy afterward

Once you have unpacked, it is time to do some shopping. Some of the items you need may seem so obvious, but it is crucial to put them down on a list. Here is a list of items to buy afterward:

Living room items

If you are planning a housewarming party or considering inviting your friends over to your new home, you want your living room to be fully set up and functional. The following are some of the items to put in your living room:

  • Coffee table.
  • Sofa/couch.
  • Extra lighting.
  • Tv and cable box.

Kitchen items

Even if you are planning to get take-out food for your first dinner in your new home, you will still need to prepare homemade meals at some point. When you first take a look at your kitchen checklist, you can easily become overwhelmed by the amount of stuff on the list. However, go through your list and decide what you need for the first few days as you buy the others at a later date. Some of the essential things in your kitchen checklist include:

  • Table and chairs.
  • Full set of dishes including mugs, glasses, cutlery, bowls, and plates.
  • Pots and pans such as a frying pan, stockpot, and saucepan.
  • Utensils like knives, chopping boards, whisk, serving spoons, cups, and plates.
  • Can opener and bottle opener.
  • Appliances such as toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge.

Bathroom essentials

It being your first apartment, chances are the home had a previous tenant. Your bathroom may have been left in disarray, and it is a good idea to give it a nice clean-up. Ensure you have the following items ready for your new bathroom:

  • Cleaning stuff like toilet brush and plunger.
  • Bin.
  • Bath towels.
  • Hand soap and towel.
  • Toiletries storage.
  • Bedroom items.
  • Bedframe.
  • Clothing storage.
  • Laundry bin.
  • Mirror.

Miscellaneous items

There is also a category of small but crucial items that you should not look over. These include:

  • Lamp.
  • Flashlight.
  • Hangers.
  • Alarm clock.
  • Fire alarm.
  • Batteries.
  • Power strips.
  • Extensions.
  • Router/modem.
  • Iron and ironing board.

Moving out for the first time checklist: What else should you consider? 

Apart from the essential items you need for your new home, here are some ideas to consider to make sure your moving-out experience is as enjoyable and comfortable as possible:


Moving out for the first time comes with substantial financial responsibilities. If you want a nicer place but can’t afford the rent, you can add a roommate to your moving out for first-time checklist. You can find a roommate by posting in your city’s apartment-hunting social media groups. You can also reach out to friends working in the same locality as you.

Meal service

If your budget allows, consider adding a meal service to diversify your diet. Cooking for yourself can be challenging when just starting out in adult life. Meal service can help you save time, money, and effort on grocery shopping, meal planning, and researching recipes.

Magazines subscriptions

You can have your favorite magazines delivered to your doorstep with a magazine subscription service. Having a rich list of magazines on your reading table can help you kill boredom while giving you a new perspective on your life and work.

House plants

Having house plants can help you learn to take care of something other than yourself. Before you bring in your favorite pet, such as a dog, cat, or goldfish, start with a plant since it is an easy item to add to your moving out for the first time checklist. Start with a houseplant that is easy to keep alive before upgrading to those requiring more attention. Eventually, you will gain the skills and confidence needed to take care of a pet.

Home décor

The right apartment décor can make your new place homely and inviting. If you need ideas to make your apartment feel like home, consider searching for inspiration in magazines and online platforms such as Pinterest. Get as creative as possible about your space while sticking strictly to your budget. If you are on a budget, you can make your space homey with cheaper printed photos, affordable wall hangings, and simple lighting.

Gym membership

Starting an adult life means you have to take care of yourself. One way to avoid stress and live healthily is to stay as active as possible. Check out gym options in your locality and consider getting a gym membership. You can also determine whether your employer provides wellness benefits like discounted memberships. If a gym is not your option, opt for a fitness class to achieve the same goals. Becoming a regular class attendee is a great way to stay healthy and make new friends.

Library card

Your local library is a valuable resource that should find its way into your nice-to-have list. Occasionally you may need a place to sit down and enjoy a book or use Wi-Fi without a requirement to buy coffee. Besides, in some cities, a library card provides discounted access to cultural attractions such as museums. No matter your intentions with it, a library card is a crucial tool that can make your moving out for the first time experience fun.

Quality interview outfit

It would be nice to have at least one quality interview outfit on your moving out for the first time checklist. No matter your job situation, a power suit and great pair of shoes can make you look professional during official situations such as a job interview.

Prepare to move out

Moving out for the first time can seem such an overwhelming experience, but with adequate preparation, you are going to be ready to take on the world. If you follow the checklists on the things to have for your new apartment, you should be ready to go when your move-in day arrives. Check out our other moving guides and tips for a hassle-free move-out experience. 

Moving soon? Get organized with our free moving checklist.

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By clicking submit, you consent to receive marketing communications from Updater and acknowledge that your information is 100% protected by, and subject to, our Privacy Policy.

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