People Share The One Thing They Were Most Unprepared For When Moving Out On Their Own
Moving out is a pivotal moment in every young person’s life. It’s a transition from living with your parents to living on your own, where you dictate the rules in pure independence. There are many benefits that come with this major life milestone but also a great many challenges, some of which catch us completely off-guard.
Experiences such as buying your own groceries, paying your utility bills, and having to clean your own place are expected. But every now and then, a situation you’ve never handled before on your own may arise, whether it be doing your taxes by yourself or making your own medical decisions. Read on for some interesting stories about people moving out for the first time:
#1 Staying In The Loop
Having to keep in touch with other family members by calling them. My parents were always my point of contact with the rest of my family. I always knew when family gatherings or birthdays were happening because of them. As soon as I ventured out on my own, I quickly became out of the loop with things regarding my family members.
#2 Planning For Self-Care
Dealing with sickness without my mom. I once got food poisoning when my roommate was away for the weekend. I was vomiting every 30 minutes for an entire day. I was severely dehydrated and I didn’t even have the strength to walk to the pharmacy for meds and Gatorade. When I lived at home, my mom took extra care of me, and I definitely took that for granted.
#3 Adulting Surprises
I find myself faced with weird chores. It’s no longer just dishes and laundry. I now have to do things like fix the pipes in the bathroom or reapplying the weird sealant gunk in the windows. My mom taught me a lot, but what to do when your fire alarm suddenly jumps to its death and shatters to pieces was not one of them. Where do you even buy fire alarms? At one point, I just stood in a store trying to figure out what I even needed.
#4 Social Life Is More Work
When I was at school, everyone I knew was just there, so it took no effort to hang out with my friends. We’d regularly have school assemblies so we knew what our community was doing, and they brought in interesting people who had stories we could learn from. When I entered the adult world, I had to put in more effort in order to have social outlets beyond just school. There was more work involved in keeping in touch with friends and keeping those lines open.
#5 Finding Home Again
The sense of never really ever coming home again. Moving away for college, my hometown never felt like home again, and as the years piled up, I’m more of a stranger there anyway. Never really get to relax the same way in the various rentals I’ve lived in over the years, knowing there’s bills to pay and things to do to just not end up in a worse space. As the child of divorce, raised primarily by my mom, it’s even more acutely aware that I don’t have a home to go back to a decade after she died, but it remained true for even when she was alive.
#6 The Cost Of Water
Water costs money. I grew up on a farm with well water, so it was essentially free. It completely blew me away when I found out that people had to pay for tap water. It was definitely something I had to get used to once I moved downtown. To this day, I still feel bad for people in cities that don’t provide drinkable water.
#7 Minimalism Is Helpful
My experience was the opposite of most. I was surprised at how little work it was to maintain a one-bedroom apartment. I was expecting an absolute heck of chores and lack of free time. A lot has to do with decluttering before moving out and adopting a more minimalist lifestyle. Even the little things matter, like not using so many dishes or not letting your dirty laundry pile up.
#8 The Last Security Blanket
It takes a while getting used to not being around your parents, especially if you’re close with them. For the first few nights, going to bed was difficult for me because when I lived at home, whenever I retired for the night, I always felt a bit safer knowing that they were just downstairs. It was weird when that feeling was gone.
#9 A Doctor Of Your Own
Finding a new doctor. I still haven’t seen one since I moved out three years ago. When something seems to be slightly wrong, I just hope that it will get better without seeing a doctor. I’m kind of worried that I’m going to regret it. I know at some point I’m going to have to be an adult about it, but it’s definitely going to be a transition since I was so used to my parents handling my medical situations for me.
#10 No External Conflict
The lack of conflict. When I was a kid, I’d always gauge the mood of the house when I got home. I got really good at instantly knowing if my parents were okay with each other, or if they’d had a huge fight and weren’t speaking to each other (the latter situation was much more common). When I got my own place, I remember coming home, locking the door behind me, and just basking in the peaceful silence and lack of stress. It was amazing.
#11 Only You To Remind Yourself
Not having someone there to remind you of your responsibilities. I did all my own chores and often cooked my own food while still living with parents. But my mom used to yell into my room at times, saying things like, “If you don’t do your laundry now, you won’t have anything to wear for work tomorrow.” And so I’d sigh, pause my game and start on my laundry.
After moving out, I was constantly doing chores last minute so my laundry was never fully done. Only one room in my apartment would get cleaned, and I was constantly going to the corner store to get stuff for dinner instead of paying much less by making a big Walmart run It’s not that I was lazy; heck I was working 60 to 70 hours a week when I first moved out. I just needed to learn to think about chores first because I was used to being reminded by someone who already had that stuff all planned out.
#12 Let There Be Light!
Buying lightbulbs. Seriously, it never occurred to me that I would need to replace them on occasion. And there are quite a few types. The first ones I bought were about as bright as the sun, but they were also extremely wasteful. It took a bit of research to find an energy-efficient option that was still bright enough for my standards.
#13 Changing Of The Thermostat Guard
I never realized how much of a difference in cost it makes in the heating bill during winter to keep the indoor temperature 2 or 3 degrees colder than what might be comfortable. I now understand the years of my stepdad acting like an uptight guardian of the thermostat, constantly telling us to “just put another layer on!”
#14 Frugality Is A Good Thing
Dealing with judgment for being frugal. Until I lived with people who had well-off parents, I hadn’t realized there was a stigma for using the ‘cheap’ grocery store products. Apparently, ground meat can be ‘cheap’ and so can certain brands of tomatoes or broccoli. I wasn’t prepared to be criticized for where I shopped for groceries.
#15 What I Did And Did Not Do
I was no longer being blamed for messes I didn’t make. Growing up, that had always been the case. Once I moved out, I realized that the only person accountable for anything that happened in my apartment was me. If there was on the floor, I put it there. If there were dirty dishes left uncleaned, I neglected them. It was comforting to know that the only person controlling the environment was me. The amount of nagging went from constant to zero.
I also started eating better than I had been at any other point in my life. I was buying my own food, and preparing it, and enjoying it, without being criticized for my meal choice. Don’t get me wrong, I made mistakes, burned a few meals, forgot to take out the trash a few times, and skipped laundry day more than once. But all of that was on me, and me alone. It was better than living at home with family. Ultimately, I was unprepared for life outside of a toxic environment.
#16 Why We Don’t Eat All The Sweets
I planned to make chocolate chip cookie dough and eat the entire batch. It turned out, there was a reason my parents hadn’t allowed that. I ended up getting really sick, to the point where I had to be hospitalized. I couldn’t look at cookie dough for a couple of years after that. I really am a wiser adult thanks to my parents.
#17 The True Cost Of Health
I’m a recent graduate from a university in the United States. I never realized how expensive a trip to the doctor is, even with insurance. I see why a lot of adults avoid their doctor and dentist until absolutely necessary now. Growing up, I always had access to health and dental care because of my parents, but now that I’m living on my own, I realize just how inaccessible it actually is.
#18 A Lack Of External Accountability
Having absolutely no one to hold me accountable for anything. My life went wild after I had no one to answer to but myself. moved out at 16 and I wish I hadn’t. I made a lot of terrible financial and personal decisions that rippled forward into some pretty big issues later in life. Thankfully, I’ve learned from my mistakes, but I could, I would still do it over again.
#19 The Trickery Of Credit Cards
The worst part was learning how quickly you can go into debt by spending money with credit cards and never checking your account. That was an expensive lesson. It’s easy to just keep tapping your credit cards and forgetting about all of your purchases. The little buys add up. Nowadays, I make it a habit to check my account before buying anything.
#20 Hey Neighbor!
Talking to the neighbors. We lived in the countryside where you could be as introverted as you wanted to be. Unfortunately, my new community is near a major university and it’s teeming with sociologists who are big on neighborliness and combating the evils of social isolation. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s definitely something different from what I’m used to.
#21 Unexpected Ease
It was so much easier than I expected. My parents made me feel like I was generally incompetent and too irresponsible to live on my own. I finally moved out and was amazed that I could keep my place clean, cook, and handle finances on my own. Fast forward 30 years and I’m still doing really well. There’s less stress in my life now that my parents aren’t breathing down my neck.
#22 Unimportant Until You Need Them
There are some things your parents have in their house that you don’t have in yours. You end up having to go buy them so you can use them occasionally. Examples: Scotch tape, yardstick, push broom, stapler. These are not daily use items, you just need them occasionally. Yet, that doesn’t feel like enough justification to go out and buy them.
#23 Cheap Apartment Problems
How many problems starter apartments have. I had some leverage moving in because they hadn’t been able to find anyone willing to rent it for a year and a half. Before I moved in, I was able to convince the landlord to paint over the large quantities of graffiti, put shades on the windows in the bedroom and bathroom, and put knobs on the cabinets so I could open them. But the apartment still has massive water damage, mold issues and secret, unlocked doors to two other apartments (I think they’re supposed to be fire exits, but a heads-up would have been nice).
#24 Making Your Own Motivation
Realizing that a day off from work no longer entails laying around all day relaxing. It often means having to go run errands or take care of household chores. If I don’t do my dishes, there’s nobody here to “motivate” me to do them, so they just continue to pile up. If I don’t go grocery shopping, there’s no other food in the house for me to dip into until I get around to going again. I have to consciously make the effort to do things like that, on top of working 40+ hours a week. It’s hard and honestly, I’m still struggling with it a year later, but I’m trying my best.
#25 The Never-Ending Clothing
Laundry. It’s not difficult, but man is it boring and exhausting. I’ve had four bags of clean clothes just sitting in my room for the past week, taking up way too much space, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put them away. I finally did most of it today and I do feel better for it. Makes me feel kind of terrible knowing my mom did that for me every week for 18 years, on top of doing the same for my sister, herself and my dad.
#26 Always Cleaning Up After Yourself
How wrong my idea of “independence” was. Sure, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But almost every activity generates waste in some capacity that YOU need to deal with. When you’re completely on your own, you need to take accountability for all your actions because there really won’t be anyone else to blame for them.
#27 Random Apartment Stuff
All the STUFF you need to buy that isn’t clothing or food. Soap, detergent, paper towels, paper plates, baggies, aluminum foil, saran wrap… I had to start a budget for this. I’d call it apartment stuff, and put aside $50 per month for it. You get used to it, but man was it quite the obstacle to deal with at the start.
#28 I Just Want Something Comfortable!
I purposefully moved across the country after college just to get away from any possible familial help and figure everything out for myself. I struggled to find work, feed myself, and pay bills, but those were all welcome challenges. The lack of furniture, however, and learning how much it costs to get a bed, some nice shelves, and a couch—that was brutal.
#29 Where Do Adults Find Friends?
How difficult it was to make new friends. When you were in high school, you and thousands of other kids your age were stuck together for six hours a day. It wasn’t hard to find people that you connected with. But when you moved out, you lost that mandatory connectivity and had to make plans to see people.
#30 The Structure Of Life
How absolutely, ridiculously vital it is to build routines. Routines for food, laundry, cooking, medical, fitness, fun, all the little stuff in and around work. Without them, life becomes hot, sticky chaos rather quickly. Life maintenance is freaking labor intensive, and you have to fit that in with all the other stuff in your life. Routines give you a framework by which to live and grow.
#31 The Double-Edged Sword Of Freedom
How much happier I would be. Like 80% of the stuff is financial and to be honest, I had been paying for all my own stuff long before I moved out, so none of that was a surprise. But having the whole place to yourself? That’s total freedom and independence. And I never realized how much it contributed to personal happiness. However, it’s a double-edged sword. I was also unprepared for how lonely I’d be. First time moving out, I lived alone. Man, it gets really lonely at times. I finally realized why all my friends were on Tinder so much.
#32 I Need Things I Didn’t Know Existed
There are all kinds of dumb stuff you need that you don’t have. Towels? Hand Towels? Literally every kind of silverware, scissors. Wait, I thought I had scissors? Glue. WHY DO I NEED A BLENDER? Shower curtains, a vacuum. The list keeps going on and on, forever. You don’t realize how much you’re missing in your life because you’re used to your parents taking care of it all.
#33 Why Does Warmth Cost So Much?
That electric bills in the winter are freaking brutal, especially in the midwest. I had no idea that it costs so much money to keep a small apartment at a livable temperature. I averaged about $80 to $100 a month for the first few months, then about $200 for November and December. When January came and a massive ice storm hit, suddenly I was faced with a $580 electric bill that I couldn’t pay. Thank God for my mom and dad, because the electric company sure didn’t give a heck.
#34 Healthy VS Cheap Balance
I gained like 20 pounds when I moved out because all I ate was frozen pizza, instant ramen, and McDonald’s almost every day. Once I learned some basic recipes, I started to lose weight again. The fact is, instant food is way affordable than healthy stuff. It’s sad but true. Part of being an adult is learning to prioritize your health over food prices.
#35 The Worst, First, Night
The first night was the worst. I don’t know why. I don’t cry much, and I had even been on trips alone for up to a week before, so it’s not like I hadn’t been away from home before. Everyone helped me bring in my things, unpacked a little, had dinner, then hugged goodbye. When they left and I suddenly started crying. I cried for like an hour, then it was out of my system and I’ve never felt that way again in my life.
#36 You Make Your Own Happiness
Happy things don’t just happen. You decide to make them happen. All those fun events and great memories you had growing up? The birthday parties, the beach trips, the days you decided to turn the living room into a castle of sheets and cushions? My parents deliberately planned those things (or gave their own time on a whim) because they wanted me to be happy. Even if I’m tired from work, I try to plan fun, silly events and always celebrate holidays, because I realized no one’s going to do it for me anymore.
#37 All The Other Human Beings
You’re going to have to deal with crazy, hostile people. Intoxicated neighbors who mistake your apartment for theirs and try to kick your door in at 2 a.m. Homeless people in your foyer who pretend to be asleep until your back is turned and then try to rush into the building when you unlock the door. Slumlords who lie to your face about what your lease says, and laugh when you bring up “tenant law.” Cops that don’t give a heck about any of this because it’s not a college party bust where they can hand out citations.
#38 There Is Always Something, And That’s Okay
Things like groceries, cleaning, and laundry didn’t come naturally but I was expecting them. Things I wasn’t expecting were the way more infrequent things. My dad always would remind me about car related things, keeping air in my tires, changing my oil, and general repairs. Also, doctors appointments. How the heck do you decide which doctor to go to? Are there just websites with doctor reviews or something? Dealing with prescriptions was something I’d ALWAYS forget because I’d get 90-day supplies at a time, then forget them.
So many days I’d be crushing it: my apartment would be spotless, I’d have a good day at work, I’d have done my grocery shopping and laundry. Then, I’d discover my car is 1,000 miles overdue for an oil change, and it’s back to feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing again!
#39 Which Skills Pay The Bills
The reality that I had no skills to make money. I grew up being taught to take band and science classes because they made you a brighter thinker and leader. It turns out, no one hires musical talent or kids that can draw a picture of an atom. The real world wants skilled trades or hands-on skills in computers and business. So yeah, nine years later, I’m finally starting to earn an okay wage, thanks to grinding out those low paying jobs where I learned those skills.
#40 A/C And The Electric Bill
My first electric bill. My apartment had A/C, something we never had with my parents (not that I ever recall, anyway). My mom used to yell about turning off the lights ALL THE TIME, saying we needed to conserve energy. I never understood it. When I finally moved into my own place, I turned the A/C on and left it on all the time. My first electric bill came 30 days later: $311. Oh my gosh. That was more than my car payments and my insurance combined. Almost as much as my rent! I never used the A/C again and my average bill after that was $30. Sorry, mom.
#41 My Mother Didn’t Pass It Down
Cooking. I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen growing up, because it made my mom nervous to have people around her while she cooked. So the first time I was on my own and tried to cook, I had no idea what to do. I tried to make chicken tenders and turned the stove up too high. They ended up cooking on the outside and staying raw on the inside. I got sick from eating what I made and honestly, I confronted my mom about it.
It kind of annoys me that my mom wouldn’t even teach me the most basic of skills. She would talk about how she learned to cook from watching her grandmother and helping her in the kitchen growing up, so I wish that’s how I learned too. I ended up learning how to cook the same way I learned how to have intimate relations: by reading about it on the internet and then putting what I learned into practice.
#42 You Can Be Better, Be More
When I first moved out of my parent’s house at 14 years old, I was placed in a group home with about 20 other girls. I was amazed that the rules provided me with a sense of self-worth; that I could earn things that I wanted. That I would be fed if I asked. That my accomplishments would be rewarded and acknowledged. The biggest thing I wasn’t prepared for was the thought that I actually mattered and could one day be a productive member of society. Once I knew life could be better, the weight of following through was unexpected but welcomed.
#43 Food Takes Time And Energy
Food. It’s horrible. Having the energy to come back and make dinner after working 8+ hours is a lot harder than it sounds. Never mind making breakfast and lunch. You naturally want to gravitate to the easiest thing, which is fast food or delivery, which gets really expensive.
#44 Always The Unexpected Expense
For me, it was just the chance that your life could actually get screwed. Before you move out, you’re probably just going to school and having fun with your friends. Maybe working a summer job to earn a bit of spending money. Then, when you’re out in the world, you can struggle to find work. And you just have to, like, deal with it. And even if you do your best, you could still end up having your credit screwed for the next few years, with no end in sight on your debts.
You can make plans and then something comes along and takes all that progress away. Maybe your car breaks down or they cut your hours at work. Maybe you develop anxiety and depression and you can’t work a full work week, even if you wanted to. Meanwhile, you’re slowly chipping away at that debt you accrued earlier and that makes you late on your phone bill, so the late fees kick in and now all your bills are snowballing.
And what’s the solution to all this? There isn’t one, that’s just your life now for the next 10 years. After that, you’ve dealt with all your debt, maybe you could buy a house like a decent 30-year-old. Hah, fat chance. It’s another five years until your credit is good enough for a loan. Maybe you want to go back to school, but now you have to juggle it with work to pay the bills. I tell you, life would be a lot easier if you could prepare for this stuff in advance.
#45 Checks, Balances, And Insurances
Credit checks. I thought I would’ve been able to find an apartment easy. Nope. Also, I didn’t know that you have to sometimes pay a deposit, plus the last and current month’s rent to even get considered. I remember one complex made it a requirement to have apartment insurance or something like that. This waws all stuff I never knew about before.