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Tips for Moving Out for the First Time

Apr 27, 2022

Figuring out what to bring when moving out the first time can be taxing for those who do not know how to approach their moving day. The following will help you make the most out of your first move-out experience by giving you tips on how to budget, remain organized, and on what essential belongings you might want to consider bringing with you to your new home.

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How to Make Your First Move-Out Successful

Moving out of your home for the first time can be daunting. There is a lot more to moving out than just packing your belongings and settling into your new home.

Below, learn about top considerations to keep in mind when moving for the first time.

Create a Budget

When moving out for the first time, you will want to create a budget. Your budget should consist of a list of expenses and income to track how much money you have to spend. A budget for your first time moving does not have to be too complicated.

Your first-time move-out budget should include:

  • Emergency fund of $1,000 to $2,000
  • Income
  • Moving expenses
  • Rent
  • Electricity
  • Heating and gas
  • Cable and internet
  • Wi-Fi
  • Streaming services, if applicable
  • Car payments and loans
  • Other future expenses, if applicable

Your moving expenses may include the rental truck cost and professional mover fee. These two costs will be relevant if your friends and family aren’t available to help you transport your belongings to your new place of residence.

To figure out your budget for a first-time move, you can either do it yourself in Excel Spreadsheets or use an online budget calculator.

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Average Cost of Moving Out for the First Time

Depending on whether or not you are remaining local or moving out of state, your first-time move costs can average anywhere between $400 and $7,000. This does not include the down payment (usually one month of rent) your new landlord or seller may request.

Furthermore, if you choose to use a professional moving company to help you with your move, you can expect your costs to rise to $8,000.

Find the Right Place

Things to know when moving out the first time include potentially lowering your standards when finding your first place. Nicer apartments or condos typically cost more than a first-time mover can afford.

If you would like to live in a nicer space, then looking for roommates could be the best option. With roommates, you can split the cost of rent and utilities. This option can also help you save so you can one day afford to get your own space.

When looking for your new home, you will want to understand the types of apartments and their sizes. The following table covers the three most common apartment spaces and their average square footage. Keep in mind that depending on your location, the sizing of apartments may vary.

  • Garden (714 sq. ft.): Typically 1- or 2-bedroom and bath with shared amenities and is pet-friendly
  • Studio (472 sq. ft.): 1-bedroom and bath with an open floor plan
  • Loft (500 sq. ft.): Similar to Studio but with higher ceilings, exposed beams, and lots of sunlight

Before looking and selecting an apartment, make sure you have an idea of what you would like. Decide on how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and floorplan type you would like your new apartment to have.

Also, include any amenities that you would need. Amenities include parking, common areas, a swimming pool, or a gym. Make sure to keep your idea of your new home realistic in comparison to your budget.

Set a Moving Date

Knowing when you are moving will help you to remain organized and prepared. Your set moving date should be close to the time your landlord expects you to move in.

Clean Your Space

If you’re renting your old residence, one way to earn your deposit back is to conduct a move-out cleaning. You can either choose to do it yourself or hire a professional cleaning service.

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Trying to clean your new space in the middle of your move can be stressful, so it is recommended that you think about hiring a professional cleaning service. This will give you peace of mind in knowing that the cleaning is being done and done right. Also, landlords typically prefer when a professional cleans the space.

The best way to move into your new home is to have everything feel fresh and new. When moving, you can also take the time to do the following:


When moving, it is important to remember that you do not have to move everything with you. New items or belongings can always be bought again later down the line.

Decluttering consists of identifying what items you use the most or hold the most value. The rule of thumb when decluttering is that if you have not used an item in the past six months to a year, then it is probably best to get rid of it.

Of course, anything that holds sentimental value should be taken with you on your move, but try not to give every item you own a purpose. You do not want to have your moving expenses increase over a few more boxes because you could not get rid of knick-knacks or other miscellaneous items.


Remaining organized during your first move-out will ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently. The best way to remain organized is to plan ahead of time what you would like to bring with you. Luckily, if you are moving out of your parent’s house for the first time you most likely won’t have too much to pack.

Top methods to remain organized during a move include:

  • Collect recyclable or reusable boxes
  • Use color-coded labels on boxes
  • Create a checklist of items in each box

By following these three top methods to remain organized, you will be able to keep track of what you are taking with you, throwing away, or donating.


Once you have figured out what you don’t want to take with you, you can donate these items. Clothes, stuffed animals, board games, and other household items can all be donated to either a nearby homeless shelter, hospital, or organization like Goodwill. Donating these types of items is better than throwing them away and creating waste.

Create a Checklist

A checklist is a great tool to have when moving out for the first time. It will help you not only remain organized but also allow you to identify exactly what you’re bringing to your new home.

Within the checklist, you can also include a running list of items that you may want to purchase in the future. These items can reflect those that you could not afford to or chose not to bring with you on your move.

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Moving Out for the First Time Checklist

A move-out checklist is a comprehensive journal or booklet of everything you’ll need to consider when moving. As you complete each item, you can cross it off on your list to remain organized and on schedule.

A moving-out checklist may include:

  • Budget
  • Moving date
  • Apartment listing
  • Packing list
  • Donation list
  • Future purchases list

This type of checklist is to ensure you have everything to do with your move-out in one place.

Packing List for Moving Out for the First Time

Deciding what are the essentials for moving out for the first time can be challenging. For some, they might just want to start fresh and leave their old belongings behind. For others, picking and choosing what stays behind can be hard.

When choosing the essentials to bring with you, first know how big your new apartment will be. Doing so will determine what exactly you will need.

While moving, you may have to reference your packing list often. Make sure that this section is properly color-coded and labeled. Keep the checklist running with items as you store your belongings in your moving boxes. This will help you later when you get to your new apartment and unpack.

The following lists of essential items have been sorted between the four most common rooms in any given apartment. Feel free to utilize them when creating your move-out packing checklist.


  • Mattress
  • Bed frame
  • Box spring
  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Curtains
  • Nightstand
  • Dresser or chest of drawers
  • Laundry hamper


  • Shower curtain and rod
  • Bath mat(s)
  • Towels
  • Plunger and toilet scrubber
  • Toiletries


  • Pots and pans
  • Plates and bowls
  • Toaster
  • Cutlery and utensils
  • Coffee pot or tea kettle
  • Mixing bowls and measuring tools

Living Room

  • Curtains
  • Shelving
  • Television
  • Rug
  • Seating

As you pack, you can identify any additional items to include in your running checklist.

Hire Move-Out Cleaners When Moving Out for the First Time

By the time you are ready for your next move, your apartment will be well lived in. To ensure you get your security deposit back, you will want to conduct a move-out cleaning.

To hire a move-out cleaning service, look no further than Moveout.com.


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Article written by Angela Rush

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October 2023

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