How To Transition From Living With Your Parents To An Apartment

By Francine Fluetsch on August 12, 2015

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Moving out from your parents’ house seems like a jolt of freedom at first. Your own rules, right?

And don’t get me wrong, living in your own off-campus apartment definitely comes with perks, but it may be more of a transition than you’d originally think.

So here are a few things to help ease the switch from living at your parents’ house to living on your own.

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Buy an alarm clock.

You could probably always count on your parents to wake your groggy butt up in the morning or at least come check in on you to make sure you weren’t running late. But when you live in your own apartment, no one is going to be there to make sure you make it to your 8 a.m. And since you are paying too much money and spending too much effort to skip class due to oversleeping, you are going to want to make sure you will wake up.

If you are a heavy sleeper like me, I would advise you to buy an alarm clock and set it on the opposite side of the room from where your bed is. If you have a roommate, they may not like this very much, since it will take time for you to cross the room, but it is a foolproof way to make sure you wake up.

You set this alarm in addition to a phone alarm or watch alarm, so you have double the chance of waking up on time. Might seem a bit over the top, but you really start to realize how helpful (though annoying) your parents were when they were your alarm clock.

Learn to cook.

No, ramen doesn’t qualify as a breakfast, lunch, and dinner sort of food, so another part of the transition will be learning how to cook, or what my housemates and I like to do: learn how to scavenge. You aren’t going to be a pro chef right off the bat, so fill your fridge with things you can “scavenge,” like cut-up carrots for a healthy snack or ingredients for a delicious and easy PB&J.

Look for easy recipes online that don’t look too expensive, or ask your parents for some of their recipes so you can attempt to imitate them. The food aspect is something you are going to start missing about living with your parents rather quickly, but it’s okay, everyone has to start somewhere. Always have go-to meals like a yummy cereal or a grilled cheese for when you really aren’t in the cooking mood.

Cooking definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you can get a few meals under your belt so that you have some variety when it comes to meals, you’ll be fine.

Cleaning 101.

Living on your own makes you realize how insanely fast dust starts to collect on things. I’m sure your parents had you do some chores around the house when you lived with them, but you were probably never tasked with cleaning the whole house and then keeping it clean.

The good thing about being on your own is you get to decide when you want to clean what, and aside from your roommates, no one will be nagging you about it. So, if you choose, you could be living in filth and your parents probably couldn’t do anything about it.

But living in filth isn’t very fun, so learning how to use those yellow gloves and some bleach might come in handy.

What I actually found quite surprising is that living on my own pulled out my inner neat freak. When I lived with my parents, I wasn’t a slob, but I wasn’t against having some clothes on the ground and things out of place. Now, I get stressed out if things aren’t tidy.

Once you get in a cleaning routine and figure out how to bleach the bathtub and unclog the drains, you may still find cleaning a pain in the butt, but you will love the results.

Photo by michibanban via

Figure out the ways of laundry.

If you don’t know how to do your laundry yet, it’s time to learn how, my friend. It’s a pretty simple process once you get it down, and you can figure out how you want to run things. It’s usually good to have a few sets of towels so you can alternate them and not have to wash all the time, and it also helps to mark in your calendar when you want to wash all your sheets so you don’t forget.

If you don’t have a washer and dryer at your place, coordinate going to a laundry place with a friend so you two can chat while your clothes get clean. Don’t be that person who still takes their laundry home to their parents — that is only going to be socially accepted for so long, and you don’t want to burden your parents with it anymore anyway.

Write things down.

Living on your own definitely comes with excitement, but responsibility comes right along with it. You are going to have to pay for a lot of things pertaining to your place, and you don’t want to fall behind on anything.

Make sure to write down all your due dates and when you need to pay the rent, gas and electricity, water bill, etc. My housemates and I have a whiteboard in our kitchen where we write down when the bills are due and how much we each owe. That way, we don’t forget and things don’t get awkward with money.

Remember, your parents are still there for you.

While you are having a blast living on your own and experiencing a new world, remember that your parents are always there for you and it’s okay to ask them for help or advice now and again. I’m sure they appreciate you still asking them things, and you’re still learning so ask away.

We aren’t going to just know how to “adult” when we move out, but with baby steps, we’ll get there. They also appreciate if you tell them once in a while that you finally see why they were always nagging you to do the dishes or take out the trash, because once you have to do it, you see how annoying it is to keep it on a schedule.

Moving out comes with its challenges, but if you give it some time for adjusting, you’ll be “adulting” before you know it. Good luck!

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Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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