parent opinion

"Check for plug sockets." 36 things we wish we knew before we moved out of home.

There comes a point in every parent's life where their kids young adults finally decide to leave home and do this whole life thing on their own.

With blind confidence and a bag of *borrowed* kitchen items by their side, they venture off into a world of takeaway, confusing electricity bills, independence and a whole lot of adult responsibilities. 

But don't worry, they're not gone for good. 

They'll be sure to call you to ask how long they need to cook the roast chicken for and you can expect them to drop by for a home-cooked meal when they've inevitably messed it up. 

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So to help you or your kid prepare to leave the nest, we asked parents and those who have already moved out of home, to share their best pieces of advice and golden nuggets of wisdom.

From genius cleaning hacks to money-saving tips, here's what you need to know before moving out home. 

Tips for finding a place to live. 

  • "Moving into a house with a single socket for the entire floor will leave you with a labyrinth of extension cords that can fry the whole street."
  • "Make sure you have phone signal when touring the apartment."
  • "My tip is try not to move into a place where the laundry room is too far. No matter how great your place is, it's so sh*tty when you have to walk around with dirty and clean clothes every week."
  • "If you move into a ground-floor apartment make sure you have locks/bars on the windows... because burglary - learned that the hard way."
  • "Natural light is so much more important than you think it is."
  • "North facing apartments/houses are superior."
  • "Take photos of everything when you first move into a rental. EVERYTHING. Save them on a USB."
  • "Don't put your name on a lease with anyone unless you're happy to be responsible for others leaving or not paying rent."
  • "When moving in, label boxes for each room (kinda standard) and use garbage bags to pack all hanging clothes and just poke a whole out of the top for the hanger to come through. Then just tie a knot at the end."

Cleaning hacks. 

  • "If you have roomies make a cleaning schedule or chip in for a cleaner."
  • "Clean the fan blades in the bathrooms when you move in."
  • "This is embarrassing, but at age 29 I only just learnt our dishwasher has a filter that needs to be cleaned out... so that."
  • "Apparently you need to clean the drip pan at the back of your fridge. I only realised this when we moved and there was water and mould in there. Who knew a fridge has a drip pan?"
  • "Learn how to fix little things yourself. You can patch a wall hole and paint it without losing your bond!"
  • "I’ve just learnt this... and I’m 37. You must fold and put away laundry as soon as you take it off the line or out of the dryer because otherwise it will pile up and you end up with your spare room turning into a giant laundry basket." 
  • "Any appliance either needs a filter/drain cleaned once a month or needs a cleaner/hot cycle. The dryer filter needs fluff cleaned after every use. I also use citric acid (found in the cooking isle of supermarkets) in my kettle to clean it. Use one tablespoon for a full jug boil and leave it until cool then tip out, rinse and fill with fresh water to use." 
  • "Clean as you go is a massive one! It’s so much easier to do a little each day after work and have your weekends as ‘free time’ vs overwhelming yourself every weekend. I actually made myself a chore chart because it was easier to follow and way less overwhelming."
  • "There are dedicated sponges for different jobs. Bathroom sponge/cloth, kitchen sponge/cloth, very clearly labelled and stored toilet sponge/cloth, laundry sponge/cloth. When I first moved in with my husband I nearly died when he grabbed kitchen sponge and went to wipe a spill from the floor! Everyone knows that is what the laundry sponge is for."
  • "Own multiple cheap pots and pans to begin with as you will get tired of cleaning up and having a spare pan means you cook that food you bought rather than ordering takeout and wasting it all."
  • "In general, allow yourself redundancy. If you couldn't clean the bathroom this week, it's OK and you are not failing. Life is hard and time gets away from you. It can wait another week or two and you can still function."

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Money-saving tips.

  • "Open two bank accounts - one for bills and one for spending/saving (or more accounts if you’re a barefoot person). Direct debit into your bills account so you’re never caught short."
  • "Put $50 each pay check for bills and electricity or more depending on your pay frequency."
  • "Have a dedicated bills account. Bills like car registration can be divided by 26 (or 52 if paid weekly) and putting away a small amount each pay means they'll always have the money and not have to be a 'sorry, I can't xyz this week/fortnight as I've got to pay rego' person. This can be done for all bills like insurances, phone, internet, pet costs etc - just divide according to how often the bill is and how many pay cycles are in that timeframe."
  • "Put aside 10% of your salary for emergencies and NEVER get a credit card!"
  • "If your bank allows have a separate 'folder' account just for bills. And put a percentage of money in there every week. Get insurance. Even if you are renting."

Other golden pieces of advice.

  • "Pay your bills on time and buy way more Tupperware than you think you need."
  • "Make sure you actually check your mail. I reckon we check our mail once every three months and there is always something important in there."
  • "Actually read the instructions on your plants and don’t just water them when you feel like it."
  • "Make sure you know where the electricity box is for when the power goes out and you have to reset it." 
  • "Buy a slow cooker and mend clothing immediately or donate (the 'I’ll fix it later' pile just ends up being Everest)."
  • "Have more than one week's worth of underpants, life gets busy and you can't always do laundry once a week. Similarly, have at least two sets of sheets as they take so long to dry, especially in winter."
  • "Hide a spare key in a really safe place or give a friend a key."
  • "Learn how to cook at least three meals (that contain a vegetable) and learn how to set up and navigate the MyGov/Medicare/Tax system."
  • "Just hire the effin' bond cleaner when you move out, cos those agents are sneaky b*ggers who will take it anyway."
  • "I wish someone told me 'empty your fridge'. I kept buying food like people were still going to eat it, but it was just me."
  • "Facebook marketplace is just my central piece of life advice. Find the thing you like on whatever website. And then type that thing into Facebook marketplace and buy it secondhand for a fraction of the cost."

Feature Image: Getty.