Surprise! I'm moving out!
November 11, 2013 8:08 PM   Subscribe

O wise people of AskMeFi, please help me decide if I'm being too impulsive in jumping at a chance to move out of my parents' place. I really want this, but I want to make sure I won't regret it a few months down the road.

I've been thinking about moving out ever since last year, but only recently have I felt that I finally have the resources and motivation to do it. A few days ago, an acquaintance of mine told me she had a room available and was looking for another housemate. The place is in the city near uni and I'd be sharing with three other girls including her (I'm also a girl). Rent is $190pw including water, gas, electricity, and internet, which I can easily afford with my work income and government assistance. I'm currently on year-end break from uni and I feel like this would be the best time to settle in, while I'm not stressed by study, rather than having to wait another 6 months or a year.

I haven't discussed moving out with my parents at all. The few times I've talked about moving out, my mum vaguely said "oh, I don't think you have to worry about that until you graduate". (I'll be 27 when I graduate and I do not want to still be living at home by then.) In my parents' culture it is common to live at home through college, but I grew up in a Westernised culture and am starting to get antsy.

My therapist agrees with me that moving out is a good idea to start dealing with emotional baggage from my childhood. My parents are not bad people, but the weight of past history makes me feel trapped in this house, and I don't think I'll be able to feel like I'm my own person until I get out of it. All of this is complicated by issues of guilt. My mum has had a neurodegenerative condition for a number of years, and I've always had this nebulous thought that I should stay home and take care of her, even though she is still happily employed and functional, and really I don't do that much anyway (welp ... looks like another therapy session is in order). I'm anxious about discussing this with them because I don't know what their response will be. It could be anywhere from totally supportive to angry and guilt-tripping.

This acquaintance is an awesome person and I think rooming with her will help bring me out of my shell. But she wants a reply by the end of the week, and I haven't seen the place yet or met the roommates. I also worry that the time pressure is making me too hasty, as I don't know when an opportunity like this will come again. If I could get advice on this situation, that would be fantastic. In particular:

- What essential things do I need to know/ask about when I visit the place? Housemate etiquette, etc?
- About how long does it take to move out?
- Is this really a good idea? Or should I keep shopping around for other places? Should I wait 6 months?
- For parents who are worriers, what would make you feel better about your child moving out? What can I do to convince my parents that I'm really capable of this and that I am going to be just fine?

Thanks in advance. I know this is similar to a lot of other moving-out questions. I just wanted to know if I'm jumping the gun here.
posted by cucumber patch to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It takes just a day to move if you've got all your stuff packed ahead of time (depending on how far you have to drive, obviously.

And yes, I think you should go. Try and see the place, at least. Meeting the room-mates isn't that important, as long as you trust your friends judgement.

As far as convincing your parents, you probably won't. You convince them by just doing it.
posted by empath at 8:15 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Dude, I've regretted plenty in my life, but moving out was not one of em - even when I was sunk in dire poverty and sad and living in houses that should have been condemned. It's the best.

By way of qualification, I am currently living in my 19th house - the majority of them were rented sharehouses.

What essential things do I need to know/ask about when I visit the place? Housemate etiquette, etc?

The most important thing, imho, when sussing out housemates is to trust your gut. If people seems reasonable, and you have a good feeling, go with it. If you have a dodgy feeling - even if everything on paper is fine, keep looking.

Stuff like smoking, pets, the kind of thing that will affect other people is what you want to suss out. I would generally dance around the conversation to figure out what - and how much - drug use went on, as I had a threshold for that.

About how long does it take to move out?
How long is a piece of string? Really depends on how much shit you have. It's if it's just a bedroom and some random crap, and your new destination is close by, it will take about a day. Prepack so moving day is mostly moving and unpacking.

Is this really a good idea? Or should I keep shopping around for other places? Should I wait 6 months?

It's a great idea. Moving out is great.

For parents who are worriers, what would make you feel better about your child moving out? What can I do to convince my parents that I'm really capable of this and that I am going to be just fine?

Persuading your parents that you are independent etc can sometimes be a lost cause. What you want to do is show them how much support is available. E.G all girls, all working (are any from your cultural background? Have they met any?); they're just down the road if you need something; it's a very safe neighbourhood, etc etc etc.
posted by smoke at 8:19 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You're 26 years old, and you've found a totally workable situation that you can afford.

No, of course you're not being impulsive.

Move out. Seriously. It's not nearly as big a deal as you're making it. I was out of my parents' house for good when I was ten years younger than you are now. By the time I was 18 I didn't even have a bedroom or a closet full of prom dresses and old toys.

- What essential things do I need to know/ask about when I visit the place? Housemate etiquette, etc?

Go see the place. Is it clean enough? Do people seem nice? You're probably good. You may want to ask if there's any particular schedule or system for cleaning, maybe a question about quiet hours if you have a loud hobby or need a special amount of quiet. Don't overthink this sort of thing. You are pretty much guaranteed to have some type of inconvenience in life due to your living situation, and better to learn to deal with it now.

- About how long does it take to move out?

Considering that you live with your parents, basically zero time. I mean you don't even have to have all your stuff out of your parents' house by a particular date. Bring a change of clothes and a toothbrush to the new place, and you're pretty much moved in.

- Is this really a good idea? Or should I keep shopping around for other places? Should I wait 6 months?

Yes. Maybe, but don't let that prevent you from taking this place if it seems good. No, unless this place seems like a place you would not want to live.

- For parents who are worriers, what would make you feel better about your child moving out? What can I do to convince my parents that I'm really capable of this and that I am going to be just fine?

You're 26 years old. They'll be fine.
posted by Sara C. at 8:21 PM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I would see the place first, just in case it's horrid.

But move, now. I moved out when I went back to school after a couple year stint at my parents, and I made the move very suddenly (and after a fight with my mom...) but the transition went well. What I told my mom is that I wasn't going to disappear off the face of the Earth just because i was moving out -- I'd still see her often, and talk often. Several months later she told me she was surprised how easily she adjusted to me being gone and the fact that she didn't miss me. And do make the effort to still go home for dinner every couple weeks, spend an afternoon with the fam, and whatnot. They won't stop worrying until they see that you're doing well after living in the new place for a while.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:23 PM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: I would not sign on until you've at least seen the place, if it was me, I'd also want to meet the other roommates.

Find out about the house rules, how shared expenses are managed, cleaning rosters, what do they do with food?

Financially, you need to factor in more than the rent itself, but also food, laundry, household goods - is the room furnished or will you need to bring your own bed? chairs? wardrobe? Will you need to buy stuff like towels, sheets, fan/heater, kitchen stuff?

But as to the general concept of moving out - yes! do it!
posted by pianissimo at 8:28 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I lived too far away to live at home during college. I felt it was a good experience being able to live on your own and learn how that works. College time seems like a good time to do that and usually when you can live dirt cheap. I ended up living back home after college because it was cheaper when I graduated with no job and I did not want to go back to sharing a room ect, but at the time it was a good choice for me based on my family dynamic and my style of living. If is not always the right choice for everyone and you have a therapist telling you that it might be good for you.

Somethings that could be bothersome if you have never lived with other people besides family is their habits. Do some of them stay up late listening to loud music or get up early and make a racket in the kitchen. Maybe the housemates have rules about this which is good. Generally I think people try to be courteous of others, but that is not always the case.

It can be nerve wrecking to make the jump, but it can be very good experience too. If you do end up having to take care of your mother late, then isn't a good choice to get some freedom now when you have the chance?
posted by Jaelma24 at 8:29 PM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: Some basic questions you need to be able to answer before you say yes: Have you seen the place? Do you like it? Can you live with the bathroom situation? Is there a lease you will be locked into? Can you afford a long-term lease or seriously plan to live there as long as required? Do you know the other housemates? Do you know their lifestyles? Will you feel safe in the neighborhood? Is it an easy/safe commute for you to school/work?

I have had a few semi-bad living situations that taught me: I prefer to live alone. I don't like living with people who have friends over all the time or party. I really need to have my own bathroom because of how messy I am/how long it takes me to get ready. Also, some leases are easy to break and some might be total drama. So, maybe it won't be the best scenario or maybe it will be awesome. Either way, you will figure out what you want in the end. But do not sign anything without seeing it and being able to answer some basic questions. Set up a time to go see the place and meet the roommates.

For what it's worth, I suffered depression in high school and early in college. I took a break from school, started to get better and transferred schools so I could move away to go to college. I didn't end up best friends with my roommates or love it there -- I actually hated one of my roommates -- but the change of scenery and the feeling of independence/control over my life did wonders for getting me over that final hump. I got what I needed by living away for a year and then finished my final year of school living at home at my original school because it was a bajillion times cheaper and better major-wise. So I understand why this may be a good move for you and I am not discouraging it. But don't do anything without at least seeing the place and, like, practicing your commute.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:51 PM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: DO IT. Even if it turns out that this opportunity isn't the right fit for you, I think from your question it's something that you should actively be working on. Your parents may not be thrilled about it, but -- and I truly don't mean this as coldly as it will sound when I write it -- that is their problem to deal with, not yours. By which I mean that they are adults and will need to cope with their own anxieties and other feelings that may be associated with your leaving home. You are not responsible for their feelings, nor for protecting them from their feelings.

You can be a kind and loving daughter (and, at 26, I would suggest you start referring to yourself as a woman and not a girl -- it helps to remind yourself that you're an adult, with agency and preferences and desires and needs all your own) and simultaneously make decisions that are primarily about your needs, rather than theirs. Presumably they raised you to be a capable adult who can make her own way in the world. Now is the time to demonstrate (to yourself and to them) that they did their job on this score.

As for roommate questions/concerns: in my personal experience, the absolute top issues to be on the same page about are expectations surrounding shared expenses, quiet time, and cleanliness. It doesn't mean that you all have to be exactly the same on all these questions (you might prefer quiet after 10 pm, your roommate might prefer quiet after midnight, so maybe you split the difference and agree that 11 is the point at which the TV gets turned down) but you will definitely want to be in the same ballpark as each other.
posted by scody at 8:53 PM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: I did not read past "friend has a room I can easily afford."


Many blessings going forward:))
posted by jbenben at 11:05 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'd go see the place first and meet as many of the roommates as possible before you decide. In addition to things already mentioned I'd find out what the policy is on boyfriends/girlfriends staying over, parking and do you feel safe in the neighborhood. Trust your gut and don't worry about your parents. They will do what they will do. If this living situation doesn't feel right then start planning now for another one. It will be great for you to start living on your own but you want to be in a good living situation so don't let yourself get pressured into anything. Make your own decision as to whether this is right for you.

Oh yeah, don't live with any hotheads. Life is too short for that stress. I went against my gut about one of my college roommates and totally regretted it. Find out how much the roommates interact: is everyone there mostly just to sleep and in their own rooms with the doors closed or is it more like a bunch of friends living together and hanging out regularly. The more hanging out there is the more you need to get a feel for how compatible you'd be with them. Do the roommates seem happy living there or is it tense? Trust your gut.
posted by wildflower at 11:46 PM on November 11, 2013

Best answer: I wouldn't even worry about the place being horrible. The first place I got when I moved out (I am not counting university halls) was a tiny room above a restaurant called Tandoori Palace. It was the width of a double bed and a door, and the length of a double bed and a wardrobe, precisely. There were no windows, only a skylight. The heating didn't work. I used to get so cold I would sit in bed dressed in two jumpers, a hat and mittens, reading because I was freezing but couldn't afford to do anything outside the house. The walls were so thin I could hear everything the Polish couple in the next room along did, including the obvious, in great detail. The room to the other side was an actual building site with bare breeze blocks and a carpet sawdust, but the owners appeared to have just given up and stopped working on it several months ago. It was still a really, really good thing for me to have moved out. I have tender memories of the place because I felt properly independent and in control for the first time. Just go. Work out the details once you are in a place of your own.
posted by Acheman at 1:16 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

"What can I do to convince my parents that I'm really capable of this and that I am going to be just fine?"

You're 26 years old. If that itself is not enough to convince them then nothing will be. Don't bother trying to convince them. Just leave when you're ready.

If your therapist thinks leaving would be good for you then I am inclined to agree with them.

It is much more likely you will look back and regret NOT moving out than the other way around.

Go for it.
posted by manderin at 5:03 AM on November 12, 2013

It sounds like your parents are very involved in your life. Make your arrangements without talking to your parents. When you're all set to move, sit them down and say you have news for them.
- "this is hard so please let me finish and then I'll answer your questions."
- show them you've thought things through by explaining what is good about this place, how you can easily afford it, and how you will deal with what ifs
- answer their questions, but if you notice you're just getting into more and more "yes, but..." arguments cut it short. Say you've thought this through and you will be able to handle any problems that do occur.
- ask for what you need from them. "This is a big step and I need to know you'll support it and help me with it. And that if worst comes to worst I will always have a bed here waiting for me."
- guilt trip. That's hard. My experience with guilt trips is they only work if you believe the guilt tripper may be at least a little right. So make sure you truly believe you deserve to move out. You're 26. Your parents must learn to live without you. That's what growing up is about. If they need your help you will find ways to help them, but it is truly time to move out. Believe it and say it to them, lovingly.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:35 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rent is $190pw including water, gas, electricity, and internet,

Does "pw" mean "per week"? That's over 800 per month for a bedroom in a shared house. If I were you, I would ask to see the actual bills for the rent and utilities and add them all up to see if it works out, or at least look around in the classified ads and see if this is reasonable for your area. I know prices vary wildly in different areas - so check yours out.

I don't want you to jump into a situation where the roommates are taking advantage of your naiveté and including a "management fee" in the all-inclusive payment, even if you can "afford" it. If the numbers look good, then GO!! and have fun.
posted by CathyG at 7:25 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Take some time to let your Mom & Dad know how much you appreciate all they've done for you. They may see your move as a rejection, when it's really the natural way of things - you desire independence and privacy, being with your peers, new experiences.

Talk to your new roommates about what the stated and implied rules are. Too few rules is about as much of a pain as too few. Roommates work out better when there's a shared agreement on how clean things should be, privacy, and a balance of sharing stuff and activities, and having a life outside.

Have fun!
posted by theora55 at 8:49 AM on November 12, 2013

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