When you walked into your freshman dorm, your first thought was probably, “How am I going to live in this tiny space, let alone share it with a roommate?” The transition into college living was likely an adjustment, and now the transition out of college living is one, as well. Whether you are moving back home or searching for your own place, there are a lot of factors to consider. I spoke with Tara Chila, a moving and shipping expert who blogs for Manilla.com and Transit Systems, Inc., to get some tips and advice on the best way to handle moving after college.
Regardless of whether you are moving back home with your parents or finding a new place, you’re going to have to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Here are a few things that Chila suggests to save or dump.
WHAT TO KEEP
1. Storage bins. Staying organized is always important. Keep the containers that you used to keep everything stored in your dorm room, especially under the bed.
2. Desk chair. As long as it is in good shape, keep it. You will always have work to do, so you might as well get it done using a supportive chair.
3. Desk and office supplies. “When you create a home office, you will need your stapler, pens, paper, note pads, etc.,” Chila said.
4. Kitchen supplies. Gone are the days of on-campus eating and dining halls. Learning how to cook will save you money and is a healthier option. Keep any of the tools you had such as sharp knives, plates, and cutting boards.
5. Books for your major. You never know when you might need to reference something you learned in that Marketing 101 class.
6. Papers or projects for your major. “These can be used when applying for a job,” Chila said. When a potential employer asks for your experience, and you have little to show, you can use these projects and the research to explain how they would relate to your job responsibilities.
7. Technology. Your TV, computer, and printer were probably very expensive, so you want to hold on and get the most out of your purchase.
WHAT TO THROW AWAY
1. Bedding. “You have most likely had this for four years, had many different people sleep in it (when your parents visit, friends, etc.), so it is time to get new stuff for your new apartment,” Chila said.
2. Couch. What you do with this item depends. If your couch was parked in a dorm room and it was used a lot, it may be time to get rid of it. But, if you just bought it for your senior year apartment, then it could be in the “keep” pile.
3. Towels. Just like your bedding, you have had it a long time, so it may be time to start fresh.
4. Food. Clear out your cabinets and get rid of everything — because who knows how long it has been in there?
5. Shower caddy and everything inside. Keep your shampoo and conditioner, but get rid of the caddy, the flip-flops and the loofah.
6. Textbooks. Sell all books other than those that pertain to your major or general interests.
Tip: Look into donating items that you are throwing away. There are places that will come to you!
While you may not be thrilled about the idea of moving home, there are a lot of benefits of doing so. The greatest benefit will be saving money. Depending on your individual situation, moving home will allow you to save money on rent and groceries. You also are moving back into a furnished home, so you don’t have to consider moving costs or purchasing new items.
Moving home can be as temporary as you make it, but either way, be grateful that you have the opportunity to have a roof over your head. Don’t forget to say thank you to whoever is offering you a home.
If you are not moving home, then the process of finding a new place is daunting. There are a ton of factors, and it is a long process. Consider these things to make sure that you cover your bases.
1. Have a realistic budget. This is the first time that you will be responsible for paying rent, utilities and groceries, so be smart. First, account for all mandatory expenses, such as student loans and other bills. But also make sure to factor in the fun items, like shopping, travel, and entertainment. You are young, so you want to be able to go out and do fun things!
2. Find roommates. Having a roommate or two will definitely help you save. For example, if your budget is $800 per month on an apartment and you find a place that has two bedrooms for $1,400, with a roommate, you are under budget and in a nicer apartment. Then you can take that extra $100 you’re saving and stash it in a retirement account, emergency fund, or anywhere else. You will also save on furniture, food and entertainment. Having roommates will allow you to play with your budget and split costs of other living expenses, such as HBO, which you wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford on your own.
3. Put social media to good use. Ask friends on Facebook if they know of people looking for apartments. Craigslist can have good apartments, but be cautious of whom you’re connecting with online, and don’t agree to anything until you meet the renter and see the place, Chila advised. Do your research before you make any decisions. The place may be great, but it may be horrible. Check and see what people are saying.
4. Find a good location. Think about your daily commute. While you do pay more for a better location, make sure that you are close enough to public transportation. If you are driving, make sure that your drive is not too long, because you don’t want to waste extra money on gas or car maintenance.
5. Beware of brokers. Depending on where you are looking, brokers may be necessary. However, if you can avoid using one, do so. There are a ton of legitimate websites, such as Renthop.com and StreetEasy.com that post apartments. Many buildings have a realtor onsite to help. Don’t invest your time into a broker, Chila says.
More from Manilla:
- Gearing Up for Graduation: A Series on What Comes Next
- Gearing Up for Graduation: The Job Hunt
- Pantry Essentials for Your First Apartment
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- Personal Finance - Career & Education