One of the greatest joys in life is finally leaving the nest where you grew up, spreading your wings and growing roots somewhere else. It’s a thrilling and emancipating leap into freedom; to enter a comfortable new space where you can call the shots, no longer live under a parent’s thumb and do what you will when you will. But before you get there, it’s important to know what you need when moving out for the first time.

What are the essentials I’ll need when I move out?

The easiest way to identify the essentials you’ll need when you move out is to walk through your new living space in your mind flowing from room to room. You’ll soon realize there’s a lot to keep track of, so breaking your list of essentials into digestible bites will make it easier to keep track of everything. Let’s start with the room you’ll likely spend the move time in…


A restful night’s sleep is among the most important factors in maintaining a healthy body and mind. It’s important to equip your room with everything you’ll need to close your eyes in comfort and get those ZZZs with ease.

You may be lucky enough to bring your bed with you from your current home, though a new beginning is the perfect time to get a new mattress, bedframe and bedsheets. Visit your local mattress retailer and test-lie a variety of mattresses, from soft to firm, and see which one feels the most comfortable for you. Don’t skimp on the bedframe and simply set your mattress and box spring on the floor; a bedframe not only looks classier but extends the life of your mattress and is better for controlling allergies, too.

If you’re buying a new bedframe, why not look at a whole new bedroom set so you can have a matching nightstand and dresser. A nightstand is ideal to keep your phone, book/digital reader and a glass of water within easy reach even in the dark. You’ll also need a dresser no matter what, even if you prefer to hang most of your clothes.

Next, you’ll need a pillow, and at least two or three sets of bed linens (including pillowcases). Make sure to purchase these items ahead of your move and give them a wash according to the instructions on the label before use if at all possible. When you move in, one of your first priorities should be to assemble your bed frame (if necessary), top it with your box spring and mattress and make your bed. If your new digs don’t have window coverings such as curtains or blinds, that’s a must-have, too. It’s easy to lose track of time on moving day, suddenly feel tired and need to go to bed; a completed and comfortable sleeping quarters is the best reward you can ask for after such an emotional and arduous day.

Rounding off your bedroom essentials are a laundry basket for your dirty clothes and a trash can. Your new environment is bound to look and feel chaotic on the first day after your move; putting your dirty clothes and trash where they belong represents a small (but not insignificant) bit of order. 


  • Mattress and box spring
  • Bedframe
  • Bed linens
  • Curtains
  • Laundry and trash baskets


It’s amazing to think how many of life’s basic essentials get squeezed into even the tiniest bathroom. When making your move, clearly mark the box that contains all your important bathroom items because you may need access to them the moment you cross the threshold. Better yet, if you get possession of your new address prior to your major moving day, move in all your essential bathroom items ahead of time. These items naturally include toilet paper and hand soap, a hand towel and a box of tissues.

After a long and rigorous moving day, one of your finest rewards for all your hard work might include taking a relaxing warm shower or bath. If that suggestion has already piqued your interest, you’ll want some heavy-duty cleaning supplies for the shower stall or bathtub; a shower curtain, curtain hooks and possibly a curtain rod; shampoo; and a bath mat and bath towel. And in case of emergency, bring a toilet plunger on move-in day as well; if you only have one toilet and it gets backed up, that spells trouble.


  • Toilet paper and box of tissues
  • Hand soap and hand towel
  • Bath/shower cleaner
  • Shower curtain, hooks and curtain rod
  • Body wash, shampoo and conditioner
  • Bath mat and bath towel
  • Toilet plunger, toilet cleaner and scrubbing brush


While the bedroom and bathroom require your immediate attention on moving day, the items you’ll need to supply your new kitchen aren’t nearly as urgent. If fact, some people have been known to live on take-out, delivery and drive-thru food for years, possibly decades. However, this is not a good idea if you have visions of saving money to, one day, move into an even bigger home or live in a better location.

Starting with the basics, you’ll need water glasses, wine glasses and coffee mugs; plates and bowls; and knives, forks and spoons. Your best bang for your buck is to purchase these items in sets, though if you really want to save money while doing good for the environment you can find all these essentials at your local thrift shop for next-to-nothing. Another easy way to save money (and live green) is to purchase a coffeemaker instead of getting your caffeine from Starbucks and Timmies, and whether you’re a tea drinker or not a kettle is another important kitchen item. You’ll also want a couple of dish towels on day one, plus all the necessary cleaning supplies.

A modern-day must-have is the ingenious microwave. A toaster or toaster oven are practically essential kitchen fixtures as well, as are an electric can opener and mixer, and it’s amazing how much a kitchen wand/immersion hand blender can help around the kitchen, too.

Whether you’re a reluctant cook or a serious home chef, you’ll need a set of pots and frying pans, spoons and spatulas. A set of chef knives will eventually come in handy, as will a cheese slicer or cheese grater, a garlic press and cutting board, kitchen thongs and a whisk, and measuring cups and spoons. The list of items you’ll eventually own as you grow into your new kitchen is practically endless, and as unique to you as your fingerprint and DNA.


  • Cleaning supplies
  • Water glasses, wine glasses and coffee mugs
  • Plates and bowls
  • Knives, forks and spoons
  • Dish towels and hand towels
  • Microwave and toaster/toaster oven
  • Coffee maker and kettle
  • Electric can opener, mixer and blender
  • Pots and pans
  • Spoons, spatulas, whisk and tongs
  • Set of chef knives
  • Cheese grater, garlic press and cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Living room

The room in your home you’ll likely spend the second-most amount of time in after the bedroom is the living room; if you work from home this room might even be your number one. You’ll want your living room to look inviting and chic, feel comfortable and reflect your personal style.

The two most important furnishings you’ll need in your living room are a couch and a coffee table. There’s no better place to relax at home after a busy day’s work than on your couch vegging out to a fun TV show, with your favourite beverage and snack nearby as you escape into fantasy. This is also the space you’ll tend to hang out in when you have friends over, so you’ll likely want a couple of chairs as well. And, of course, if you can’t mount your television to the wall, you’ll need a TV cabinet as well. Other nice-to-have furnishings that will make this space feel homier include a bookcase or shelving, an area rug if you have hardwood floors, and window coverings if necessary.


  • Couch and chairs
  • Coffee table and side tables
  • TV stand
  • Bookcase and/or shelving
  • Area rug
  • Window coverings

What are some things to get when moving out for the first time?

We’ve covered the three main rooms you’ll need to furnish and equip when moving out for the first time, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll need general cleaning supplies such as a mop, a dustpan and brush, a variety of cleaning solutions, laundry detergent and garbage bags. Accidents happen, which is why you should have a first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic ointment and hydrogen peroxide, a thermometer, pain killers (Tylenol/Advil/Aspirin) and cold medicine. You’ll also need a toolbox with equipment to maintain your property including a hammer and screwdrivers; a wrench and pliers; nails, screws and hooks; an electric drill and drill bits; and a level and tape measure. Just in case, you should also have a flashlight and candles, and batteries in all the popular sizes.

All in all, that’s a lot of stuff to move into a new home, and you can’t do it alone. Instead of leaning on your friends for favours, do your friends a favour and contact Rent-a-Son instead!

How much you should save before you move out

The general rule of thumb is that you should have a three- to six-month buffer in your savings account to cover your rent or mortgage payments (and condo fees, if applicable). So, if your monthly housing expense is $1,000, that means you’ll need a minimum of $3,000 just to keep a roof over your head alone. Next, you have to factor in utility bills like water and electricity, internet and phone, parking fees and property tax if you own the home. Oh, and don’t forget regular living expenses…

When you add up all the first-move essentials we’ve listed above, the overall expense runs well into the thousands of dollars. The best advice to help you land on your feet safely is to plan carefully and be smart with your money. You don’t need wall-to-wall luxury furnishings, all the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos, and the top brand-name towels and linens.

An easy way to save money is to prioritize what you absolutely must buy new, and identify what you can purchase used or even get a hand-me-down from a relative or friend. Let everyone know you’re moving and looking for “donations”; you can even think outside your immediate network and post a message on your social media accounts. There may also be a Facebook group or two in your area that posts used furnishing that could be yours for the taking if you’re willing to pick up the item(s) yourself.

How to budget for living on your own for the first time?

Once you’ve decided to move out for the first time, it can be very tempting to just find a place, move and take it as it goes when it comes to money management. But moving without a proper plan can turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes you could make, leading to credit card debts that can take years or even decades to repay… if you haven’t given up and declared bankruptcy instead.

Most people who have lived at home with their parents have no idea how much it actually costs to live day-to-day and month-to-month. Food expenses add up quickly. The entertainment budget you once enjoyed suddenly shrinks as the simple cost of living adds up. Some expenses come out of the blue because accidents happen, and they will.

Your best bet is to talk with a friend or family member who has lived on their own for at least a year and get a general idea of their expenses. Then apply their experience to your own lifestyle, create a budget and live by that budget while putting those future expenses into savings while you still live at home.

While you’re budgeting for your first big move, make sure to factor in your actual, physical moving expenses. It may feel tempting to try and DIY your move, but Rent-a-Son’s professional moving team can save you significant time and stress, and help you focus on the 1,001 other things going on in your life. Simply contact us now for an estimate; you may be surprised how little it costs to make your first move as easy and stress-free as possible.