Ah, moving out. A simultaneously freeing and turbulent time for all of us. There’s nothing better than the feeling of being able to move out from under your parents’ thumbs, and nothing worse when than when you realise you now have to start cooking/cleaning/generally being a responsible adult. And that rent business?! You know it’s a weekly thing, right?!

You learn a lot of life lessons real fast when you finally do migrate your stuff from your old bedroom to a slightly smaller, dingier one (that no doubt will have that faint whiff of cat piss), so to make sure you’re not bowled over when your time comes, here are some of the life lessons I learnt moving out as a teen.

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1. Don’t take leases lightly and be prepared (emotionally and financially) for housemates not to give a fuck.

Your credit rating is on the line, and your bond is important. I know you’re exciting and riding high on the fact that you finally have your freedom, but don’t forget this freedom comes with some real-life responsibilities.

2. Keep all of your documents organised.

You’ll probably have to sign up for an ‘adult thing’ at some stage which will require 3 bank statements, a passport, 4000 Medicare-related numbers and maybe a few superannuation reports too. Chuck nothing, you’re gonna need it.

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3. Just because everyone is getting older, it doesn’t mean people are more understanding.

Some will never know or experience financial struggle and some don’t like to entertain the idea of moving out prior to marriage. That is okay, everyone is different. It does get hard sometimes and a lack of understanding will be a barrier in communication and friendships. Often it will cause relationships to disintegrate. This is life and it is important not to dwell in bitterness.

4. Appreciate every single meal/drink/snack you are offered free of charge.

I know you’re thinking that you already do that anyway, but trust me, you haven’t felt true gratitude until you’ve experienced rent day coinciding with free slushie day.

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5. Friends change as the weight of your wallet does.

You naturally tend to spend more time around people with a similar budget so that you can find fun things to do without the constant ‘it sucks being friends with a poor student’ sigh that full-time workers often express.

6. People live vastly different to you. 

You learn how one roommate likes the dishes done before bed or how the other folds their towels or stacks the dishwasher. You discover that people communicate differently when they’re angry or upset or tired from work. You learn to love and live with the differences and conflicting opinions.

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7. Be comfortable with loneliness. 

Sometimes you’ll come home from a big day at work or Uni, but there’s no dinner on the table, your housemates are away, there’s no food in the cupboard and your bedroom is a mess. You miss cuddles from your Mum and the prickly-moustache kiss on the cheek from Dad. It’ll seem crap at the time, but this will strengthen your independence and your ability to deal with strenuous times.

8. Consistent mess means consistent problems.

Mice, cockroaches, fruit flies and ants will visit more regularly than your friends do. You learn inventive ways of finding, killing and disposing of these pests. Sometimes you go numb to it all and get used to their company. Note: visitors will not be comfortable with this.

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9. You’re experiencing a time that you will fondly look back on as the best years of your life.

The midnight skates to the fast food chain down the street, skinny-dipping in summer, blurry nights of goon-sacks and cigars, dancing on tables and being able to curl up in your housemate’s bed talking and giggling while finding old food beneath the sheets… As the landlord decides to build ensuites in your bedroom and buildings in your backyard, as housemates move out and the urgency to find new ones is stressful, as finances dwindle and unemployment is permanent, you’ll take comfort knowing that one day, you’ll reflect on these crazy times with a nostalgic joy.

Good luck, and have an absolute blast.

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