Moving into one’s own home, while exciting, can be a scary and complex process for any young
adult. For neurodiverse people and their families, it can be especially difficult.
Today’s world is very different from the past. According to a recent study from the Pew
Research Center, the number of young adults living with parents or other family members in
the United States has tripled since 1971. This arrangement is especially common for young
adults from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. While multigenerational households
have been common throughout history in many cultures, this recent increase in young adults
living with family members also correlates with a drastic change in the economy in recent years.
For this reason, I’d like to begin by saying that if you are a young adult who still lives with your
family, that it is okay. Take off the pressure to rush the process. Moving out is a decision
between you and your family – and it is not always necessary to do it immediately. However,
living independently is often necessary due to job and college opportunities, and it is possible
for almost all young adults. Here are some tips that will make the process easier.
- Build a community.
a. Get to know your new neighborhood. Talk to locals about what areas are safe
and what areas to avoid. Take a class relating to a hobby, volunteer somewhere
or attend a church service. Connect with your co-workers, college classmates or
neighbors. Exchange contact information with people you get along well with
and invite them to socialize in public places. Get to know them first before going
to their home or inviting them to yours. Meeting and cultivating relationships
with people in your area will help you build a community of friends who can
support you in your journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask them for help
once you’ve built that friendship.
- Prioritize your spending and budget.
a. When people think of budgeting, it’s very easy to immediately think of giving
things up. But really, it’s best to look at it as limiting other things to make room
financially for what’s most important for you. You may have to cut certain things
from your spending, but you don’t have to get rid of things you really enjoy. For
example, if you like to buy coffee every day, you can consider reducing costs in
another area based on your income to make that possible. You can also be
mindful of shopping around for deals, discounts, sales, coupons and other stores
to get items you want at lower prices.
- Consider living in a complex.
a. If you have the means and opportunity, consider living in an apartment that is a
part of a complex where maintenance and upkeep is taken care of. Get to know
the manager or landlord of the building. This will make things a lot easier if
maintenance issues ever arise.
- Automate your bills.
a. These days, it is often possible to set rent, utilities, electric and wi-fi bills to be
automatically paid. This will make things less complicated to remember. Plan
your budget and other expenses around these automatic payments.
- Establish boundaries with roommates early on.
a. Living with a roommate can be a good thing. It makes things less lonely and your
rent will be less expensive. Before moving in, communicate with your
roommates about dividing responsibilities for keeping your home clean and
establishing some boundaries. When can each person do their laundry? Are you
going to label your own food or will you share with each other? Is each person
going to do their own dishes? When is it okay for guests to come over? Discuss
these topics and any other areas that are important to you with your roommates
prior to moving in.
- Take time to get rid of everything you don’t need.
a. Moving can be stressful, but don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Start by getting rid of everything that you currently own that you no longer need.
Consider donating it, giving it away or selling it. Make sure you have all of the
basic furniture you need before buying decorative pieces. Keep things very
simple to make the transition to your new home as easy as possible.
- Use Flash 11 to stay on top of things.
a. At Transitions, we teach a concept called Flash 11. This involves picking up and
cleaning as much as one can in 11 minutes before leaving your home and before
going to bed. This can be done every day. It is also important to set aside time
weekly or bi-weekly to go through your entire home to vacuum, sweep, mop,
dust and do your laundry. Flash 11 helps keep your home clean outside of those
regular sessions when your time is limited.
- Build a routine.
a. A routine can help make life away from home less stressful. Schedule your time
outside of class and work to complete your responsibilities and build in time to
rest and enjoy doing the things you love to do. Plan your times for going to sleep
and waking up. Of course, life is unpredictable and there will be times when you
cannot follow a routine. However, a routine will make it easier to do what is
important to you on a regular basis.
- Take time to celebrate.
a. If you have recently taken the step to move away from your childhood home and
into your own, be sure to celebrate! It is never an easy thing. Acknowledge the
accomplishment of achieving a major life milestone.