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Helping Your Kids Move Out

Updated on February 21, 2018
sholland10 profile image

Susan is the last of 8 children, has raised 2 children, and has spent 26 years teaching high school kids. She grew up with a strong mother.

Remnants of My Little Girl
Remnants of My Little Girl

She came home one evening and said, “Mom and Dad, I signed a lease.” We were expecting it. She had been talking about moving out for over two years. We even expected it earlier and gave her a $100 Wal-mart gift card last year so she could have a little seed money when she did move out.

What we didn’t expect was that she would be out of the house two days after her announcement of signing the lease. Her bedroom emptied and stripped of everything “her,” except a box full of memories and cast aside items from old costumes and childhood play things.

Truly, we have been empty nesters for years because she was gone all the time, but it hit like a ton of bricks the first night she stayed in her new apartment. Yes, I cried like a baby. My husband had no idea what to do with me.

I did the mushy things moms do: watched her graduation video with pictures since birth, and put a beautiful status on Facebook about missing her, yet being so proud of her along with Rascal Flatt’s “I Wish” video. Then I cried some more while checking to see who “LIKED” my status, needing someone to understand – a lot of women liked it. My Facebook male friends didn’t know what to do with me either.

Okay, it was time for me to snap out of it and get busy helping my daughter. She did all her packing, and her dad did all the heavy lifting. For years, little by little, I had started collecting small household items for her and making suggestions because I grew up during the time of "hope chests."

Things to Do Before Kids Move Out

As most of us know, it is expensive to move whether it is our first time or it is our um-teenth time. Since we do not pay for her college tuition, we wanted to help her get on her feet in her first apartment. There are always things needed to buy. Knowing this, I remembered when I was in high school and thinking about the day I would move out. My mother started collecting things for me to put in my “hope chest.” A hope chest is physical or hypothetical chest young girls used to save articles of things that would help them start a household. Sound old fashion? It is one of those traditions that is a keeper. Spread out your collecting so it is not so expensive at once.

We did the same thing for my daughter. We bought her a bedroom suit (years ago), bed linens, blankets, and started giving her things we no longer used, like dishes, cups, and glasses.

We also tagged things she could take with her, such as the downstairs TV, a recliner, and a couch and love seat.

She either used these things or boxed them up to save when she moved out. We had started collecting things at least three years before she moved out.

Spices | Source
Essentials | Source
Paper and Plastic Goods and Batteries
Paper and Plastic Goods and Batteries | Source
Health and Beauty Products
Health and Beauty Products | Source
Cleaning Products
Cleaning Products | Source

Helping Kids When They Move Out - the Staples

Wow, two days’ notice. I had to pull it together. I had already decided I would buy her staples to get her started. Here is the list of items I bought:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Various Spices
  • Cooking Oil
  • Bisquick
  • Syrup
  • Soy Sauce
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Tissues
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Dish Soap
  • Dishwasher Tablets
  • Breakfast Food
  • Batteries
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Vitamin C Drops
  • Cough Drops
  • Ibuprofen
  • Cough Syrup
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Olives
  • Canned Soup
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Sandwich and Plastic Storage Bags
  • Trash Bags

All the things she was used to having at home when she cooked a meal or needed a snack. Or all the things we take for granted - do you see anything on the list that you take for granted? As you can see, it is a lengthy list and can cost a lot when you are a young adult moving out.

Dad had to help too, so he went out and bought her wall hooks – ya know, the AS SEEN ON TV type – a flashlight and a measuring tape.

Essentials to Have Around the House

Wall Hangers, Measuring Tape, and Flashlight
Wall Hangers, Measuring Tape, and Flashlight | Source
Extras Food Items in the Cabinets
Extras Food Items in the Cabinets | Source

Going Through The Cabinets

When your kids move out, it gives you a chance to clean out your cabinets. I went through most of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and found more “goodies” to give her.

First, I went through my pantry and found several things that I had doubled, tripled, and quadrupled on, such as:

  • More Spices
  • Rice
  • Dried Beans
  • More Canned Soup
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Salsa
  • Cake Mix
  • Seasoning Packets (Chili, Taco, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous Pots and Pans
  • Mini Crock Pot
  • Cookie Sheet and Cake Pans
  • Miscellaneous Silverware
  • Place Mats
  • Potholders
  • T-towels and dish clothes
  • Waffle Iron
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Glad-ware
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Serving Platter
  • Cutting Board
  • Knives
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Top Lamp Candle Warmer

Then came the bathroom drawers and cabinets – keeping in mind this is a daughter who often "borrows" make-up and facial products from her mother:

  • Assorted, practically new make-up (she had already been into it, anyway)
  • Lotions
  • Calamine Lotion
  • A new tube of Neosporin

Cleaned out the Cabinets
Cleaned out the Cabinets | Source
Save Reusable Bags
Save Reusable Bags | Source

Advice and Rewards

I am sure I am missing items, but I tried to get supplies she was used to using at home. These things will last awhile, and she will be able to get other things she needs.

We want her to have her independence, and we wanted to help her get started. Moving out might be difficult on parents, but it is exciting for kids. I want her to remember it the same way I did, as a happy way to start adulthood. My mother helped me, and I wasn’t about to just have a good cry and wave from the door. I wanted to contribute to this milestone.

Some practical advice I gave her:

Save the reusable bags for shopping

Use plastic bags to line your small trash cans

Be happy and enjoy your independence

My Reward:

I got to help her arrange her kitchen with lots of talk and laughter

A happy, tearful hug full of love and appreciation and a big, “Thank you, Mom.”

I felt like she had given me much more than I had given her.

Then, I got home and found an extra coffee pot. Well, I will run vinegar through it so it will be ready for her. I also found some cookbooks she will love using. I will give them to her when she comes home. She will be home to do laundry. I am sure she might show up for a meal or two. We will always be "home" to her.

A Coffee Pot and Cookbooks
A Coffee Pot and Cookbooks | Source

Do you believe parents should help their kids get started when they move out?

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Rascal Flatt's "My Wish"


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    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Oh, thanks, Rebecca! Some people think I practice too much tough love, but when they move out it is like the one last thing I can do for them before they start their life. It is bittersweet. I will tell you that my husband and I had a lot of fun shopping for the essentials. It made us feel better knowing she would have things she was used to using at home.

      Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      7 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      You sound like a great Mom. This is a nicely put together beginner's list for that first apartment!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi Pamela,

      Thank you! I really only gave her basics and there were a lot of things left out that she will have to get on her own. I just love the idea of giving "the staples" as a gift for setting up a household... so many things we take for granted.

      It is wonderful having responsible, productive kids, isn't it? :-) I will miss her, but I know she will do well. And you are right, the love stays forever no matter where we live.

      Thanks for dropping by!! :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I think you did a great job of giving your daughter a lot of help to get started on that road of independence. I went through the emotions of that last child moving out also. I love your list as you thought of so many things that are important when you start from scratch. It sounds like your daughter is a responsible daughter, and that is because if good parenting. It is a big change for you too, so the emotions are not unexpected. You obviously have a great relationship with your children and I do also. They will always be our children and the love stays forever, no matter where they live. Wonderful hub.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Kelly, you are strong. Sam moved a town away and works there. She is going to school, too.

      We bought her bedroom set when she was in high school, and the rest of the stuff was old stuff we had accumulated over the years (I was a little embarrassed for people to see my old pans - lol), but she loved getting the stuff that seems like junk to me.

      I am sure we will have girls' days. :-) She is a great girl, and I feel confident that she is responsible enough to move out. She always did things at home, so I know she will take care of her stuff.

      Thanks so much for dropping by! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Teaches! It is a bittersweet time. I am very proud of my children. Neither of them feel entitled, so I do not mind helping when there is a milestone. I think the transition is easier for me than it is them. LOL

      Thanks so much for dropping by!! :-)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Awww! I did help Laurel when she moved. I wasn't not crying at all - she only moved 15 minutes away and she works 5 minutes away from "home." She still comes over for lunch or stops by after work - its even better now because if she's crabby I can send her home! lol

      I bought her a new bedroom set when she moved. I thought she should have a nice set that would last a while rather than her girlhood junk. Have fun shopping and lunching now - it's the best! Sounds like you raised a good girl!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      It's such a bitter sweet time when children leave the home either due to college, jobs, or just because it's time. Preparing them all through the years really comes to a point here and indicates how well they have listened and are ready to move on. Your preparation tips and suggestions will help both parent and child to make it meaningful and a smooth, pleasant transition.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi ALocsin! I guess after my tough love parenting hubs, you would think that I would write about "giving the boot." LOL Sorry to disappoint, but I am a softy when it comes to my kids leaving home. ;-) You are too funny!!

      I just did what my mom did for me. A little help to get them on their feet so they don't end up having to come back home - although, they ALWAYS have a home to come to if needed. We won't pay for college or their bills, but we will make sure they have a roof and food to eat at home. They know the deal. Don't ya feel sorry for them? LOL My son is married and a homeowner, is working full time, and is about to graduate from college, and my daughter is starting her junior year (in college, not high school - lol). I guess they learned "something."

      Always great to see you. Thanks for dropping by and voting! :-)

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I thought this would be about tips for encouraging kids to move out, such as locking their doors and putting their belongings in the street ;)

      This is useful advice for many parents whose kids are getting old enough to make the leap. I like the idea of getting rid of some of your stuff to give your kid a head start on stuff they'll need. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi MT!! Moving out and moving in general is expensive. Starting out is very expensive when looking at how little you have to start out with. Buying some basic staples is such a great help and giving our kids old stuff that we no longer use is appreciated. I had the hardest time finding cooking utensils I didn't use. I figure she can go to the Dollar Store if she needs to buy something.

      My mother started putting things aside for me a few years before I left home, too. It is not so expensive when it comes time. I also started putting away things for myself, and my daughter did the same. It really helps to do a little at a time.

      The first time they move out, the reality of what they are doing hits them, which is the way it should be. Giving them a little bit to get started, and it truly is very little when you look at the rest of their lives, gives them a step up into their independence.

      Thanks for dropping by and voting! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi George! I know... you feel sad, yet proud and happy that you raised them well. A strange combination of bitter-sweet. Then, you want them to be independent, but you don't want to give too much. In our case, it is kind of like "one man's trash is another man's treasure." LOL She loved it, though.

      Thank you for dropping by! :-)

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      8 years ago from USA

      Moving out is a big expense, and when my daughter moves out, I will definitely go looking through the house to see what items I can give to her. She can replace them with her own stuff as she is able. I certainly can give her the basics to start off with, such as food, utensils, dishes, bedding, etc. so she can focus on paying rent, utilities, groceries, and her ongoing needs. I hadn't thought of starting that process now, so thanks for that advice. Voted up.

    • georgescifo profile image


      8 years ago from India

      Thanks for sharing such a wonderful hub. In fact it is really a tricky thing to help your kids moving out on their own.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Oh Ray, your kind words are gonna set off the waterworks again. LOL

      You're the best! Thank You! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks, Sharyn! It is a special time. Even though I am misty-eyed about her leaving, I was really excited about helping her. And her reaction - omgosh - made my heart melt. She was totally taken by surprise, which made it even more special. She has shed some tears with me. Neither of us call it her "home," yet. It is her "apartment." LOL We just can't say "home" right now. I'm so proud of her. She has saved and worked for this day and never once asked for anything from us. She was prepared to do it all.

      We did have fun putting it all away in her cabinets. She wanted it to be like our kitchen at home. We did the best we could with the space we were working with. It was a sweet time. Yep, she and I are both starting new chapters. I am glad we started with good memories. :-) I'm hangin'. LOL

      Thanks so much for dropping by! :-)

    • Cagsil profile image

      Raymond D Choiniere 

      8 years ago from USA

      I completely understand and I'm extremely happy you were able to help her out as much as you did. It's nice to see things like this. :)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      8 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Aw Susan, I know how emotional this has been for you. But you are so close with Sam, I'm sure she will be around often. I think it is so awesome that you are sharing in this transition with her. Not just all the little, loving things you are doing for her but the fact that Sam wants you there, in her new place, helping her set up her first "home." It's a really special time even though there are tears. Hang in there mom!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      RAY! I am so glad you dropped in! That is just a starter list of things to start a household - a very basic one. She is flitting the bill for the rest. My mom and sisters helped me, and I wanted to help her. You know, if you have read any of my other hubs on parenting, I am a tough mom who has made her kids pay their way for college and they have put up with a strict disciplinarian, but they still want to come home to me - my goal as a parent. This is really years of accumulation of things I would have given to Good Will. Not special to me but the world to her. When she gets married, she can have showers to get new stuff. Right now she is thrilled to get by on 30 year old stuff and some of it is even older than that because it was some stuff from my mom that I took from home. (No, I'm not a hoarder - lol- just a "waste not, want not" kinda gal.)

      You are a wonderful uncle, so I think you might "get it" more than you think. :-)

      I am so glad you dropped by! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      8 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Oh Bill, I have been such a cry baby. LOL It has been hard and she is such a good girl. She has already cleaned the room and intends to come back to help her dad paint it for his new office... SIGH!! I couldn't ask for better kids. My son was the same way when he left, and they treat me and their dad with such respect. I am very proud of them. ENOUGH, or I will cry again. LOL

      Thanks so much for dropping by!! :-)

    • Cagsil profile image

      Raymond D Choiniere 

      8 years ago from USA

      That is a hefty list of things. But, then again, she is your daughter. LOL! On a side note it was definitely a great read. *remember- I don't have kids, so I don't know what it would be like for them to move out* Voted up! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hard times for sure, Susan, but it sounds to me like you prepared her well, and gave her all the basics she would need. Great hub!


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