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Helping Your Kids Move Out

Updated on February 21, 2018
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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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