20 Year Old Son Moving Out. What Is a Must Have That You Might over Look? Added

Updated on August 06, 2019
H.M. asks from Midlothian, TX
15 answers

My 20 year old son is getting an apartment with some of his buddies. :( He has lived off a college for a year then moved home but lived in the dorms which where fully furnished so he didn't really have to take much. None of them have actually lived away from home other than dorms. It will be about an hour away so yes I will see him some but still to far away to just pop in.
What are some things that he might need that might be over looked? The only furniture he owns that will go with him is a desk. He will get a bed eventually. He and his brother have bunk beds so he can't take his bed. We don't have a lot of money to help get new stuff but want to make sure he's got the necessities.
Added: One of the boys will be taking online classes and for now the other two will be working and saving up money. At the moment he has a blowup mattress he plans to use till he can get a bed. (That was his idea not mine) The apt will come with all appliances including washer and dryer.
He loves to cook so I know as long as he can afford food he wont go hungry.
Keep the ideas coming!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for all the ideas. I agree with waiting for a lot to see what they really need once they all three come together. I have a few friends that are looking to see if they have some stuff for him to use. And he loves going to thrift stores. I am pretty sure he knows who our insurance company is as he's gone up there with us several times for different things, he has my medical insurance card from when he was off at college. He does have a job lined up for him up there once he gets there. He and one of the boys went up there yesterday and explored some and found the Taco Bell, Walmart and vape shop (Things they think are important). I do know his girlfriend and her family are about 15 mins away so if an emergency comes up they are close by if he needs help. I like the idea of something for him to put his important documents and stuff in. He does have a lockbox that he used to transport his laptop and computer stuff in that he can use till he gets something else.

He did say that they came up with a contract for them all to sign with the agreements of how things will get paid and what not. They have been taking about doing this for probably about a year now. But nothing was final till last week when they got approved for the apartment.

Well today is moving day. I think they are pretty well set with most of what they need to start out. He was able to find a bed online that he should be picking up shortly. We will probably go up and see him Sunday I think is what he and my husband discussed to take him a few things he was not able to get or forgot and see the new apartment. He is so very excited!

Thanks for all the ideas!

More Answers


answers from Boston on

I'd say don't worry about things until he moves in and sees what everyone else is bringing. He can throw a mattress on the floor for now until he gets a bed frame (if he even bothers with one).

Once they figure out what's needed he can check out thrift shops or the marketplace on facebook to get stuff. I've seen full sets of dished, pots and pans at Goodwill many times. The dollar store is great for things like wastepaper baskets and cooking things.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think an apartment for a group of men in their early 20s needs: beds, desks, a large TV, a refrigerator, and maybe a case of beer. Everything else will fall into place, lol! This is not a marital home or even a “bachelor pad”, it’s still more like a dorm for now (they are still in college, if I understand your post correctly).

ETA: I am just trying to say in a lighthearted way “do not stress!” I think he will see quickly what he needs and you can all figure it out, among the group of boys and all their parents.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Will they be sharing things like a couch, table, tv .. that sort of thing? I agree with MM about buy/swap/sell groups - Facebook marketplace is what my kids/hubby use. I would say a comfy chair makes all the difference.

A niece of mine just furnished an apartment for herself with IKEA furniture. I think the beds are reasonable. I think some also are sofa/bed combo (easily switch) and reasonable.

*in case this helps - My good friend did her cottage up with IKEA stuff too - shower curtains and bedding, etc. It all seemed very reasonable. Seems to me you can buy 1 glass, etc. So you don't have to buy a set. So that might be all that he needs (buying a few for himself if that's how they are going to go) if you don't have odds and ends to spare.

I would make sure they have a toaster (seems like all we ate was toast) and a toaster oven seemed crucial back in the day. Microwave (cheap one), and that sort of thing. My sister hung on to her old ones and then replaced as her kids left for college... but again, online buy and sells would be the way to go to save if needs be.

I remember not having the right pots and pans - like big enough or enough of them (and dish towels) because you're not doing laundry as often. My sister gave all her kids laundry bags and a basket so the clothes could come back folded (her treat when they came home).

He'll probably have a list within the first few weeks I'm sure.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Why not let him figure this out on his own. He's 20 years old. He should know what the basics are.

A job to pay rent! :)

Pots and pans to cook with.
Laundry basket and detergent
plates to eat off of and silverware to eat with
sheets, pillow and a blanket

He should go to K-Mart or another store that offers lay away and get what he needs and pay for it over time. He shouldn't move out until he has the stuff or the guys together have the stuff they need for their apartment.

Bean bags will work as chairs until they can afford them.
He needs his laptop or computer so he can continue with his schooling.

have him look around YOUR home and see what you have to make it feel like home and go from there.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

He's going to need a bed - where does he plan to sleep? In a sleeping bag?
A bed frame like this:


is strong, has space for storage underneath, easy to move and set up and somewhat affordable.
The mattress will cost more but it's worth it to get a good one.
And then there's the bedding he'll need for it.

Some small amount of dishes (dish, cereal bowl, mug, etc), cutlery, few basic pots and pans, etc.
Eating out gets expensive and fast food all the time isn't good for anyone.
He needs to start cooking for himself and roommates.

If you don't have any spares to give him, and you don't have a lot of coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond, check out thrift shops - they are great places to get some basics for a first apartment.

If you want to give him something personal - give him a collection of your favorite easy recipes.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Check out your local buy/swap/sell Facebook group, as well as Facebook Marketplace. Many folks sell great things for a fraction of the price new. I find it to be a way better deal than say Goodwill or other thrift stores.

I think I'd wait to get much until you find out what the other roommates have - no sense if they all bring pots and pans but no one brings dishes.

Maybe getting him a few consumables to start is the way to go - laundry soap, dish soap, cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc. Even if they have extra, you know it will get used up eventually and with coupons and sale watching, you can usually get these types of things at a great price.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

the only 'necessity' is the one you say he doesn't have- a bed. i guess if he's got a couch or sleeping bag, that takes care of that.

as for the rest, i'm not sure why it's so important to have it an advance. especially since the bed is low priority. why not let them move in, pool their resources, and find out then what's needed?

after they've been there for a week or a month they'll have a much better idea of what they need. i think that would be a lot smarter than trying to guess in advance and maybe load them up with a ton of extra stuff.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

They are adults and they need to be adults - sink or swim. So yes, suggest FB marketplace type groups and also Freecycle which is free. They have to post something to give away before they request anything, but it can be small, and it doesn't matter if anyone actually chooses it. And they can accept things that others offer - they just have to be quick and be the first ones. I think they have to get together as a group and do something cooperatively.
People who are moving give away incredible things just to avoid paying to move them. If he gets a bed, just have him get a mattress cover.

Going to yard sales at the end of the day is good too - sellers don't want to move that stuff back into the house, and often give it away for free.

They need to learn to work cooperatively and prioritize, without parents bailing them out too much. And used stuff that doesn't have a lot of value works out well in a year or so when one or more kids head off on their own - no fights. Set them up with Venmo or another way to even up expenses so no one kid is footing the bill and not getting paid back.

Once they realize that the dorm cleaning staff or their parents aren't taking care of the bathroom or the dirty dishes, they'll see the need for cleaning supplies! You might give a starter set with gloves, detergent, steel wool and baking soda (works great on sinks, toilets, etc. - and it's cheap and chemical-free!).

They don't need a super cable/Apple TV package. They don't need a huge TV or brand new anything. They can make do and I think it's a great life lesson.

They also should have an agreement about "house purchases" like food and cleaning supplies and utilities so one kid with helpful parents doesn't get stuck with the bill.

You might start by asking him what he thinks he needs, just to see how realistic he is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

ask your son to make a list of what he thinks he needs to survive on his own. That's where I would start and it would show me his priorities as well.

Maybe they are going to go into together to share the costs of furniture. You can utilize Craigslist and Facebook (it has a marketplace for people to buy and sell things I am told) to get things used. He should know these things, I hope.

does he have a job to pay the rent? What is his back up plan if his friends can't pay their share of the rent? Is there anything in writing? Whose name is on the lease? All 4 of them or just one?

Ask him what he feels are the basic necessities and how he plans on getting them. That's where I would start.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Asking him what he thinks he needs is indeed the first step. Maybe give him the list of things one needs for a home (bedroom, maintaining clothes, living room, leisure, kitchen) and let him think what he would need for his part of that. I suspect it will be easier for the household to buy the shared items (tables, chairs, living room couch, maybe kitchen goods) and just sell them or divide them when the household divides.

I'm thinking now what things were essential when I moved half way across the country at age 23... a futon and frame which I could turn into a couch, clothing, an iron, some cookbooks, a few pots. Once there, I got some good cookware and furniture from yard sales and stores occasionally--my cast iron frying pans came from yard sales 30 years ago. In terms of appliances, a toaster-oven has been more useful than just a toaster; a rice cooker and slow cooker are life-savers. Anyway, good luck with it!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Lessons learned from my son and his moving experiences (he shared a house or apartment with friends a couple of times, then moved into a very small place when he went to college):

1. Get him a small safe/locked box/small sturdy filing box, and help him realize the importance of storing necessary papers/documents in one place. If he protests that these are his friends and wouldn't steal anything, teach him that this is about staying organized. He'll have one specific place for the stuff he can't lose track of (checkbook, receipts for computer, etc).

2. One thing that really surprised me was the number of my son's friends who didn't know who their car insurance was with or how to contact them, whether they had health insurance, if they had renter's insurance, etc. Have your son create a folder or app on his phone or somewhere safe where he can list the important numbers: roadside assistance, car insurance, doctor, etc, and make sure he knows the procedure in case of a break-in, a car accident (his own or someone else's). So many of my son's friends said things like "yeah my dad has insurance on my car, I guess" and that was the extent of their knowledge. Have your son take the initiative in informing any of these types of companies of his new address, and stress the importance of updating whenever he moves.

3. If he will be driving, prepare a small bag/box to keep in the trunk of the car. It should contain gloves, maybe a fold-up poncho in case of rain, flashlight, batteries, energy bars, a couple of bottles of water, duct tape, a couple of dollars and quarters, and other "stranded in the dark on the side of the road" kind of emergency supplies. My son always thought that was stupid until his car broke down and it was cold and dark.

4. The best trick my son learned at college was about dry-erase whiteboards. He needed one to diagram technical stuff that he was studying, and whiteboards are ridiculously expensive and small. Other students told him to go to Home Depot or Lowes or similar stores and buy a melamine board, in the bath/shower department. It's just a few dollars for a huge board and they'll cut it for you. And it's a perfect dry-erase white board. He used clips to put it on the wall and had an entire whiteboard wall. They make great message boards for roommates, and reminders about the rent being due, etc.

I agree with waiting a while to figure out what's needed and what really isn't, as far as furnishings.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Let him figure that one out. Really, it is part of growing up.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You mention car insurance. We ended up having both our boys be on their own individual car insurance policy. It might be more expensive, but you as parents don’t have the legal liability that can rear its ugly head if your son is at fault in a serious accident. By paying it himself (autopay is his friend), it helps him build his credit, even if you are subsidizing him for a while.

One of the important things about “adulting”, which my younger son who graduated frim college last year is learning, is that he is responsible for learning HOW STUFF WORKS (his words, lol.) My husband understands car insurance very well. He helped my son shop for a good policy, listened in with my son on the phone calls, and they both fixed it so that my husband can actually see our son’s online account and talk him through a lot of info when needed. When my son had been driving long enough for his rate to go down, that was a discussion so that our son knew what’s going on. With Geico, if you buy at least ONE share of Berkshire Hathaway (the less expensive shares of course) and show them evidence of stock ownership, that also lowers your rate. He showed our son how to do that in the IRA he helped him open. Right now, my husband and I are giving him pointers on handling another driver’s insurance company due to their insured hitting his car in a parking lot at work (one of his coworkers - just lovely...) This is really important “adulting” too - they want to fix the door rather than replace it, and my son is wisely listening to the approved Honda shop tell him that they don’t recommend that. He hasn’t jumped into getting it fixed yet while he gets quotes, and last night’s heavy rains taught him a valuable lesson - the rain got in his car, so that’s going to help him get the right work done out of this company. I told him that critical learning skills are what he has to apply to life in general, planning ahead, and thinking things through. So many kids just don’t do that.

I’m grateful that our son wants to learn, appreciates the help, and doesn’t just expect his parents to do it all for him. It’s a big gift to your son if you can help him understand these concepts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Sorry mom, most of these things he will need to figure out and be independent. I would check safety, is there a decent lock, tell him to be careful of people he meets and drugs, and be a little careful about women.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

-sm sewing kit
-shower curtain
-mattress on floor instead of an air mattress
-extension cord
-outlet strip w/an on/off button (so you can plug in several things at once)
-coffee maker
-Walmart & Taco Bell gift cards
-cutting board
-good knife for kitchen
-few big serving spoons
-boxes of Kleenex (they rarely think of this)
-extra toilet paper he can keep in his closet (tell him to tell roommates they are all responsible for their own tp & food)
-first aid kit
-flashlight w/batteries
-bathroom rug (2. one in front of shower, one by sink)
-Dayquil, Nightquil
- 4 big bath towels
- salt, pepper
- a couple of pots (2 of each: med pot for mac n cheese, skillet, flat pan to warm tortillas, sheet pan
- frozen choc chip cookie dough
- extra batteries
-Army Swiss knife to carry in car
-jumper cables to keep in car
-a bike to get around (can buy a cheap $100 at Walmart), bike lock!
-some food items that don't spoil: rice, pasta, ramen, mac n cheese, crackers

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