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Moving Back Home With Your Parents After College – How to Make It Work

Moving back home with your parents may be a little embarrassing, but it is an increasingly common choice for American 20-somethings. As recent college graduates they may need a place to stay while they get their feet on the ground. Whether you are waiting for a job, looking for a cheap apartment, or biding time until marriage, use these tips to keep your family from going crazy.

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Be Honest About Privacy: Don’t worry about how awkward it might be – sit down and have a serious conversation with your parents about what you expect in the way of privacy (along with how much privacy they need, too). An honest talk about sex, sleeping hours, time devoted to personal projects and similar topics is necessary for a healthy home environment when you move back in. Leaving things unsaid will lead to conflict later, so take the awkwardness up front and find compromises everyone can live with.

moving in

Decide on the Rental Aspects: How much should your stay at home resemble a rental agreement? Some graduates go all the way and create a contractual lease with their parents, which helps set up very clear boundaries while exposing any underlying problems before they devolve into fights or misunderstandings. For some, creating a real lease is too complicated, but there are still many ways to create a financial relationship, such as agreeing to pay a certain amount per month to cover utilities. You could also agree to buy groceries, take care of the house, cover a portion of the mortgage payments, or find another inventive way to help pay for your stay. This helps keep your independence, enables your parents to support you, and is still much cheaper than renting.

Create Ground Rules on Personal Property: Chances are good that you are walking back into your parents’ house with at least a few things that you can call your own. Chances are also good your parents have accumulated a few possessions during your time at college that they never expected you to use. Whether it is a car, gym equipment, or entertainment devices, ground rules need to be created concerning who can use it – and when – and how it should be taken care of. These rules will not only help you with all future roommate experiences, but they will keep the peace and stop any uncomfortable assumptions before they start.

moving in again

Have a Long-Term Plan: “Indefinitely” is not an adjective that should apply to your post-college stay. The job market may be tight and you may remain uncertain about your future, but moving back home should still be part of a larger plan. Create clear goals for yourself with realistic deadlines, such as getting a job by the end of a year, finding your own apartment in nine months or finishing your portfolio in half a year. This will prevent you from falling back into pre-college routines, give you the drive necessary to manage your life, and prevent your parents from growing too mad when you wake them up at 2:00 AM again. Treat your goals seriously, and prepare to accept a low-paying position on your path to a dream job rather than letting those personal deadlines fly by.

Remember that Everyone is an Adult: Keep in mind that your relationship with your parents has undergone a vital paradigm shift. You are now an adult, and they have been adults for a while now. You have a mature life with clear aspirations and opinions. Your parents have their own plans and dreams that do not include you. Your stay at home will be much more harmonious and successful if both sides understand that no one is in high school any more.

Photo Credit: Merrimack College, East Georgia State College, old account (katie dureault)

Tyler Lacoma
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