So, you’re moving in together — congrats! Moving in with someone you love is an exciting time, but it’s not without its stressors. Make a few key decisions up front about how to blend your households (and your possessions) and you and your partner will be in good shape to manage any issues that arise and settle into a happy new life together in your shared space. We’ve put together a few tips to help start you off right.
1. Your place or mine…or neither?
Deciding where to live can feel challenging. Sometimes there are memories attached to the place we live, or practical considerations like square footage or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Maybe you’re thinking of making a long-distance move. If one or both of you has a lease or a mortgage, there may be an option that makes more financial sense. Many couples choose to move into a new space together, rather than trying to merge into someone’s existing home. Regardless of where you and your significant other choose to live, you’ll have to figure out how to deal with your collective stuff.
2. Assess your shared space.
Once you’ve decided where to live, it’s helpful to know how much space you have to work with. Measure your rooms, closets and furniture so you have some idea of what will fit where. If you want to plan furniture arrangements, you can find online tools from Wayfair, West Elm and more with a simple web search.
3. Take inventory.
Is one bed bigger or more comfortable than the other? Who has the newer tv? Can you really justify owning two air fryers? Make a home inventory to see where you have duplicate items and get a better idea of any home goods you may be missing. If you’re planning to get married, you can add those needed items to your registry.
4. Think about downsizing.
Combining households usually means that some things will have to go. We recommend you both start by sorting through your own possessions to see where you might be able to pare down. Then get together and discuss what you each think will fit in your shared space, and agree on what stays and what goes. Be willing to compromise. Saying goodbye to some of your stuff can be emotionally taxing, so go easy on yourself and your partner.
Before your move-in date, discard or donate anything you know you don’t need. Store items that you’d like to keep but you don’t require everyday access to in a basement, attic, garage or storage unit. Things you don’t currently have room for like furniture, artwork, electronics, antiques or collectibles can be stored in a climate-controlled unit, which may make sense for you if your life plan includes buying or renting a larger home together down the road.
5. Most importantly, set a good foundation.
It’s normal to experience an adjustment period when you first move in with a partner. You’re spending more time together and getting used to the ways each of you does things around the house, so there’s a possibility that disagreements may arise.
“What matters less is if you and your partner experience friction. What matters more is how you handle it. How do you handle the smothered feeling that rises in you when you see the dish towel in the “wrong” place? How do you respond when your partner makes a snarky comment at the end of a long day? How do you repair after tempers have flared?”– Dr Alexandra H. Solomon, Professor, Therapist, Speaker, Author, Retreat leader, and Media Personality
Dr. Solomon has some good advice on addressing the challenges of cohabitating. One thing to remember: Communication is key. Having conversations about things like home maintenance, chores, parenting, pets, finances, meals, and how much time you each need alone can help stop potential arguments before they happen.
We hope these tips will save you a few headaches, and we wish you the best in your new life together!