Are you thinking of moving in with your significant other? Before moving in together, you should first be aware of the challenges that come with living with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or fiancé. While moving in with your partner can be a very exciting time, it is also a time of merging lifestyles, tastes, and most importantly – belongings. Knowing some tips for couples moving in together ahead of time can help alleviate stress and lead to a smoother move, both physically and emotionally. Share these tips for couples moving in together with your partner so you can both be on the same page before making the step of moving in together.
Have a Trial Period
Before you commit to moving in together, do a test run to see what it’s like living with each other. For 2 consecutive weeks, live together in the same space. This will give you time to discover problem areas, work out any issues, and get a better understanding of what it’s like to live together. Sometimes, even though you get along with someone when you spend time together, you may not be compatible living together. We all have our preferences for how we like to live while we’re at home, and you won’t know that until you have a trial run of moving in with your significant other. After moving in with your partner, you’ll discover things like their cleanliness (do they leave dishes in the sink, hair in the shower, laundry on the floor, etc.), their daily habits and sleep schedule, and little habits they have around the house. Once all of this is in the open, you may find that you are still excited to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or, you might decide to talk through some of the things you discovered first. Having a completely open, judgment-free trial period is a perfect way to know what you are getting into before moving in together.
Ask For Advice
It’s never easy to ask for advice, but if you are preparing to move in with your significant other, it may be beneficial to ask those who have already gone through it. If you’re comfortable with it, you can ask your parents or grandparents for advice. Otherwise, check in with friends who have moved in with their significant other. See if they have any tips for moving in together that they can share with you. Sometimes it’s good to hear about the experiences of others. They’ve all had to go through the transitional period of moving in together, so they know what to look for and how to solve issues before they can even arise. Your friends and family may also have insight into things to talk about before moving in together, and when is the best time to move in with a significant other.
Talk Financials Ahead of Time
Before moving in together, set aside time to completely go over all financials. You should fully discuss all the financials for both of you during this time. This includes income, savings, investments, credit score, credit card debt, student loans, and any other financial obligations. Once you fully know what you are dealing with, you can begin forming a plan. Not everyone likes to talk about their financial situation, but being open about your income and monthly payments can help determine the apartment or home you can afford, and who will pay for each expense.
Set a Budget
Now that you are aware of each other’s income, debt, and other financial information, you can begin creating a budget. The biggest tip for couples moving in together is to talk about budget and expenses before moving in together. It’s important to discuss living expenses ahead of time so there are no surprises. Unclear communication about bills and other expenses before moving in with your significant other will lead to more tension and arguments down the line. First, establish how the rent will be divided. It’s important to note that sometimes 50/50 is not a fair split based on incomes. If your partner has a higher salary, they may take on more rent, and allow you to cover utilities. Determine whether you’ll split things like groceries or if one person will be responsible. Ensure that the home you decide on is well within budget for both parties. Be clear on any issues or fears you have upfront. You should also look into expenses like movers, new furniture and decor, parking if you are in a city, etc.
Decide on a Place
Now, you’ll have to decide where you want to live. Will you stay in your place, move into your partner’s, or move somewhere new together. Consider things like square footage, commute, pets, and the overall culture of the area when choosing where to live. Your partner’s home might be bigger, but if there isn’t much to do in the surrounding area and it adds 20 minutes to your commute, it may not be the right choice. Many couples may choose to move into a new home, as it gives a sense of ownership for both parties, and allows you to create a new home together. Sometimes, moving into an already established space can be hard, as it may not feel like it is your space. Before moving in together, create a list of must-have qualities that you both want from your new place. You may have to compromise, but at least you will have set expectations going into the search.
Take an Inventory of Both Spaces
Now that you’ve found a space, take an inventory of your and your partner’s belongings. You will likely have a ton of duplicate items that you’ll have to decide what to do with. Large items like beds, dressers, couches, and coffee tables will need to be pared down. Small items like kitchen utensils, appliances, and cleaning supplies will also need to be addressed. If you are not ready to give up these items, it may be wise to rent a storage unit to keep everything. That way, when you move into a larger space down the line, you won’t have to buy all new furniture and décor.
Decide What Stays and What Goes
This part will be difficult and will take a lot of patience and understanding. Your partner may want to keep things that you would love to see go. It may be difficult for you both to understand where the other person is coming from during this time. Try to keep an open mind and recognize that it can be hard getting rid of your belongings, and even harder when someone tells you they aren’t worth keeping. If you come across items you truly cannot part with, you can always put them in your storage unit. Go through all other items with your partner and decide what you’ll be keeping, selling, recycling, trashing, or donating. It’s important to do this step before moving in. Everything you keep will add to the cost of your move. You’ll spend more time packing, buying more boxes, and paying more through your moving company. When you get to your new space, you’ll be stressed unpacking and also choosing what stays or goes. Don’t wait on this step. Take the time to do it well in advance. Remember that living with your significant other will require compromise and that this step of moving in together will be tricky for both of you.
Measure All Furniture
Once you determine what furniture will be staying, measure it to make sure it all fits in your new home. If you haven’t decided on a home or apartment to move into with your significant other, write these dimensions down in your notes app and refer to it as you tour places. Prepare for the move by thinking through where everything will be placed and how it will all fit in the new space. You may find that not all of your furniture will fit. Decide together the best solutions to getting rid of additional items or buying new, smaller versions. Based on your measurements, determine how much square footage you’ll need for your new home. If money is tight, ask friends and family if they have any furniture they are looking to get rid of. Plenty of people keep old furniture simply because they don’t want to deal with the process of getting rid of it. If you can rent a moving truck or van and pick up preowned furniture from everyone on the same day, you may be able to get most of what you need for your home for almost nothing. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are two other great options for finding inexpensive, gently-used furniture.
Be Prepared to Compromise
You may think you know everything about your partner, but you don’t truly know them until you’ve lived with them. Both of you will be used to doing things your way and will have little quirks you’re unaware of. Like with any roommate you’ve ever had, it’s important to compromise. If there are small things they do that you typically wouldn’t, but aren’t harming anything, you may need to live and let live. If there are things that upset you, don’t let them build up. Immediately communicate openly about your worries and expectations. You may find that they had no idea they did something a certain way, and it could be a very easy fix. Moving in with your significant other can be difficult at times; the most important thing is to always address issues immediately, and be open-minded throughout conversations.
Separate Roommate from Romance
When couples start living together, their fights or grievances often turn into ones about home life. Understand the difference between being frustrated with your “roommate” and being frustrated in your relationship. Don’t let little things around the house put a dark cloud over your relationship as a whole. Learn to separate the two emotionally to keep the relationship healthy.
Make Time (and Space) For You
If your home is large enough, establish a space that is just for you. Living with your partner 24/7 can be a lot. You’ll be used to being able to go home and have time to yourself. Continue to give yourself that alone time to establish independence and freedom within your living situation. If you don’t have enough space, make sure you are still getting out of the house and having your own separate time to yourself. Go out with friends or dive into your hobbies and activities.
Don’t Fall Into a Routine
When couples begin living together, it can be easy to fall into a routine. Come home from work, make dinner, go to the gym, sit down and watch TV together, go to bed. Keep things exciting by scheduling date nights for yourselves. Once a month, take turns picking a new restaurant you both haven’t been to. Set a specific date, get dressed up, and treat yourself to a fun date night. This gives you the opportunity to explore your area and try new things together. Or, try a book like The Adventure Challenge, where you scratch off surprise dates and activities to do together. Set a day or two aside each month to scratch off a new date in the book to do together.
Always Have Open Communication
This is the most important tip for couples moving in together than any other on this list. Moving in together is a huge step and a lot of small pieces go into it. You’ll likely discover things that bother, upset, or worry you that need to be addressed. It’s important to bring these issues up immediately with your partner and talk about them in an open and respectful way. Keeping things bottled up or assuming your partner knows you’re upset will just lead to an unhealthy living situation. Creating an environment of open communication and acceptance allows both of you to feel comfortable and will ultimately bring you closer together.