You’re ready to take your relationship to the next level: it’s time to combine the silverware, call the friends for a housewarming, and move in together! By now, we all know that there is a lot to consider with such a decision, so here are some tips to make sure moving in with your S.O. goes smoothly and you and your sweetheart are set up for success.
Make sure you are moving in together for the right reasons
Convenience is a terrible reason to merge your lives down to your bathroom habits, just because you’ve kept a toothbrush at your partner’s house for a few months already. Saving on rent each month is a similarly terrible reason, just because you end up staying together half of the time anyway… That’s still half of the time that you don’t. Have a conversation about why the two of you think cohabitation is a good step for your relationship, and make sure it includes the statement that it’s a good step for your relationship. It will inevitably change the dynamic, so be sure you are both clear on expectations and completely on the same page.
Decide if one of you will move to the others’ current abode, or if you’ll find a new place together
Unless one of you owns a home, moving into a new place together can be a great way to ensure that the home feels like your home together. Nobody has the “upper hand” because he or she has already decorated and settled while the other is left to try and find a few hooks and some closet space — which can leave the newcomer feeling like a long-term houseguest. Either way, ready yourself to make some significant compromises as you blend your two lives (and tastes in decoration and feng shui) into one household.
Discuss and make a plan for handling the finances
We have all heard that saying about assumptions, so it’s best not to make any —especially when it comes to finances. Before signing the lease, calling the movers, or even packing that first box, have an open and transparent conversation detailing all of the anticipated expenses of the household and how they will be covered. Will you split the bills 50/50? Who will keep track of making sure things get paid on time? How will you divide the cost of groceries? For credit purposes, whose name will be on the lease and the utility accounts? Having these discussions far in advance can save you from some seriously awkward conversations down the road when the collection agency comes knocking.
Set some ground rules/expectations
Within every household, there are things that must be done: cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, taking out the trash, and so on. Not every couple has a clear and agreed upon view of how such chores should be divided and conquered, so prepare yourselves with a discussion about how you’d like to run a household together. Do you need a schedule because your definitions of “clean” are a bit different? It’s best to have that discussion before one of you gets disgusted at the toothpaste splatters on the mirror.
Talk about how you will approach decorations
This will differ greatly if you are combining households into one partner’s space versus moving into an entirely new home together, but it’s important to establish a common aesthetic to guide your decorating choices. If one is a minimalist and the other likes knickknacks, you’re going to have to find a middle ground and compromise. Each partner needs to be prepared to make some sacrifices — maybe the vintage fur lamp needs to go, or maybe your preference for all white needs a splash or color.
If you are moving to a new space, put both names on the lease
You are stepping into a new version of responsibility together, so this shouldn’t be one of the big questions to ask before moving in together. To ensure that the new lease and moving endeavors feel like an equal investment, it is best that both names are on the lease. At the same time, see the first tip and make sure you are ready to sign the dotted line.
Don’t forget to find your own space
You are still your own person, after all, so make an effort to carve out space for each of you in the house. On the moving checklist for couples, it can be easy to forget this step, particularly in the excitement of sharing your home — but you may soon find you need space to take a little alone time in the midst of all of the transitions. This is an important step.
Lastly, do yourselves a favor and call a local moving service so that you can focus on being lovebirds and settling into your new home.