Two people sharing their lives is a beautiful thing, but two people sharing their living space can get a little messy — both literally and figuratively. After all, combining two different sets of stuff, two different senses of style, and two different routines presents plenty of physical and emotional challenges. The good news is that once you figure out the logistics of moving in together, you can enjoy the many perks of having a romantic roommate, including getting to spend more time together, sharing the chores, and splitting the bills. Here are a few tips for a smooth move.
Pick a Place
The first step to moving in together is figuring out where you’ll live. Will you live in your place, their abode, or a new nest? When making the choice, there are several factors to consider.
Most people think how much space you need depends on how much stuff you have, and they’re not wrong. Closet space, cabinet space, and floor space are important when it comes to accommodating another person’s clothes, furniture, and other belongings. However, how you’re going to combine two people’s possessions into one space isn’t the only consideration.
When you’re deciding how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets you need, you’ll also need to consider your lifestyle. If you work from home, for example, a spare bedroom for your office may be a must. If you love to entertain, a smaller space with an open floor plan may be more functional than separate rooms with more square footage. In other words, when it comes to choosing the right-sized home, how you use your space is just as important as what you put in it.
Where you live has a huge effect on how happy you are with your daily routine. A house in the country with a porch swing may sound great, but the hour-long commute to work each way may mean you don’t have time to enjoy it. Similarly, that house across town that checks all the boxes may seem far away from your favorite restaurants, theaters, and walking trails until you figure out that the area boasts plenty of food, entertainment, and recreation of its own.
Make a list of what’s most important to you, like proximity to work and a safe, walkable area. If one of your places meets the requirements for both of you, that’s great! If not, determine which geographical areas do check all the boxes. To be sure, you can even check into an Airbnb in those areas to test out your commute, check out local features, and decide on a place you both love.
Living together means sharing expenses, including monthly rent or mortgage payments. However, that doesn’t always mean splitting everything 50/50. So, while no one likes talking about money, creating a household budget has to be one of your first steps when moving in together.
Unlike a comprehensive budget, you only need to include shared household expenses at this stage. To determine how much each person should contribute as a percentage of their income, follow these steps:
- Combine you and your partner’s monthly pay.
- Divide that total by your monthly household budget.
- The resulting percentage is the portion of each person’s salary they should contribute.
Opening a separate checking account where each person can deposit their portion will help simplify the bill-paying process, and hopefully avoid any misunderstandings about who paid what when.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve selected the perfect place, it’s time to start planning the move. Talking through the process in advance will help you and your partner know what to expect. Since moving is one of life’s most stressful events, you’ll want to do anything you can to lighten the load and stay cool under pressure.
Anyone who has cohabitated can tell you it will be way easier on both parties if you determine what to keep, sell, donate, and trash in advance. If you wait until all of your belongings are in one place, you will almost certainly feel overwhelmed.
Start by taking an inventory of what’s in each apartment. Be sure to indicate which items are important to you. In the event you have duplicates, this should make it easier to decide if you can get rid of one or if you need to keep both. Then, decide together whose couch stays, which pieces of artwork to post on eBay, and which set of pots and pans you can donate. Depending on how much storage space you have in your home, there may also be some items you don’t need on a daily basis but don’t want to let go. Offsite storage units are an affordable way to keep items like camping gear, furniture, and recreational equipment safe and out of the way.
Work Smarter, not Harder
Once you’ve figured out what to do with all your stuff, you can start packing. The logistics of moving two people’s stuff into one space can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you have the extra cash to spare, there are a variety of services that can help you and your partner with every part of the process.
- Packing services – If you are short on time or have a lot of fragile belongings, a packing service near you can ensure everything is securely stowed for transport.
- Moving companies – Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, a moving company near you can help you get your belongings from here to there. Before you hire a moving company, be sure to read online reviews, get a quote, and verify their insurance.
- Furniture movers and assemblers – If you plan to pack everything yourself but need help with the larger items, consider hiring furniture movers in your area to help keep you and your furniture in good shape. Similarly, a local furniture assembler can save you time and money by ensuring your new pieces are put together by the book and without damage.
- Moving cleaners – Once you’ve left home, a move-out cleaner near you can help you get your security deposit back by leaving the space in tip-top condition.
Get Ready to Compromise
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to keep an open mind throughout the moving process. Otherwise, the stress of the move may take a toll on your relationship. Being willing to compromise on everything from closet space and overall style to price and location won’t just help you avoid conflict during the move. It will also show your partner that you care what he or she wants and needs, which should help get your live-in relationship off to a good start.