Moving in with a significant other is different from moving in with a roommate or friend. It's more than a new living situation — it's a whole new stage in your relationship.
You're in a committed long-term relationship, and you're ready to take the next step: You've decided you're moving in together. Now, it's time to get down to business.
This new step is probably both exciting and scary (read: terrifying), but the transition can be broken down into simple, logical steps that make the process of moving in together more manageable and less overwhelming.
Make sure you're both active participants at every stage of the process, and that you're communicating your opinions and listening to your partner's, as well. We've compiled some moving-in-together tips and moving-in-together checklists that'll help make the transition smooth, stress-free and fun.
A checklist is a great way to see everything from A to Z. It helps streamline to-dos and prioritize responsibilities. This moving-in-together checklist will help you assess if it's the right decision to move in together and then, will guide you with everything that needs to be done in the process.
Ask yourselves why
OK, first things first. What's the real reason you're moving in with your partner? Before moving in together, ask yourselves these questions:
Is your lease up and will this make financial sense?
Do you look at moving in together as a possible prelude to marriage?
Do you spend a significant amount of time at each other's homes, and it makes sense to downsize to one place?
Is it the logical next step in your relationship to move forward?
No matter the reason, discuss it with your partner beforehand. Have a frank and open conversation, so you're both on the same page. Answering the “why" may take some serious introspection and heart-to-heart communication but it will be a worthwhile effort as you figure out the next steps.
Once you and your partner have decided to move in together, you'll want to dive into all of the other things you'll need to do.
Compile your belongings
Have you ever gone camping or traveled together as a couple? If so, you may be aware of what it means to share space with a significant other. It's slightly (or a lot) more complicated than it looks. Before you co-habit a new space, you'll want to assess what you each own, as you'll likely be downsizing into one space and combining your belongings.
Take an inventory of all your respective belongings
Decide which items stay and which items will be donated, tossed or sold
Declutter your apartments
Get a storage space, if needed, for the belongings that won't fit in your new apartment
It isn't always easy to carve out personal space in a shared apartment. If you're an introverted person who needs alone time, be sure to communicate this to your partner before moving in together. Let your partner know what you require in an honest and respectful manner, and be sure to grant them their space, too.
Know that you'll inevitably run into an annoying personality trait in your partner that drives you crazy. You may choose to let your partner know how you feel, or you may be OK living with it. Nevertheless, it's good to be aware of this possibility, so you don't feel shocked or disappointed when you're finally living together.
Be prepared to adjust to your partner's living habits, and think about how best you can communicate as a couple to smooth over the rough patches.
Decide where to live
Deciding where to live should start with one question: Do we want to move into a new apartment? Some couples prefer this option because it feels like a good way to start a new chapter in the relationship. Moving into a new apartment also means that both individuals get to weigh in on important factors, such as location, neighborhood, layout, interiors, etc.
If you decide to go with a new apartment, take some time to think about your requirements.
What part of town would you both like to live in?
Do you have a preference for a specific neighborhood?
How far or how long would you like to commute for work?
What's a rent amount you are both comfortable paying monthly?
Make sure you take into consideration most, if not all, of your requirements, as well as those of your partner, as you go apartment hunting.
Finally, when you've found a place you both like, and you're ready to sign the lease, be sure to include both your names on the document. In the unfortunate possibility of a future breakup, it's better to have both individuals on the lease.
Talk finances before moving in together
Once you've discussed the why, and you know what you're getting yourselves into, it's time to start making decisions. The first step is to have a detailed discussion about finances, which can be a tough conversation.
No, you aren't getting married and combining everything, but you also aren't roommates who have to split everything evenly. It's important to:
Discuss who pays for what
Decide how much you'll each pay for rent and utilities
Figure out which utilities go in each name
Determine who will pay for day-to-day expenses and unexpected costs
Decide if you'll open a joint bank account for household expenses or keep separate accounts for everything
Having a candid conversation about shared finances is absolutely necessary before you move in together, as it can go a long way towards preventing unpleasant surprises in the future.
Divvy up household duties
Moving into a new apartment is fun but keeping it clean can be a real chore. Maybe one of you is a secret slob and the other is a clean freak. No matter your cleaning tendencies (or the lack thereof), set up a cleaning routine that works for both of you. It takes time and effort and money to keep a home clean and beautiful, and the chances of a routine succeeding are higher when both partners are invested in it.
Have a rough breakdown of tasks and responsibilities. Keep it as general or as detailed as you like. Post it on your refrigerator, make a game of it and give each other brownie points. Yes, household chores can be fun, too!
Talk about the possibility of a breakup
Talking finances is tough, but it's far easier compared to the “what if" conversation. It's a good idea to make a plan in the unlikely and unfortunate event of a breakup. This plan can include details about handling expenses of breaking a lease, splitting your belongings, sublease options, etc. Consider drafting a cohabitation agreement, a legal document (similar to a prenuptial agreement) that both partners sign clarifying things, such as division of assets, custody of children and other logistical details.
Moving in together is a special moment
Now it's time to move in! Enjoy spending time creating a shared space together. There will be good times, and maybe some bad times, but be sure to communicate what you feel and encourage your partner to do the same. Be patient with each other and learn as you go along. These moving-in-together tips should help make the process a lot smoother. Good luck!
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