Moving in together is a huge life transition for couples! Whether you’re a few months into dating or about to get married, there are a lot of little things to work out before taking this major step forward in your relationship. Check out the tips below for making your move-in experience go as smoothly as possible!
Determine the Right Time
Not sure when you should move in together? There’s a lot of advice regarding ideal move-in timelines, but ultimately the best time is unique for every couple. For some, that could be after a few months; for others, that might be a few years into dating. For those about to get married soon, making the move before the big day can prevent a hectic post-honeymoon schedule; but for other soon-to-be spouses, it might be better to hold off until after the wedding. It just depends on what feels right for both you and your partner!
Yours, Mine, or Ours
Another important question to ask before moving in together is “Where should we live?” You could stay where you are and have your partner join you. Or you could move into your partner’s place. Or maybe you want to find a new home together. If you already have a mortgage or your partner is stuck in a lease, there might be financial benefits to your choice. That said, many couples find it easier to move into a new, neutral space instead of trying to cram two lives into one person’s current home.
Talk About Pets & Children
Hopefully, you’ve already discussed your feelings on pets and children. But if you haven’t talked about whether or not your future together includes welcoming more members to your family, now’s the time! Unless you’re prepared to raise a baby in a one-bedroom or have space to adopt two more dogs, planning for how much room you’ll need in the near future can spare a potential fight or two.
Make a Plan for Guests
Do you know your partner’s preference on having guests over? This is another good question to ask before moving in together. Not only does this give you an opportunity to set ground rules for hosting friends and family, but it can also help you plan for where your guests will stay when they come over. That way, you’ll know if you need to look for a new home with an extra bedroom or just purchase an air mattress or futon.
Discuss Legal Matters
If you’re moving in together before marriage—or you don’t plan to get married at all—you might want to consider drafting a cohabitation agreement. This will provide both you and your partner with some financial security and direction for dividing assets in the unfortunate event that your relationship ends.
Do a Trial Run
Haven’t stayed over at one another’s homes before? Give it a try for two weeks without going back to your own place. Not only will this help you get used to sharing space with your partner, but it will also bring up lifestyle differences you can discuss before moving in together—like daily routines before work, how each person prefers to clean, who likes to prepare meals, what time you both like to go to bed, and more.
Create a Budget
Talk about your finances before you start packing boxes! This allows you to set aside money for the move, and it also gives you a chance to discuss bills, savings, and other monetary expectations that can ease future tensions. Creating a system for bills, opening a joint checking account, and being honest about budgeting goals will make your first few months living together go a lot smoother! If you’re nervous about bringing up the subject, find advice for talking to your partner or soon-to-be spouse about money.
Divide Household Chores
You hate cooking. Your partner hates washing dishes. One of the benefits of cohabitation is that you can split things up! But when it comes to chores both of you hate doing—such as cleaning the toilet, folding the laundry, getting the groceries, or taking out the recycling—there might be a few concessions to make. While it’s nearly impossible to reach a 50/50 split with chores, you can still develop a plan you both agree on so resentments don’t build. Use this comprehensive chore list to determine daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, as well as who’s going to handle each one.
Take Inventory of Belongings
Do you have the newer couch? Is one bed bigger than the other? Do you really need two blenders? Add “making a home inventory” to your moving in together checklist. This way, you can keep track of where there are duplicate items, make note of furniture sizes, and get a clear picture of what home goods are still needed—which, if you’re getting married soon, can be added to your wedding registry.
Combining households means that some things need to go! Start by going through your own furniture, wall decor, and cooking supplies. Then, invite your partner over to get their opinion on what will or won’t fit in your new space. Parting with items can be emotionally difficult for some, so remember to be kind! Looking for inspiration? Explore these simple ideas for how to declutter your home. Using minimalism to learn how to live with less is another great way to help ease the difficulty of downsizing.
Donate What You Don’t Need
There are plenty of items that you’ll want to bring with you to your new place. But in reality, you might not have room for both of your kitchen tables, all of the clothes in your closet, and 15 throw pillows. If you don’t know what to do with excess items, you can always donate them! Check out this guide to discover where to donate household items.
Put Maybes in Storage
Rather than start a big fight or live with regret over getting rid of something important, consider putting furniture, keepsakes, and household items you’re on the fence about in self storage. This advice for couples moving in together is also helpful if you plan to move into a bigger home in the next few years!
Keep a Few Sentimental Items
Nobody really needs 22 coffee mugs, posters from every concert they’ve attended, or all the t-shirts they’ve been given. But while you’re in the process of combining households and downsizing excess items, be sure to save a few meaningful things or sentimental knick-knacks for yourself. Whether it’s your favorite sweatshirt from college, a childhood blanket, or your grandma’s jewelry box, don’t be afraid to keep a few artifacts from your single life.
Try Two Comforters on One Bed
Purchasing two comforters could be the solution to any sleeping woes! You might be hesitant to have separate blankets, but there’s no need to shiver or sweat your way through the night. Look into two comforters if you’re not waking up rested or arguments are springing up about being a cover hog.
Divide Closet Space
When sharing space, the closet is one of the most difficult zones for reaching an agreement. Before you start unpacking clothes, create a plan for who gets what shelves or hanging spaces. Need help keeping everything organized in shared closets? Check out this guide to closet organization and storage hacks!
Maximize Your Living Space
Combining households requires efficient organization and streamlined decor. If you’re embracing small space living, trying to maximize your studio apartment, or moving in together with kids, making the most of your space will be extra important! Furniture with hidden storage, strategic room layouts, and refraining from over-decorating are all ideas that can help you utilize your living space well.
Decide on Home Decoration
It’s a good idea for couples moving in together to talk about home design preferences before getting too far into decorating. If you can work together to find wall art, furniture, paint colors, and other decor you and your partner both like—rather than one person decorating with all of their stuff and the other person not getting any say—it’ll make living together more comfortable for everyone!
Claim Your Special Spot
Create an area of your home that’s all your own! Even though you’re building a shared space together, it’s important to hold onto your own identity and interests as you merge lives. Choose a corner of your living room or claim the basement in a spacious house. The point is to have a spot of the home that feels like your own and reflects your uncompromising design taste.
Set Boundaries with Screen Time
If you don’t want to become a couple who scrolls through social media at dinner or can’t stop checking work emails during movie night, determine some guidelines around your time spent using technology. Discussing boundaries around what’s normal and what’s excessive will help you both have reasonable expectations, as well as make sure quality time is actually spent together.
Settle on Thermostat Settings
Another crucial thing to discuss before moving in together is where you like to keep the thermostat settings. It might sound silly, but you don’t want to get into a fight just because one person is too hot or too cold. Squash conflict before it starts by determining a range of where to set the temperature ahead of time.
Schedule Nights Out
Remember how you used to plan to see each other? Well, now that it’s guaranteed, why not make plans to get out of the house every now and then? There are many relationship changes after moving in together, so keep the romance alive by venturing out for date night or to meet up with friends.
Pencil in Some “Me” Time
A tip for couples moving in together is to make sure you’re getting in enough alone time. Similar work schedules could mean you’re home at all the same hours, so talk about times when you can have the apartment to yourself or opportunities to go to a coffee shop for some personal time.
Tying the knot soon? Check out our wedding planning guide to learn more about important timelines, find tips for saving money, and discover helpful resources you can use to plan you and your partner’s big day!