Moving in with a significant other for the first time is an exciting step for a couple, but it comes with its own set of challenges and requires a lot of patience. For many young couples, it is the first time each person has lived with a partner, so there are bound to be some learning curves to conquer and some tough conversations that need to be had. Below is a list of tips that will make this new transition a little easier, so you can revel in the excitement of this new season of your relationship!
When it comes to moving to a new home together, it is important to talk about where you stand financially to help determine whether renting or buying is the best option for you. It can be difficult to talk about salaries, credit scores, and debts with your partner, but it is important to be open and honest, especially if you are planning to live on a shared income. Spending habits fuel quite a bit of frustration for most couples, so make a budget to follow that includes rent, utilities, groceries and other expenses, to determine your amount of disposable income at the end of each month. That way, you two will know how much (or how little) you can can spend on date nights, hobbies, etc. If you are having trouble getting the conversation going, there are some really great resources, that have more in depth insights into how to prepare financially as a couple.
Once you have your budget established, its time to divide up who pays for what. This can be another challenge and can often seem intimidating or even embarrassing if your income does not match your partners. But, that’s what makes this conversation so important. If one partner makes more than another, it’s okay to divide up the expenses in a way that is equally fair. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to open up about your income levels, you’re a team after all, and it can help to eliminate financial frustration down the road.
When it comes to sharing a space, it can mean sharing everything in that space too. If you find your partner using things that you bought that you’re not comfortable sharing, like those chips you have been looking forward to diving into all day, but there is nothing but crumbs left, don’t be afraid to voice your frustration. This doesn’t have to turn ugly, but having a conversation and being honest about setting some guidelines for what can and can’t be shared will help you both in the long run. This will establish a system to keep those chips safe, and whatever else you want to keep separate from your partner’s belongings.
What to Pack
Now that your combining two living spaces into one, it is the perfect time to go through some old clutter and get rid of some things you won’t need in your new space. Since duplicate furnishings are bound to happen, take the time to make a list of the items you will move to the new space, and items you no longer need. Contact your local Salvation Army or thrift store that accepts donated furniture before leaving anything unwanted on the curb. Your old couch or bedroom set could make a great new piece for someone else’s home.
Upcycling furniture and decor pieces is another option. Don’t be afraid to take a trip to your local craft store to get some supplies to freshen up your old pieces. This is an affordable alternative to buying all new furnishings, or if you want to make a few extra dollars off your old pieces, throw a garage sale that includes your newly cleaned up items to save more money to be put towards your new space. Once you have your items divided and sorted (and hopefully sold/donated), it’s time to face those boxes and get packing!
Once you have everything organized in your new home, take a look around to determine where there might be furnishings missing, or just to look for ways to make the new space yours. Hang photos of family members, friends, and of you and your partner to add personal touches. Or maybe it’s time to buy a new dining room set fit for large gatherings to prep for a housewarming party or holiday get-togethers. Or if you’re moving into an apartment, you might need a new couch that fits the space better and an accent chair for a pop of color.
Furnishing a new space together is a fun part of moving, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by possibilities, sit with your partner and scan through Pinterest or Instagram to find some inspiration. You might even learn a little bit about your partner’s interior style and how to combine your two tastes to make a cohesive space that reflects both of you.
Once your space is unpacked, organized and styled to your liking, it’s time to keep it clean and discuss delegating chores and household duties. This can be a huge learning experience and can spur frustration and disagreements easily, because you’re meshing two very different lifestyles into one confined space. The best way to keep your space organized is to establish a list of chores and their frequency. Talk with your partner about which chores each of you is comfortable tackling, and to address the learning curve, maybe give each other one chore that is outside of your respective comfort zone. This can rotate or change periodically until both of you are comfortable with all of the chores necessary to keep your shared space clean.
If you are new to cleaning the bathroom, or consider yourself a laundry novice, have your partner show you how they prefer to have this chore done and teach you how to correctly carry it out. This can be a great bonding experience that will also take some of the frustration out of adjusting to your differing lifestyles. Learning from each other is one the best parts of sharing a space with a significant other, so you can make this a fun part of your daily routine.