It’s coming up on the 1-year anniversary of Mr. T and I moving in together. And so, I wanted to share with you these 10 tips to move in with ease. Paul and I were the exception to the norm and only moved in together three months before our wedding day. Many couples decide to move in together much sooner these days once their relationship gets serious ‘to test the relationship’. But when we first started dating, we made a conscious decision to not move in together. We felt that there was no point in living together unless we were certain that we wanted to make a long-term commitment to each other and get married. Plus, we both enjoyed our freedom, our space and the flexibility of having two places on either side of Cape Town.
Living together places a more serious dynamic onto your relationship. You both need to be mature to deal with the changes of sharing your space and your life with your partner. You should make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. This should not be something you casually slide into but rather something you have given much thought to, taking into consideration all the lifestyle changes that will accompany the move.
Here are 10 tips to move in with ease.
1. Understand the financial implications
Before moving in you need to draw up a plan on what your combined household budget will look like. You should agree on how you will split your joint finances when you live together. It could be 50/50 or 30/70, for example, depending on what each of you can contribute. Bearing in mind that the allocation should be fair so that neither partner feels any resentful feelings building up. So, it is important to discuss this beforehand. Who will pay which bills? How will you keep track of household expenses? You also need to be aware of any debt your partner has and agree on a contingency plan in case one of you loses your job? Will the other still be able to cover the bills on their own in an emergency situation?
2. Toss things out and declutter
Before moving into your new place, spend some time tossing things out! Moving house is a great opportunity to declutter and you will be surprised at how refreshing it feels to throw away your old and unused things. Goodbye to old energy! In with the new energy! Remember you are moving into a new space and this is an opportunity to start from fresh together. Now is certainly the time to throw out those photos of your ex, your ancient art projects or that pile of books gathering dust on your bookcase.
3. Create a combined inventory list
Take an inventory of your large furniture items and carefully assess what will move into your new space. If you have doubles of things it is a good idea to sell the extras before you move, as you don’t want your new living area to be too chaotic and cramped. Measure your furniture and create a floor plan, of how you will arrange the new living area. If there are some things you feel you need to keep invest in some clever storage shelving and boxes.
4. Your new space is a combination of both of you
You may be moving into a totally new place, or you may be moving into your partners already established apartment/house or he or she may be moving into yours. Either way though you need to look at it from the perspective of starting from fresh together. This is an opportunity to redecorate and create a new look that is complementary to both of your styles. The space should not feel dominated by him or her for instance, it should feel like both of your homes. So spend some time repainting and redecorating areas to create a unique blended look of your personalities.
5. Have a contract
Many couples sign antenuptial contracts before getting married which covers how assets will be split in the event of a divorce. But even if you are not getting married it is still a good idea to sign a contract. It may seem like a horrible thought to comprehend, but you need a plan if things don’t work out! Rather go into this situation with your eyes wide open than blinding believing in the best.
Compile a list and write down who owns which furniture item and also how the situation will be dealt with if you break up. For instance, who moves out and who gets to keep the apartment/house lease if you break up? If you own the property and need to sell how will you split the costs? Can one of you buy the other’s share? What is a fair rate to calculate this at? Who keeps the couch? Who keeps the TV? Who keeps the DVD collection? If there is anything that you feel should be mentioned then list it in the contract.
6. Create personal spaces for each person in your new home
Even though your new home is a combination of both of your personalities it is important that each of you still has a personal space in the home? This space is 100% your space to do with as you wish and express your creativity! If could be a reading corner, or working desk or a tool shed.
7. Communication is key
Living together successfully boils down to communicating successfully. One of you may have certain expectations or make assumptions on how things should be; while the other is totally clueless about these. This is why it is important to talk things out respectfully. Maybe he doesn’t understand why you get upset when he leaves the wet towel on the bed and needs to be coerced to change his behaviour. Maybe you don’t understand why he has a problem with you reading your book in bed after 11pm. Either way you both need to start thinking of your partner now and not only your own needs. It’s time to start thinking we not me!
8. negotiate strategically
Following on from my previous point. Communication is crucial and so is the ability to negotiate. As time goes on you will begin to understand which things are worth negotiating on and which ones are better letting slide simply for the good of the relationship.
9. Share responsibilities
Responsibilities should be shared equally or in such a way that each partner is contributing fairly towards the household chores. One of you may be good at doing the grocery shopping, another takes the garbage out and waters the plants. Maybe you both split cooking responsibilities and create a weekly roster on who cooks and who does the dishes. You will need to talk these through and create a system that works for both of you. Again communication is key and it is a good idea to create a roster to avoid arguments about whose turn it is to do something!
10. Maintain your independence
Just because you are living with your partner does not mean that you should give up girl’s nights, boy’s poker nights, or any of your own hobbies and interests you did previously. If you’re going to have your girlfriends over simply give your man enough time to make his own plans. And if he is out with his friends then think of it as an opportunity to catch up on your girly TV shows, instead of feeling left out! Keep your independence and individual interests outside of the relationship.
As you can see living together takes work and effort and could put the brakes on the romance in your relationship. Suddenly instead of only seeing all your partner’s fabulous traits you are reminded of their shortcomings on a daily basis. There are obvious benefits to living together like always having someone to cuddle up next to at night and someone to talk to once you get home from work and someone to simply veg out on the couch with!
But to ensure your new responsibilities doesn’t place too much strain on your relationship, now is also a good time to remember to focus on the fun side of your relationship. Remember to do special date nights once a month, or send each other sweet messages during the day. Don’t let things slip too much into a boring routine! Surprise him with a favourite rock concert DVD! Work on keeping the relationship fun and exciting too.
If you follow these 10 tips to move in with ease with your partner, you are sure to successfully navigate this important milestone and create many magical memories together over the years! Good luck!