Deciding to cohabitate with your significant other is a major milestone and a pretty serious commitment — one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are 6 important tips to help you survive the transition.
1. Take inventory
If you’ve both been living separately as adults, you’ll likely have too much furniture for one home or apartment. It’s a good idea to get on the same page before moving day to discuss what goes (and what stays). If you’re not ready to part with half of your possessions, consider renting a storage space where you can safely keep overflow. And remember: compromise is key. Be considerate of your partner’s favorite belongings and personal style. Try to be fair about who gets to keep what and figure out ways to showcase one another’s taste in your collective space.
2. Shop together
Still arguing about who gets to keep their couch? Consider going a third route and buying something together. Shopping and purchasing a few key items as a couple (bed linens or a new mattress, for example) can make for a fun outing and is a great way to show respect for each other’s tastes.
3. Share closets
Maybe you’re already using every closet in the apartment. But now that you’ve got a roommate, you should be prepared to make some room. If you’re pressed for space, consider doing a purge of old clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Closet organizers can also help you make the best use of precious closet real estate.
4. Delegate chores
Many of the most successful partnerships involve some good old-fashioned give and take. Don’t assume you’ll magically share responsibilities with zero conflict. Take the time to talk about who’ll be handling what — everything from doing the bills to cleaning the toilet should be up for discussion. Some couples may even benefit from creating a weekly or monthly chore chart to equitably divide up the housework.
5. Discuss finances
There are a ton of variables that can come into play when figuring out your finances as a cohabiting couple. The most important thing is to communicate about what’s realistic given your unique set of circumstances and to set expectations early (preferably before your move-in date). Talk openly about your incomes and which expenses you want to share. Are you merging bank accounts or keeping everything separate? Some couples create a new, third bank account for shared expenses. Everything should be on the table: the security deposit, rent, utilities, groceries, gas, insurance, personal items. You should also talk about savings goals you may have (are you saving up for a house or larger apartment or paying off student debt?) and how you intend to get there. Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is to have open, early discussions with your partner and try your best to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement.
6. Maintain personal space
Everyone needs a little me time. Look for ways to maintain personal space after moving in together (and don’t be offended when your new roommate does the same). Whether it’s taking a solo yoga class or designating a corner as your own personal work space, it’s good to balance your time together and apart.