So you’re moving in together. Congratulations! Happy times ahead.
In all honesty, the reality of moving in together can have its stressors and bring up a wide range of emotions: the hope of starting a new life together, the sadness of leaving your current home and the past behind, and the stress of merging 2 households. Not to mention the physical and financial costs.
Whether you’re moving in with your partner or spouse for the first time, or you’ve done this before, you want your move to be surprisingly painless. So check out 5 things you can do to make it as stress-free as possible.
Create a positive mindset
Set the environment for discussion and then share your values and vision. Perhaps a picnic or a dinner at your favorite restaurant is a good place to start. What do you want to create in your new household? Is this new home a zen center? A place for great parties? Be intentional, get creative, and enjoy the collaboration. By agreeing to shared values, you’ll align yourselves before you even move in.
Try to also be present. Notice fears and negative thoughts arising as you discuss the move. Then try to consider a positive solution. For example, one person might say: “I’m an introvert and am afraid I won’t have my own space.” That can be counteracted with: “No problem. We’ll find a ‘me time’ corner in the apartment just for you.”
Find ways to care for each other. Determine 2 to 3 things your partner can do (or say) to support you through the process. For example, have “time outs.” Don’t discuss any aspect of the move. Instead, watch a funny movie together. Give each other a back massage after packing all day. Be kind. Remind the person why you love them.
Be sure to communicate regularly so that your feelings don’t bottle up inside. Listen and acknowledge each other’s emotions.
As cohabiting newbies, you’ll want to sit down and openly discuss your moving plan: priorities, shared responsibilities, and costs. Agree to the timeline. Then pad it a little to reduce excess stress.
Discuss whether your budget allows for movers to pack and/or move your stuff. Determine how much money each person can reasonably contribute to the move. And remember that money resources are not always equal. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, “the average cost of a move is anywhere between $2,300 to $4,300, depending on whether it’s intrastate or interstate.” Yowza!
Divide and conquer. Keep a running list of all moving tasks and figure out which partner is best at which tasks. For example, maybe one person organizes a garage sale, cancels the utilities, and makes arrangements to donate used items. The other person can pack the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
Consolidate and compromise
Consolidating your stuff can trigger emotions. A good compromise: discuss your vision for each room. Then list your “must-haves.” Maybe it’s a family heirloom, a prized collection of antique books, or a favorite piece of modern furniture. Don’t fight if your partner wants to keep something you’re not especially fond of (and you’ve already made a gentle suggestion to eliminate). Relationship compromise is important. Be sure to take a written inventory for organization and to reduce duplicate items.
Have coping strategies
You can also make a list of the things that trigger your stress. Maybe it’s financial fears, having to give up possessions that have an emotional attachment, or the complexity of the move with a busy work schedule. At least you’ll each be aware when the other person is overwhelmed or stressed, and you can easily take a breather from the situation.
Find ways to release tension from your body and recharge. Get rest and massages to reduce body tension. Practice mindful breathing. And make sure to stick to a regular exercise routine, like yoga or hiking.
Most important, remind yourself of the big picture. You’re merging spaces for a reason: love.
Have fun exploring the neighborhood!