February 22nd, 2019 11:09 AM by Katelyn Mountjoy
Splitting chores, figuring out parking spaces, claiming closets & letting your significant other down easy on their bad taste in décor.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, more than 7.3 million homes were inhabited by unmarried partners. Combined with the astounding 61 million married households in the U.S. in 2018, well, there are plenty of people living together with their significant other. The process of combining 2 worlds into 1 is much harder than you think, whether you are a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé or spouse. The minimum requires ENDLESS patience and planning and of course an open mind.
Here are 7 tips to help make moving in together a success.
1 – Talk TOGETHER about location and cost. There are tons of options for living arrangements - live in the current house or apartment, move into the others place or find a new place to call ‘home’. There are plenty of aspects that come into play here. Make sure you and your partner are on the same or similar pages regarding proximity to work locations & even distance from frequent or popular spots.
Often times, people find it best for both sides to move into a completely new home or apartment in order for both partners to start with a clean slate. This way the decorating can be done by both partners & also new memories are able to be made + shared together. It’s important to feel equal ownership to the place you inhabit so that there is a strong identity between your lives together and your home together.
2 - ESTABLISH FORMAL RESIDENCYOkay obviously not everyone can afford to buy a home early on in a relationship, so renting a home is a fabulous option too. In whichever case you choose, it is important to establish residency for future endeavors. Check out this link for requirements in establishing residency:https://www.wikihow.com/Establish-ResidencyIf you’re renting a home, make sure both names are on the lease agreement (which is usually a priority from the rental company anyway). A good way to stay on track with utilities or rent Is to have a set date for each month that money is deposited or collected to put towards those payments.
3 - WHAT YOU HAVE VS. WHAT YOU NEED
Make sure to discuss what you need vs. what you already have. When combining two households into one, you’ll soon realize there wasn’t as much space as you thought. With 2 of many things, don’t feel the need to hang on to things that aren’t a necessity. And with things you don’t have but need (like a small dining table for example) try using Facebook Marketplace or some other second-hand app to buy what you need until you save up for something new. You would be surprised of the great deals you can find on already used items!
4 - STORE OR GIVE AWAY DUPLICATES & UNEEDED ITEMS
There are bound to be items you and your partner won’t want anymore…like that old shower curtain that doesn’t match the new bathroom or that floor mat that now has hair all over it and smells like wet dog. SO either donate it to Goodwill or you can always sell your things if they are in decent condition. Here is a list of Apps that you can sell your items on:
POSHMARK – clothes, shoes & accessories
FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE - anything
LET GO – anything
MERCARI – clothes, shoes & accessories
5 MILES – (local) anything
CAROUSELL – anything
OFFERUP – anything
VINTED – clothes
DEPOP – clothing, accessories & similar items
NEXTDOOR – this app is mainly for keeping up with your community, but you can also sell pretty much anything on it
If you have items you simply don’t have space for but absolutely don’t want to give them away, rent a storage unit! They really aren’t as expensive as you think. Just do your research and compare quotes to find the best space.
5 - COMPROMISE ON DÉCOR
“Sorry honey, but that couch from the Frat days has got to go.”
Often times, couples can get a little heated with their preferred ‘design aesthetic’. Keep communication open and also have an open mind for your new space together. Maybe one partner takes more control of the living spaces and the other is able to put their taste into the bedroom or the game room. There is always a solution to every problem. Even when that problem is that your partner has not-that-great taste. With compromise you both will be able to design your home together and ultimately be satisfied with the decisions.
6 - DIVIDE CLEANING & MAINTENENACE
It’s all fun and games until you actually have to vacuum, mop and take out the trash. It’s not exactly the first thing couples think about, but once you finally move in together, choirs become super relevant super fast. To keep smooth sailing, try having a conversation beforehand regarding which choirs you don’t mind vs. which one’s your partner prefers. For example, I actually sort of kind of like cleaning the bathrooms (or shall I say don’t mind it that much) and my partner feels the same about vacuuming & mopping… which works perfect.
One thing that is very important is to make sure the division of labor is split evenly. It is critical to have clear conversations in dialogue of which jobs each partner is doing and how much of a toll it takes from your free time. For example, one partner may work from home and the other may work a 60-hour week and have to commute. It’s healthy at this point to rebalance tasks so both people are pulling the similar weight and also have the ability to relax at home after work as well.
7 - REMEMBER ITS OKAY TO HIRE PROFESSIONAL HELP
I know this isn’t the most popular or inexpensive option, but it can really help if there is a constant struggle in the living arrangements. If you and your partner feel you could genuinely benefit from a 3rd party’s unbiased opinion in order to help make living together a success, go for it!
Even a financial advisor could really help counsel you and your partner to make smart decisions. According to Joyce Marter, licensed psychotherapist with Refresh Mental Health in the Chicago area, “The two main reasons people come into couple’s counseling are issues about finances and issues about communication.” This is so true.
Efficient communication is imperative for success in any and all relationships. This includes financial talk. Sometimes it isn’t the funnest conversation, especially if one side is struggling more than the other… but just communicate and make goals with each other so you can be successful as one in your financial situation and ultimately your relationship living together.