So, you’re moving in together. You’ve both been living solo for awhile and amassed not just a lot of stuff, but your own lifestyles and habits. How do you pull this off so that your relationship falls more in the romance genre, less in the drama category?
We turned to experts to lend tips to learn how you can merge your lives, while still maintaining your own personal identities. We’ll let them take it from here.
1. Have a pre-move-in discussion
Just like you do a pre-move inspection, it’s definitely worth having an important conversation with your partner. We turned to Jeannie Assimos, who holds the title Chief of Advice at eHarmony, for some prompts. She suggests considering how your current lifestyle will change to accommodate your partner; will that person be a part of your normal routine or will you need to make major adjustments? How are the bills going to be paid? How will household chores be divided? What are you going to do if you both love to cook, but neither enjoys the clean-up process? How does your partner want to be treated when he or she is under stress or is angry?
2. Take inventory
You might not need four televisions. And, there might not be room for two bedroom sets. And whose couch will make the cut in the living room? While there might not be room in your starter home for your combined furniture and electronics, think twice before selling it. Chances are you’ll move into a bigger home down the road. Until then, have Closetbox stash the extras. Closetbox will even come and pick it up for you, and then return it when you’re ready for it again. (That’s like a 2 for 1 storage and moving solution).
3. Give your home a theme
Before you start filling up your space with mutual furnishings, pause and decide on the overall feel you want your home to have, suggests Bee Heinemann, Interior Design Expert and Marketing Director of Vant Wall Panels. “Are you both looking for a modern-styled home or maybe a casual, more rustic feel? Once you agree on a theme, it will simplify decisions on what needs to be purchased.”
4. Create your own retreats
An emerging trend for couples is to create a personal space for each other in the home, Heinemann says. Maybe that’s a man cave or a she shed (Pinterest’s latest darling). Or, if you’re in a small space, it could be a reading nook. This space can help couples maintain independence and also be a retreat when a little alone time is needed.
5. When it comes to decor, compromise
Whether you’re selecting paint colors or choosing drapes, compromise is essential, Heinemann says. “Women have a natural tendency to ‘nest’ and take more control of decisions,” she says. But, of course that could lead to discomfort. (You’d be surprised how many argue over paint colors, Heinemann says.) An idea? If you can’t settle on a color, consider hiring a paint specialist who will come into your home and get an idea of your personalities, interests and values and then help you settle on a color scheme.
6. Sign a co-habitation agreement
We’re cheering there’s a happy ending in sight. But, just in case, it’s a good idea to sign a co-habitation agreement, says Shawn Weber, family law attorney and mediator. In many jurisdictions, there isn’t much guidance for the courts in determining what happens at the end of a relationship when people cohabitate, but don’t marry. Your agreement should spell out things like what happens with a jointly owned home, how are belongings divvied up, who is responsible for carrying out the joint lease and who gets the pets.
7. Explain to one another which items have sentimental value
Not everyone agrees what’s important to keep (and have on display) when moving in together, explains Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor who runs the website, The Popular Man. “Maybe your partner can’t understand why you want to display your high school football trophy,” he says. “Maybe you don’t get why she can’t get rid of her grandpa’s ugly lamp.” The bottom line: Your partner’s happiness is far more important than a sense of style or physical furnishings, Bennett says.
8. Splurge on a king size mattress
A good night’s sleep = patience. “Co-habitation is bigger than having adult sleepovers and sleep compatibility is an issue that may need to be addressed if one, or both partners, being losing quality sleep,” says Parinaz Samimi, Sleep and Wellness Expert from Sleeptrain.com. A king-sized mattress will let each partner sleep in their favorite position and minimize disruption. Bedroom not spacious enough? Try a quality mattress topper to absorb vibrations made from a moving partner. Some also offer temperature management via a cooling technology that moves the heat away and cools the body – the perfect fix for couples that have different temp preferences at night, Samimi says.