So you’ve decided to take the big leap and move in with your significant other—congrats! This is a time to celebrate your relationship and all the joy that’s approaching in the future, but it’s also a time to plan. Whether you have a week or a month to get all your things together, taking a moment to sit down by yourself and then with your lover will help make the transition as smooth as possible.
- How much space do you have? There is a huge difference between renting a room in a house with some friends and a two bedroom apartment just for you two. The difference being a lot of square feet. How does this help? Knowing how much space you have to begin with makes sure that you understand what you’ve got to work with. Plus, there’s the basic math of your stuff + their stuff = a lot more stuff. When The Captain and I started talking about moving in together, we knew that we were just getting a sparse one hundred square feet to share our stuff. And so with that knowledge we planned around it. There are a lot of online room designers that can be helpful if you know all of the measurements of a) the space and b) your furniture, such as Pottery Barn.
- Whose furniture goes, and whose stays? Obviously, at this point you might have multiples of certain things such as beds and dressers and bookshelves. Depending on the amount of space you have to play with, some things are going to stay and some are going to go. So if you’re particularly attached to your blue dresser, talk it out with your S.O. and hopefully it can go with you. If you’ve got room for all five of your collective bookshelves then by all means take them with you. The Captain and I, both avid collectors of our own furniture, had to make a lot of compromises—mostly on my part—when it came to moving in together. So 95% of the furniture in our room is his, but I chose the duvet cover and got to hang my Marilyn Monroe picture in a place of honor.
- Ace of Space. Closets come in many shapes and sizes, and often there are times when even alone you can fill up the whole thing. So learning how to store your clothing and accessories and shoes along with the S.O.’s can be a challenge. Luckily, The Captain and I got a room with a great closet: the left half is mine, the right is his, and we each get one dresser for our other clothes. Then, using the cube organizer that I did bring with me, I shoved my shoes in there and called it awesome. Negotiate what you’ve got, what you want, and need, but be prepared to compromise. Example: the shelves on top of the closet and mostly The Captain’s snowboarding and camping stuff along with various other giant things he has.
- Put It Away. Whatever doesn’t come with has to go somewhere, right? This is the time to go through belongings and decide whether you want to keep, sell, throw away, or donate them. If you’re selling them it can be easy to throw a garage sale or find a consignment shop to get your money’s worth. If they’re junk or falling apart then put them in the trash. Thrift shops and good will are always accepting donations and you can help our good causes and possibly get a tax write-off. If you’re going to keep some things but aren’t taking them with you, then where are you going to store them? There’s always renting a storage locker, which can add up in cost but be effective in protecting and holding your stuff. If you’re on good terms with your parents then why not box up the belongings and stuff them in the attic until you have more space? One day when you and your S.O. are moving into a bigger space (if you’re not already) then you can pull out the boxes and welcome your treasures back into the light!
- Take A Breath. Moving is stressful period, so don’t add further stress by worrying about whether or not moving in together is the right decision. You’ve made the choice to put your things and their stuff in the same space and see if you can live together without killing each other. Things may work out, and they might not, but if you don’t try then you’ll never know. Planning is the first step in the actual process of moving in together, but it can be one of the most important. After all if you’re hanging up a photo of Audrey Hepburn and it turns out that your S.O. doesn’t have the same taste then that could lead to some we-just-moved-in-together-and-we’re-having-problems-already stress.
Again, congrats on moving in with your S.O. and I hope that everything works out for the best!