Moving in with Your Partner? 6 Smart Tips for a Smoother Transition

Deciding to move in together is an exciting milestone in a relationship. But it also brings many changes and can reveal issues you didn’t know existed before. Fortunately, there are things you can do proactively to help your transition go more smoothly. Here are six smart tips for cohabitating success.

1. Discuss Expectations Upfront

Before signing a lease or packing those boxes, have an open and honest conversation about what each of you expects when you live together. Cover topics like:

  • Household responsibilities — Who will do what chores and errands? How often?
  • Finances — How will you split costs like rent, utilities, groceries? What about discretionary personal spending?
  • Social life and friends — How often can you have friends over or spend time apart with different friend groups?
  • Alone time — How much solitude and personal space does each person need?
  • Future goals — Are you on the same page in terms of long-term plans? Kids? Marriage?

You might find you have some conflicting assumptions, which is normal. The key is resolving these before move-in day, not after. Compromise where needed.

2. Consider Your Sleep Habits

Sleep habits and schedules often differ between partners. Decide together how to best arrange spaces for optimal rest. Consider each person’s sleep style and needs. Perhaps one of you prefers to turn in early while the other is a night owl. Perhaps one of you snores which could cause issues? There are a number of ways to block out your partner’s snoring, such as using noise cancelling headphones, side sleeping, and white noise machines. The goal is giving each individual the conditions they require for quality sleep.  

3. Cull Before Combining Possessions

Chances are you’ll need to get rid of some belongings before cramming two homes into one. Take an inventory of what you have and evaluate necessity. Consider putting sentimental keepsakes or items you rarely/never use into storage rather than discarding if you’re unsure or attached. For other categories like clothing, kitchenware or linens, choose favorites then donate the duplicates. Pro tip: sell lightly used goods online or at a garage sale rather than tossing to earn a little extra cash.

4. Agree on Home Décor and Cleanliness Standards

Decorating disagreements are common with cohabiting couples. One person’s beloved framed poster might be the other’s tacky eyesore. One person may tolerate messes while the other needs tidy organization. Talk through both your decorative styles and acceptable cleanliness levels. Compromise on public living areas. Then allow each other freedom designing your private spaces like offices or “man caves/she sheds”. Also, decide how to merge your possessions. Will you split storage and wall space 50/50? Or take turns choosing items? Use coordinating containers to corral clutter. Follow the “one in, one out” rule when acquiring new stuff.

5. Establish Shared Traditions and Routines

Turn “yours” and “mine” into “ours” by deliberately blending everyday habits and special occasions. Cook weekly meals together then share other chores like grocery shopping or taking out trash on designated days. Have an agreed evening routine winding down together, even if you go to bed at different times. Mark relationship milestones, birthdays and holidays uniquely as a unit. Display photos documenting your adventures as a couple. Foster new shared hobbies and interests if possible too.

6. Check in Regularly

After living together initially, continue to communicate often to address issues promptly. Small annoyances have a way of festering into major resentments over time. Don’t let that happen. Tell your partner what’s working and what isn’t. Ask for feedback too. Revisit conversations around expectations periodically since these can shift.

Transitioning to cohabitation has its fair share of hurdles. But going in prepared with reasonable expectations helps smooth out common bumps. Employ this advice to start out your newly shared home on the right foot…even if you sometimes step on each other’s toes! The key is maintaining open and honest communication, along with genuine commitment to progressing the relationship.

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