Tips for moving in together

How to effectively combine households

Couple packing boxes

Moving in together is a reason to celebrate! Deciding to take the plunge and cohabitate isn’t a decision to take lightly, however. You’ll need to make some key decisions about how to blend your possessions, handle issues that arise with shared finances and household duties, and adjust to peaceful life together.

Here are some tips for couples moving in together:

Set some ground rules

There’s always an adjustment period when you first move in and start spending more time around your partner, but setting some ground rules can help ease the transition. Knowing your roles when it comes to household maintenance is a great first step. Sit down together and make a list of daily, weekly, and monthly chores and agree on how to divide them up — post a copy of the list on your refrigerator, if needed. 

It’s also a wise idea to outline how much time you’ll both need to yourselves. One partner might expect to spend more time together, while the other may still anticipate needing as much alone time — or time with friends or a hobby group — as before. Having an understanding about how you both want to spend time helps you both set realistic expectations, too.

Measure your space

Whether you’re moving into a new home or one you or your partner already occupies, it’s helpful to know how much space you have. Measure the different rooms and take stock of your furniture. It’s possible the bedroom set you love won’t fit in the new home. That will make it easier to part with. 

Before anything gets moved, the two of you should agree on what stays and what goes. 

For example, you may decide to hang on to only what was purchased with your partner. Perhaps you want furniture that matches rather than a mishmash of items that are functional but not attractive together. The new home should be a place where both people feel comfortable. 

Compromising will make this all easier, so it may be better to choose a new decorating style altogether rather than taking elements of what you each had when living apart. 

Decide what to keep 

When you’re living together, you won’t need two coffee makers, blenders or microwaves, and having multiple sets of dishes or glassware can take up a lot of valuable space. Before your move-in date, decide which of these items are better quality or have sentimental value, and get rid of or donate the others. Many charities will even come pick up donations, making the task of actually getting rid of the extra items even easier. 

Closet space may be limited once you have two wardrobes occupying the same space. This is the perfect time for both of you to go through your clothing and discard or donate any items you no longer wear or that you don’t need. 

If you have items you think you’ll want later or can’t part with, consider placing them in storage or in the garage or basement. Give yourself a time limit, such as a year or two, to keep them before donating. Place sticky notes on individual boxes and larger items with the date you tuck them away in storage. Each time you use something, add the current date. At the beginning of each season, go through and check the dates; if something’s been sitting unused for a year, you can safely get rid of it. 

Mind your money manners

Combining households means coordinating money. Whether you rent or own, there’s a cost to housing, utilities, insurance and other bills. This is the perfect time to discuss how you’ll split the various payments — you can even make a date night of it. 

That might mean getting a joint bank account to pay for all living expenses. Or it might mean deciding how to divide the costs, based on your individual income or other financial assets. 

Address conflict peacefully

Even the most loving partners can disagree about keeping certain possessions. You can deflate these moments of conflict with humor or by suggesting reasonable compromises. Perhaps you can keep part of a living room set or settle on a color that’s in between the options that you each prefer. Finding middle ground is part of living together. 

Merging households can be a tense time, but couples who take the time to set clear rules are also setting themselves up for an easy transition into a new stage of life. As you’re starting to prepare for this next level in a partnership, learn how Nationwide can help keep you and your loved ones protected.

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