Moving in together is a big step in every relationship. Blending your household with your partner is a complicated process whether you're just out of college or much more mature. In all instances, you'll have to get used to living together. That means making compromises and, before anything else, deciding how to combine your belongings so the house isn't overflowing with duplicate chairs, couches, kitchen utensils and more.
Moving in together: Tips for happiness
Compromise, compromise, compromise
"Be ready to compromise."
One general but vital piece of advice for every couple cohabiting for the first time is to be ready to compromise. If you recently lived in a small space with lots roommates, this may not be as much of an issue. If you lived alone or in a larger space with just a roommate or two, it will probably be a major adjustment.
Ideally, a compromise means both people get a lot of what they want out of an agreement, but it can sometimes mean minimizing your losses. Understand what your sticking points are - the things you're set on having or doing in your new home - is critical. That goes for everything from dividing chores to choosing how to decorate the living room.
If you have to have the neon sign that displays your favorite team's logo, for example, you might need to put it in a less-conspicuous part of the house than you had it previously to please your partner. Take a stronger position on the things you truly care for and be more willing to compromise on the rest. Additionally, be clear about what really matters to you and to your partner, and try not to be inflexible about too many things.
Whittling down excess belongings
Unless you're each moving in together from shared homes, you'll have plenty of duplicate and otherwise unneeded possessions between the two of you. It's far easier to take stock of what you already own before you move - and it makes the process less expensive, too. You'll want to make a list of everything you and your partner have on hand, identify the duplicates, then choose which one to bring to your new, shared home.
In some cases, it can be easy. A newer blender can easily replace the one your partner owns that's on its last legs, for example. In other cases, you might have two items of relatively equal value in terms of performance, estimated useful life and general value. In these cases, make sure to start setting these items aside and taking steps to sell, donate or give away anything you know you won't need after moving. Not only does this make the move easier and your new home less cluttered, it provides some easy cash - or a tax write-off for a donation - that can help fund the move and any new purchases.
You have a good plan for cutting down your mutual possessions and compromising on a wide variety of potential issues that come with living together for the first time. One last thing to consider is how to decorate your new home. Curbed suggested having broad, open conversations about how you each want your new space to look, coming up with some basic ground rules and finding and emphasizing common ground when choosing new purchases and where to put things.
Moving in together is a major commitment, but with some planning ahead and mutual understanding, you'll both be well on your way toward success.