Committing to share a space with someone is a big step in any relationship. When my boyfriend and I moved in together we had a lot of obstacles to overcome. I am still amazed that we fit all of our belongings comfortably and created a space that feels like home to both of us in a tiny one bedroom apartment. When I think about how we did it, and continue to do it, I know that it wasn’t just my skills as a professional organizer that got us here. Our open conversations throughout the process made our transition a smooth success. No matter how long you have known each other, moving in together will test your communication and organization skills. Here, we will share some key conversation starters to help you and your partner organize your thoughts and make a plan before you even move in.
So honey, why do you want to live with me?
One of the keys to making any project successful is understanding what motivates you. Aside from just wanting to be near the other person, everyone has their reasons for moving in with someone. From cutting down on the commute between your individual abodes to saving money on rent, your thoughts should be heard. Make sure you and your partner communicate your motivations, goals, and expectations to each other. Being cognizant of these topics will help you learn more about each other and inform smaller decisions the two of you will need to make down the line. For example, if saving money is important to both of you, you can keep that in mind when making future decisions on housing price points, buying furniture, and how much money you will spend on things like vacations.
Your place? My place? New place?
Now that you are clear on each other’s motivations, it’s time to decide where to go. If you can, starting fresh in a new place together is most advantageous. Although we share some great first hand tips how to do it in our video How 2 Cohabitate, moving into a space that one of you have already set up as home can make things more challenging. We have seen this with many of our clients. When one partner moves in to the other person’s place, they have a hard time making it feel like it belongs to them both. If you look for a new place together, you immediately start off your new life together in a space that has always belonged to the both of you. As a bonus, organizing a space is much easier when you start with a clean slate.
What’s the budget?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all lived in a fairy tale where moving in together just meant an instant, romantic happily ever after with no bills to pay? Cohabitation can be wonderful but to get there you need to have the hard conversations too. Make sure you and your partner have talked in detail about all the financial aspects of the move. From the responsibility of sharing rent/mortgage to utilities, organizing services and cleaning services, it’s better to hash things out before moving in and finding out that you cannot afford the rent or household services you are used to. Be as clear as you can about the lifestyle you would like to have and really get some numbers down on paper before you start house hunting or hiring movers.
What’s the plan of attack?
When tackling a big project you always want to divide and conquer. There is a lot of work to be done when planning a move. As great as it is to make decisions together, it is best to divide up the smaller tasks so that things can get done quickly and efficiently. Have a conversation with your partner about tasks that need to be accomplished and the time it will take to get them completed. Who will be responsible for hiring movers? When are you both free to go house/apartment hunting? What does their schedule look like during the time frame of the planned move? Do they have time to declutter and pack before the big day? These are all questions you need to address. Start by making a big list of everything that needs to get done and then assign tasks. Because you have already shared your opinions on expectations and budgets, you will each be able to take action and make small decisions on the other persons behalf.
Hopefully, these conversation starters have gotten your wheels turning and you are ready to plan the move with your loved one. When you find yourselves happily snuggled on the couch after you’re all unpacked wherever you call home, may the love and happiness that you share with your partner be your most prized possession. For more organizing tips and tricks on moving, packing, unpacking and decluttering check out the following helpful videos and blogs.