February has long been celebrated as the month of love. Television commercials feature jewelry ads by the dozen and retail stores become Romantic Marts with boxes of chocolate and big fluffy teddy bears a’plenty. For many couples, all those declarations of love and adoration lead to a bigger commitment – moving in together. If you and your significant other have recently decided to combine households, then step out of your love cocoon long enough to read through these five tips for happier cohabitation.
- Make a List of Must-Haves – Remember, whether you decide to move into an existing home, or start fresh in a new space, you will be combining furniture and decorations. If you like a subdued palette and rustic pine, but your partner prefers more glitz and shine than Elton John, you have a great deal of compromising ahead. Make a list of must-have items and be respectful of each other’s choices. If you need the big oak dresser with all the drawers for your massive t-shirt collection, maybe your partner could top it with a bold lamp.
- Ditch the Duplicates – Gaining a bonus loveseat, a second television for the bedroom, or doubling the bath towels may be a bonus of moving in together, but couples often find themselves with too many extras. Once you have decided who has the better toaster, coffeemaker, silverware, etc., offer the other items to family members, give to charity, or have an impromptu moving sale. You can also put extra items in storage.
Plan for Living AND Storage Space – Unless you’ve been living a nomadic existence and can easily fit all your belongings in the hatch of your Prius, chances are good that you’ve amassed a fair share of stuff, and your partner has too. Beyond things that will have a designated spot like furniture, clothes, and that decorative spice rack, each of you probably has one or two boxes of childhood memorabilia, a comic book collection, and other things that you’re not ready to part with. When you start taking photos and measurements of the new space, be realistic about where all those other boxes will go too. Psst, if you don’t have storage room, we do!
- Pack and Label Boxes by Room – Though it may seem like common sense to pack and label each room as you go, trust us when we say we have seen it all and organization really is your friend in this situation. Pick a room, then box up the items (use heavy paper or bubble wrap for breakables) and label in clear handwriting on the top and sides of the box. To avoid collapsing, pack boxes to the top and secure with packing tape.
- Be Flexible and Friendly – The idea of moving in together is romantic, but the actual process of sorting, packing, and hauling boxes can be stressful. To avoid conflict, remember to be flexible, friendly, and always keep the line of communication open.