So… you’re thinking of moving in together.
What an incredibly exciting time that is!
It’s a big milestone in any relationship and is a great way to show your love for each other.
Before you dive into your new life together, there are a few things to consider.
This checklist isn’t designed to take away the joy of moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but it is designed to help you both ease into this new stage of your relationship as smoothly as possible.
1. How will you adjust to daily life together?
Think about how the reality of day-to-day life will affect your relationship.
You’ll be around each other far more often than you’re used to.
You’ll have to deal with all of the little things – cleaning, taking the trash out, being grouchy in the morning!
Before you live with someone, you won’t necessarily have seen all there is to their personality and lifestyle.
It can come as a bit of a shock to realize what someone is like in their regular life if you’re used to seeing them on their best behavior!
Think about how you’ll respond to stuff like them leaving the loo seat up (really, though, why is it so hard?!) or deciding who cooks when you’re both staying late at work after a rubbish day.
It may be worth setting some ground rules and openly talking about your expectations of living in the same house.
2. Is this the right time in your relationship to be moving in together?
It can be very easy to get carried away with a new relationship.
When things are great, you want to be around them more and more, so why wouldn’t living together be fun?!
For most people, if it feels right, it probably is.
That being said, it’s important to pause for a second, exit the love bubble, and make sure it does feel right – in real life.
Have you been together for a long enough period of time that you’re genuinely ready to take the next step?
Have you lived with a partner before and had a bad experience?
Thinking about these kinds of things can help you better prepare for this big step.
You can consider what you want to gain from living together, and think about how to combat any issues you’ve faced in the past when living with a partner.
Make sure you’re doing it because you want to share that aspect of your life with each other.
Don’t do it just because a) it makes financial sense, b) your lease is up and you ‘may as well,’ or c) you don’t have anywhere else to live!
If you can genuinely approach this experience from a place of positivity, go for it and enjoy it.
3. How will you both maintain some personal space?
‘Space’ is such a boring thing and often gets dismissed in the excitement of spending more time together, but it’s worth considering.
Talk to your partner about your expectations, and make sure you run through the importance of personal space.
You don’t need to schedule in alone time (unless that’s important to you), but it’s worth considering where you’ll each have space to decompress if you need to (after an argument, for instance).
You should also make sure you both keep committed to your own hobbies.
There’s a massive temptation when you live with someone to just spend all your time with them.
And whilst it’s very sweet at first, it will likely end up leading to resentment due to a lack of personal space.
This can put a big strain on the relationship.
Instead, anticipate this happening and stick to some of the things you love doing on your own or with friends.
Having personal space and a place to wind down makes for a healthier, happier relationship!
4. Have you discussed finances?
Money is awkward to talk about, we all know that.
Whether it’s your mate asking for that $2.23 you owe them or you having to gently remind your housemate (for the tenth time) that the rent is due, it’s a tricky subject to bring up.
By getting it out in the open before you move in with someone, you remove that awkwardness and potential cause for argument later down the line.
Agree a budget for your mortgage/rent and bills, and make sure it’s feasible and manageable for you both.
The way you do this is totally up to you – you may go straight down the middle and pay half each, or you may make it relative to how much you each earn.
Talk about who’ll buy groceries, and how you’ll cover those unexpected costs such as when your boiler breaks down.
It’s so boring, but it’ll save you arguing over it later!
You could get a joint account in advance and each put a set amount in every month to cover food costs, or take it in turns to pay.
Either way, agreeing on an approach to your finances – and doing it well before you move in together – will help hugely.
It means there’s less room for resentment or power plays (“I pay more rent so I get to choose what we have for dinner”), and it helps you both know where you stand.
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5. Do either of you have skeletons in the closet?
Now is a great time to discuss anything that you’ve been hiding from your partner!
It may be that you’ve had some issues with late payments or credit checks that could hinder your ability to rent a certain property.
It might be that you’ve got a lot of debt that you’re dealing with.
If these are things you’ve not brought up with your partner yet, we’d suggest doing it before you move in together.
It just helps you know where you stand, and it gives you a fresh start together.
What’s more, it promotes the importance of transparency, particularly around money, which is something you’ll respect the longer you live together.
6. How will you share the household duties?
We know, this list is getting a bit dull and sounds like a lecture your mom would give you – but that’s not a bad thing!
Talk about how you’ll tackle chores as a household.
Does one of you hate cooking but will happily do all the vacuuming?
Maybe one of you is allergic to bleach but will happily take the trash out every week.
Talk about how you plan to split the practical chores in the house before you move in together, and it’ll cause much less drama when you do.
7. Are there habits/hobbies you don’t want to give up?
There may be some things that you love doing and don’t want to give up just because you live with someone.
This is a great time to share those things.
It’s a nice way to bond and share aspects of your day/week/month you may not have considered telling them about before.
It also helps you prepare for life in the same house.
For example, you might have a close friend in another time zone that you FaceTime once a month – at 4am your time!
You shouldn’t have to stop doing that, but it’s good to make your partner aware as it may now affect them.
They may play football every Saturday morning, and they want to check that you understand that that’s their thing – even if you had plans of cooking brunch together every Saturday in your new home.
It’s about figuring out how to keep parts of yourself and your life that matter, while merging it with your partner and this next step in your relationship.
Be honest about what matters to you, but also be open to compromising on a few less important things.
It’s key to maintaining your own personality – and it’s likely to be what you find attractive about your partner anyway!
Remember that your partner loves you because you have a lot of friends and are sociable, in the same way you love them for having their hobbies or being very active.
8. How will you decorate and furnish your shared home?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be able to walk into a room and instantly see things you either hate or love.
Fluffy cushions? Absolutely not.
Feng Shui and candles? Yes.
When I’ve moved into shared accommodation before, it’s been hard to adjust to how other people choose to style their homes.
First-world problem, yes, but definitely something to consider when moving in with a partner.
If you’re moving into either your place or theirs, make sure the one doing the moving gets to bring some of their personality to your home.
It’ll help them feel on equal footing with you and makes it your shared home, not someone else’s home they happen to live in.
If you’re moving into a new place, decorate it together, choose things that you both like and make it a shared expression of you both.
Making physical space in your home for someone reflects how much emotional space you make in your heart and life for them – corny but true!
These are some of the most important things to add to your checklist before you move in with your partner.
It won’t miraculously make living together stress-free, but it’ll help you prepare for a bit of a shift.
Remember, feeling a bit overwhelmed or anxious about moving in with your partner is normal, even if you’re also really excited about it!
Your partner is probably feeling a similar way, so don’t be scared to talk about it.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the next step, it just shows the importance of it to you both.
If you’re both going into this excited and happy to share more of your time and self with each other, everything else will fall into place.
No relationship is perfect, so keep your expectations realistic, don’t stress if you have a few small fights while you settle into your new life together…
…and keep a bar of chocolate and a bottle of wine in the fridge for days when you both need to just chill out and remember why you decided to move in together in the first place!