Moving in together is a huge milestone in any relationship, whether you’re living together for a while before you consider marriage, you’re not at all interested in marriage, or you wait until after the honeymoon to share a home. In any case, you’re both changing your current lifestyle to cohabitate. Even if you’re used to devoting most of your free time to being together and spending the night over at each other’s places, it’s still not comparable to living together full-time. One major hurdle is downsizing in order to accommodate each other’s belongings. Learn how to compromise on what to get rid of during the move, and your new living arrangement will be off to the best possible start.
Give Up Things in Equal Proportions
If possible, choose a new place together. This has its advantages because you both have to pack up and neither has a dominant sense of ownership or territory. However, that’s not always financially or logistically feasible. If one of you is moving into the other’s existing residence, it shouldn’t mean that the current residence’s things take precedence. Vow to give up an equal number of things or, since you’re unlikely to have the same types of things. It’s not just about the person moving in cutting back on the number of things s/he needs to pack; you also need to make space in your place for additional belongings.
Divide the Space Equally
Even if the living space is limited, attempt to divide the space equally. If you have one closet, split it in half. Give two out of every four walls over to your partner. If you have multiple rooms, agree that one of you gets to decorate one room, such as the living room, while the other is in charge of another room, such as the bedroom. If one of you cares more about décor than the other, agree to let them decorate, but make sure the other partner approves, and still has a space to call their own.
Put Things into Storage
If you’re having a difficult time deciding what to give up, put everything you don’t immediately need into a storage unit for a few months. Then, after you’ve settled in, you can get a better picture of how much space you have to work with and what can feasibly go where. You might also be better prepared to give up some things without sentimental value that you don’t often use. Or you can decide to keep the storage unit long-term to safeguard things you don’t often need but you can’t bear to part with. It’s possible the two of you might move into a larger home someday and you can take those items with you then.
Make Use of a Storage System
With limited space, you and your partner should create a more effective storage system. Invest in boxes, shelving, and space saver bags. Take advantage of every spare spot in the home – under the bed, under the couch, in the corner of the closet, and in as many cabinets and cupboards as possible. The more you hide out of sight, the less cluttered your home will appear and the more comfortable it will be.
Choosing What to Let Go
When it comes to choosing what to get rid of, there are a few simple rules. Whenever you pick up an item that you haven’t used for six months or more, and doesn’t have sentimental value, put it in either a “donate” or “trash” pile. If you’re still hesitating, consider asking friends and family if they’ll take the items off your hands, instead.
Compromising on what to keep after moving in together may mean having a major discussion. Frequent arguments in the early stage of cohabitation doesn’t bode well. There needs to be a healthy give and take in any relationship. Learn to let go instead of being defensive and stubborn, but also keep your eyes wide open. If your partner is stubborn and you make all the concessions, he or she might not be the right person for you after all.