Whether you've just gotten married or are taking the plunge way before your wedding day, moving in together is a huge milestone in any relationship. You're going from spending as much time together as possible to living together, 24/7, and that come with its own set of challenges. Maybe you're moving into his current apartment, the two of you signed a lease together, or you've secured a mortgage and are buying your first home. Whatever the situation, here are five things you should make sure to do before you start packing those boxes.
Two people means double the stuff — and a lot of duplicates of things you only need one of. Go through both of your current homes and make a list of big items you both have (like sets of dishes, couches, or beds). Then decide which you'll keep, which you'll toss, or if you'll get rid of both and invest in something new. Try to do this before you've registered for anything so you can shop around for upgrades or items you'll both love. This way you're not stuck eating off of his chipped beige dinnerware from college, and he doesn't feel weird sleeping on your pink floral sheets.
Create a Budget
Combining households means sharing a lot of costs, from your rent or mortgage to the Netflix subscription and groceries. Even if you aren't planning to share finances, you'll want to outline how much you plan to spend together every month. Find a number that feels right to each of you, then decide if you'll open a joint account for household expenses or if one of you will pay for electricity and heating while the other will cover your parking pass and internet.
They say opposites attract, but when a neat freak shacks up with someone who can't remember the last time they made the bed, tensions can rise quickly. You probably have an idea of your partner's living and cleaning habits at this point, but you'll want to set expectations before you've opened the front door instead of waiting for a month or two and then getting upset when something isn't put away properly. Some couples choose to divide cleaning tasks, while others tackle things together. Whichever style suits you, talk through ways that the less organized of the two can contribute to controlling clutter while the more organized can allow for certain less-than-perfect arrangements.
Plan For the Unexpected
This goes back to budget. Even if every monthly expense is covered, there's always something you don't expect, from a leaky sink to an unseasonably cold week that kicks your heating bill into overdrive. Set aside some funds to provide wiggle room, and talk about how you'll handle surprise expenses that are above and beyond what you've planned for.
Even after you've decided what to keep and what to toss, you may still want to downsize a little bit. After all, moving in together doesn't always come with double the space! Use this as an opportunity to clean out your closet, get rid of those things you forgot you still had (college textbooks, anyone?), and get organized. This is especially important if one of you is moving into the other person's current home: Making room for their things is the quickest way to make them feel like a welcome addition instead of an intruder.