Moving house is always a mixture of stress and excitement, but when you’re throwing in your lot with another person for the first time, emotions and tensions can run especially high. Instead of focusing on the minutiae of those first days (and getting bogged down in your partner’s baffling collection of giant pencils), play the long game and enjoy the process for its own sake.
After all, this combining of possessions and tastes marks the beginning of your new life together. That being said, prepare yourself to weather a few storms, ready to emerge blinking in the sun as the clouds pass. These 10 handy tips should get your move going in the right direction.
Choose your battles
If you’re a stubborn sort, you may find it difficult to bite your tongue as your other half unpacks yet another box full of ‘gems’ from their old house. Although you almost certainly have far better taste than they do, try not to spoil those first few days in your new pad with pointless bickering. Setting up home together is an ongoing process and one best approached with as much tolerance and good nature as you can muster (even if that vase is hideous).
Fix your finances
Will you pay household bills from a joint account or divide them between you and pay individually? Who will stump up for the food shopping? What about setting up savings? These boring but necessary financial issues can cause tension if not discussed openly, so it’s best to get them out of the way right from the start.
The move to cohabiting is an exciting stage in any relationship and one worth celebrating. Show your first joint bedroom some love by investing in a new set of linen. If your old stuff is in good condition, keep that too, but put your best set on show to mark the start of this new chapter.
See more beautifully crisp white bedrooms to get inspiration
Ditch the duplicates
If you’ve both lived by yourselves for a few years, it’s likely you’ll own a lot of the same kitchenware. Streamline your kit down to the best versions of each item, so you’re not having to find storage space for unwanted duplicates. No home needs two cheese graters!
Agree to mutually go through and assess all of your belongings before moving house, so you’re not lugging stuff from one home to another that neither of you wants or needs. If your partner is a known hoarder, offer to help them sort through their loft (or other recognised areas of squirrelling) so you’re on hand to give a nudge in the direction of the charity shop or the tip when needed.
The process of choosing paint colours and making décor-related decisions will help to create a sense of shared ownership over the new space. If you’re happy to tackle the task of redecorating yourselves, this can enhance your bond as a couple, while creating memories from those first weeks and months in your new home.
Don’t argue over art
One person’s idea of a majestic masterpiece might be another’s concept of artwork atrocity. Try to be sensitive to your partner’s tastes when going through your shared collection of prints and photographs. Agree to display those you like (or don’t mind) and ‘temporarily’ store those you can’t stand out of the way, ready to reassess in a few months’ time. With any luck, your partner will forget about these controversial pieces.
Morning bathroom rituals and general wash-time habits are often an area of contention among newly cohabiting couples. Try to be considerate of your partner in terms of timings and tidiness: install extra storage if overflowing products are likely to be an issue. Communication is key, especially if they consider door-closing optional!
Take time out
Upon moving in together, you may find you’re spending more time together than before. That’s great as long as you don’t start to neglect your friends and family as a result. Make an effort to maintain separate hobbies and interests, rather than being sucked into a purely couple-y routine. Netflix can wait – you don’t want your friends to lodge that missing person’s report.
Do your share
Housework is a major bugbear in many relationships, so get a head start on this hot topic by deciding up front who will do what. That way, you’ll avoid a situation where resentment builds because one person feels the other isn’t pulling their weight. And if in doubt, always put the bins out!