Even though it doesn’t feel like the most ideal time to move, my girlfriend of 2 years and I have decided to get an apartment together to save on rent (we spend most of our time together anyways). What tips do you have for combining our belongings and sharing space 24/7, especially while shelter-in-place remains?
Making The Move
Dear Making The Move,
Congratulations!! Super exciting step to make, and one that definitely requires good communication to go smoothly. We hear you on it feeling like a less-than-ideal time to move, BUT a lot of people are actually making the same decision, and we think it’s a smart one, especially from a cost perspective. Just make sure that’s not the only reason you’ve decided to take this step. :)
When combining your belongings and thinking about how to make the most of your new space (especially in the time of Corona) we have a few suggestions for turning what can be an anxiety-inducing process into a fun and manageable one. Follow along below!
1. Set Up a Planning Meeting
Pick a date and a time to meet with your SO to start planning for the move (I know, feels formal but it’s a really great way to kick off the process). Come to the meeting with your Nice To Haves and Need To Haves for both the actual apartment space you’d ideally like to live in (if you haven’t signed a lease already/you’re not moving into one of your existing apartments) AND for the items you’d like to have in the apartment. This is a great initial step in outlining what’s truly important to each of you.
2. Take Time to Go Through Your Things, Separately
When it comes to your own belongings, have an understanding of what you want to keep/get rid of. If you and your SO are solid on that independently, it will be easier to have discussions about how to make all of your Need To Haves fit into your new shared apartment, while also discussing what can be donated or sold before the move.
3. Be Honest And Kind
If there’s something that your SO has expressed that they want, but it really bothers you, be sure to voice it at the beginning of the move - don’t let things turn into bigger issues. For example, if they have expressed wanting to keep their dining room table, but you also have a dining room table that was passed down to you from a family member, perhaps the discussion should center around how both tables can be used in the new space/finding ways to kindly compromise so that you both feel heard.
4. Determine a Budget For New Items
If you need to purchase a new bed, chairs, coffee table, etc. determine a budget that you’re both comfortable with before starting your search. That way you won’t fall in love with something that your SO isn’t comfortable splitting the cost for, and ultimately causing unnecessary arguments or tension.
5. Create Your Own Space
DON’T TRY TO SHARE EVERYTHING! One of the most important things to do when moving in together is to determine which areas are shared, and which areas are uniquely yours (and which are uniquely your SO’s). Be sure to divide the space evenly between the two of you.
If possible, decide who gets which closet, or if you’re sharing a closet, very clearly divide it so that you know what side is yours. Personally, my boyfriend and I each have a half of the bedroom - I have a vanity and a dresser, he has a dresser and side table/magazine rack, and we each have a closet. For the areas of the apartment that are mine, I have full reign; anything goes for how I organize them. For dedicated areas in the shared spaces (i.e. spaces that can’t be hidden by a closed door like a closet), the expectation is that we each keep our items neat, but we can organize it however we want. This is a GREAT way to still feel as though you have your own space within a shared environment, which is key to feeling like it’s your home.
6. Keep Communication Open
If you come to realize that there are little things that your SO does at home that don’t seem like a big deal but ultimately annoy you, voice it! If you’re irritated by the fact that your SO puts the TP on “backwards” (whatever that is for you), or that they don’t make the bed when they get up second, communicate that with them. You shouldn’t be looking to change your SO, but if there are small things that could help you feel better in the shared space, have a conversation about it before it becomes a bigger issue. :)
And congratulations! This is a really exciting step you’re taking :) moving in with your SO is like moving in with your best friend, and even though doing so in the time of Corona might be a little nerve wracking, it’s a great time to create routines, keep communication open, and hold each other accountable (kindly). This is an amazing opportunity to build a foundation of healthy living habits to carry with you beyond shelter-in-place!
We’d love to see how your moves are going! Let us know @thelandingsocial or via writing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in #CreatingSpace,
Miranda and The Landing Team