Congratulations on marking this important milestone! You’re married! Now that you’ve tied the knot, you have many other things to consider — not the least of which is choosing your new home and making arrangements to move in.
As you relocate, a systematic approach will help you prevent headaches. Use this guide to plan for your coming cohabitation and you’ll be ready to throw your welcome soiree in no time. Here are a few points to keep in mind.
1. Divvy Up Your Belongings
Deciding to live together will probably entail some downsizing. Unless your new home is enormous, you’ll both have to make a few sacrifices, and that makes sense. You can’t bring everything you want.
For example, if you were moving alone, you’d probably take your pots and pans, but how many woks do you honestly need? These are the kind of questions you’ll have to answer.
With that in mind, select a weekend to go through each of your individual belongings together. Decide what stays and what goes, but try to remain flexible. You don’t want to start your life as a couple on a sour note because you insisted your spouse leave their beloved toy car collection behind.
2. Inspect the Property
If you’re ready to start furnishing your new place, you likely have an idea of how you want it to look. That said, there’s no need to rush. It’s best to take your time. After all, if you arrange your couches and tables, it’s more challenging to see flaws in the property.
Always conduct a thorough inspection before moving in, regardless of whether you buy or rent. Check the ventilation and exhaust in the kitchens and bathrooms to make sure your humidity levels remain between 30% and 60%, as recommended by the EPA. This test helps stave off toxic mold.
Once you have identified and corrected any hazards, it’s time to plan your layout. You can use colored painter’s tape to outline where to place the furniture before you lug it all in. This plotting can save you or your moving team a ton of backaches.
3. Make a Plan to Manage Money
Before you co-habitate, you need a plan for how to pay the household bills. Some couples choose to divide everything 50/50. This plan makes sense if you have relatively equal income levels.
However, if your partner makes considerably more or less than you do, it might make sense to split the bills differently. One of you can handle rent or mortgage, while the other handles utilities, for example.
Furthermore, take into account your individual debt loads. If you paid off your student loans, but your spouse still struggles, you can ease their burden temporarily to help them pay the outstanding balance.
4. Divide the Household Chores
One of the ways resentment builds in a relationship is when one partner deliberately or negligently puts the burden of second shift labor on the other. “Second shift labor” refers to the extra labor placed on a partner outside of their full-time career, including chores like laundry, the dishes and similar responsibilities.
Before you move in together, decide on how to split these tasks. Make a list of what each partner is responsible for doing. That way, you don’t have to argue. Plus, it takes the mental stress off the individual who plays household administrator.
5. Define a Space for Yourself
Yes, you’re in the honeymoon phase, and you can’t imagine wanting to be without your beloved for a second. However, everyone needs their alone time, some, more than others. Deciding how much time you need requires a self-evaluation, but, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, everyone needs a space of their own.
Maybe you take the spare bedroom as a crafts room, and your mate takes over the garage for a home gym. Perhaps you’re sharing more of a studio, but you use a wooden screen to create a yoga corner for yourself. Make sure you have a personal retreat.
6. Communicate Your Expectations
How do you imagine your relationship will look after you tie the knot? Just expecting something to happen won’t make it so. If you expect your spouse to spend Sunday mornings lazing about with you in bed, you need to tell them that before they get up to get the paper.
Avoid resentment by keeping the lines of communication open. Schedule a weekly “date night” where you discuss what makes you happy, and what you want to change.
7. Realize Your Routine May Change
A pre-marriage and post-marriage routine will often look a little different. They might look a lot different. And it’s important to adjust yourself to accommodate the changes instead of fighting them.
You can still do the things you like to do, of course, and you will. But you’ll also have to compromise for the collective good. Everything’s a conversation, so if you’re unhappy, talk about it.
Make Your Move Seamless With These Tips
Now that you’re married, it's time to start to your life together. Help smooth the pathway to blissful cohabitation with these seven tips!