Moving in together for the first time? Here are the things you should know…
“We had flat batteries in our phones and no pants.” Anna Smith
If you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other it means you’ve reached a serious milestone in your relationship. You’re willing to give up your personal space and start sharing it with the person you love and in an ideal world this would go without a hitch.
But as with any relationship milestone, although it’ll be an adventure you’re likely to run into a few teething problems. Speaking to Anna* who has recently moved in with her partner, she gives an insight into the potential problems you’ll face and how to overcome them.
Q. When did you decide it was time to move in together?
A. Well, we’d been together for 4 years and were spending most of our time together anyway so it made sense to bite the bullet and see if we could co-habit 7 days a week!
Q. Are you renting, or did you buy a place together?
A. At the moment we’re renting. This was never our plan (ideally we’d like to have bought) but in today’s property climate it’s become more and more difficult for first time buyers. Plus we’ve known two first time buyers who have split with their partners – so renting seems like a good way to test the waters before taking the plunge!
Q. How did you go about finding a place to rent?
A. There are tonnes of great online real-estate portals – such as the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla – however we found smaller, local estate agents to be the best option for us. We simply narrowed down the areas we liked and contacted agencies, letting them know our budget, property size and so on. After that they approached us with potential properties to look at and we agreed to view the ones that appealed best.
Q. Did it take you long to find the perfect place?
A. Not at all – the rental market moves very quickly so new places open up all the time. We saw roughly 10 properties within the space of a week – some were absolutely hideous so viewings took 30 seconds and with a polite ‘we’ll be in touch!’ we were out the door. So long as you’re both agreed on what you’re looking for, viewings will be quick and easy!
Q. Moving in day – how were you feeling?
A. To be honest, pretty sad. We were both moving out of our family homes so there was a huge ‘end of an era’ feeling looming over both of us. Mix those feelings with the stress of moving large volumes of items up and down stairs for 8 hours and by the end of it you have two very tired (and grumpy) souls. It’s not as romantic as the movies portray it, with champagne corks popping and snuggling up on your sofa for the first evening. You’re both tired, sweaty and just want to fall face first into a bed!
Q. Is there anything that would have made the move easier?
A. If I could go back and do the whole process again, I’d have staggered moving stuff in and ideally stored some of the items we didn’t need right away. We packed up everything we had and moved it all in within 2 days – lots of things were broken and the things we really needed (phone chargers and UNDERWEAR) went missing for a while. We had flat batteries in our phones and no pants – not how you want to spend the first 48 hours in your new place!
Q. Now that you’re settled in and have lived together for a while, what would your advice be to couples in a similar situation?
A. I have tonnes of advice but here are my top 5 points!
My Top 5 Tips
1. Learn the words COMMUNICATION and COMPROMISE and never forget them
A shared space means sharing opinions and decisions – you might not always 100% agree but so long as you can reach a compromise by communicating your points fairly and clearly, everyone stays as happy as possible.
2. Don’t try to tackle the move in one hit
Once the space is yours, don’t rush to move everything in a day. It just isn’t feasible and is an unnecessary strain during an already stressful time! Box everything up and label your boxes according to their importance, moving only the most urgent and necessary things first. These things include stuff you’ll need right away, like bedding, toilet paper, crockery, phone chargers, clothes, shoes and so on. The extras like books, DVDs and artwork can wait – if you don’t use it every day, store it for the time being and transfer it once you’re ready!
3. Write a checklist weeks in advance and keep adding to it
It’s surprising what you forget you’ll need when you move into a new place – especially if you’re moving out of your family home and own a lot less. Small things like a tin opener don’t seem important initially, but you’ll soon notice its absence when you opt for the cheaper ‘plain end’ baked beans and have nothing to open them with!
You’ll run into all sorts of costs you hadn’t previously considered but even the pre-anticipated bills come as a surprise during the first few months. Make a list of all of the potential costs you’ll be faced with and work out a payment plan between you – it might make sense to split everything 50/50 or, if you’re like us, you’ll both be responsible for different bills. Whatever works for you!
5. Enjoy it!
It’s easy to lose sight of the reasons you decided to move in in the first place – especially when bills rack up and the fridge is bare. But moving in to your first place together is supposed to be fun, so try to always focus on the positives rather than letting the negatives spoil your time together. It really can be a make or break situation for some relationships – especially if you’ve been living with family and it’s your first experience living out with a partner. Remember – communicate and compromise!
Are you planning on moving in with a partner? Or have you moved in recently? We’d love to hear your experiences and advice, so please leave comments below!