Life

I just moved in with my partner for the first time. Here are 10 things that helped it go smoothly.

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My partner and I moved in together in July.
Morgan Goldwich
  • I just moved in with my partner for the first time.
  • Moving is always stressful, but moving in with a partner in a shared space offers unique challenges.
  • Planning ahead and communicating helped make our transition much easier.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

I just officially moved in with my partner.

This is the first time I've signed a lease with a significant other.
Sophia Veiga

In July, I signed a lease with my partner and moved into our new joint home. We had spent several months prior effectively living together, but we both had our respective apartments, aesthetics, and storage options.

Though I've had housemates since I started college in 2017, I knew living with a significant other would be different, especially since we would be sharing a room together and not just common areas. Now a few months into sharing our space together, we've figured out some things that helped make the transition fairly easy.   

We talked through the logistics ahead of time.

We discussed details and our feelings prior to the move.
Morgan Goldwich

In the weeks leading up to our move, I started to feel some anxiety about it. Even though I was excited about embarking on our new adventure together, I really value having my own space where I can recharge, and the idea of not having that made me stressed. I told my partner how I was feeling, and she said it had also crossed her mind. We talked through these feelings and came up with some plans to ensure we would be able to maximise our space together. 

One thing that was helpful in minimising stress was mapping out where all of our furniture would go prior to the move. We knew that we could switch things up as we pleased, but having a general guide for the layout meant we didn't have to figure it out once we got to our new house. We also decided beforehand that my partner's dog would be kept off our new bed due to my allergies. Discussing these details in advance made it easy to start off implementing these things instead of sorting it out during the chaos of actually moving.

We were each able to have a space in our house that is our own.

My partner made a workspace in our garage.
Sophia Veiga

Fortunately, we got lucky with a house that allows us to each have a space that feels like our own. For example, since I work remotely, I use a spare room as my office. It's set up in a way that works for me, and I know it's a quiet place where I can feel focused and recharged. On the other hand, my partner created a workspace in the garage for her to tackle projects like building a camper conversion for her car.     

While we are both welcome to use each other's spaces, the idea that the respective rooms are "ours" has helped make the transition to living together much smoother.

We used the opportunity to downsize.

We had a plan for where we would put everything before we actually moved.
Morgan Goldwich

Fitting two people's lives into one bedroom is no easy feat. We spent some time in the weeks leading up to our move narrowing down what we needed and what we could leave behind. For example, since we both had desks, we decided to get rid of one. We also consolidated our other large furniture and kitchenware. 

We got lucky with a closet that easily fits both of our clothes, but we didn't know how big it would be until we actually got there, so I went through and tossed old shoes and pants with holes. We held on to our most important items, but downsizing helped our shared room to not feel cluttered.

We kept an open mind.

I was on the fence about how a drum set would look in our cozy reading room, but it ended up giving the room a very cool vibe.
Morgan Goldwich

In fairness, I should say I kept an open mind — eventually. I felt very particular about how I wanted the house to be decorated, and my partner's skateboard-turned-shelf wasn't really part of that vision. After a few bouts of frustration when planning our layout, I took a deep breath and let go of the attachment I had for what my "dream home" would look like. 

I realised that while you can always strive to achieve a certain look, allowing yourself to deviate from that plan will open you to more possibilities, sometimes for the better. Keeping an open mind can be especially important when living with a significant other so you can both feel like your personalities are being expressed in your home. Plus, I now know my dream home has more to do with the people who live there than how it's decorated.

We recognised our routine might have to be adjusted, but not compromised.

One of my favorite habits is reading before bed — bonus points if my partner and I read next to each other.
Morgan Goldwich

Before moving in with my partner, I thought I would have to do without certain parts of my day. But I haven't had to give those things up — instead, adjusting my habits to fit a slightly different schedule has been helpful in making this transition manageable. 

One of my favourite habits when living alone was reading before bed, and I found it harder to keep that up once I moved in with my partner. However, after we settled into a regular routine, we learned that my partner would have to go to bed much earlier than me due to her work. So, I was able to keep up nightly reading, but instead of reading in bed, I read in the living room. These small adjustments showed me that even though your schedule might have to adapt to your significant other's a bit once you move in together, and vice versa, you don't need to sacrifice the parts of your day that you love.

We communicate when something isn't working.

Keeping our space clean helps clear our headspace.
Morgan Goldwich

It's a cliche for a reason that communication is key in a relationship, and this remains true when you move in together. Being honest when something is bothering one of us helps my partner and I resolve it faster. For example, if someone is slacking on minor chores around the house, that can build up frustration with the other. Instead of letting those little things accumulate, we try to talk about it when we notice it so we can work to resolve it effectively.

We try not to let chores build up.

Playing music while we do chores helps pass the time.
Morgan Goldwich

Just like our feelings, we try not to let the chores pile up. I've found that my physical space is often very influential on my mental space, so keeping it as clutter-free as possible is a must. When the sink is full of dirty dishes, it makes us a lot less willing to cook, making mealtime more frustrating. If we have laundry overflowing from the hamper, our room feels more crowded. 

We've found that setting aside some time every week to tackle these chores is a good way to be proactive and not get overwhelmed. Plus, throwing on our record player and working together turns the typically tedious task into an enjoyable bonding experience.

We make an effort to have quality time together, both in and out of the house.

Even a night in can be made special — especially if you put cheap wine in fancy glasses.
Sophia Veiga

Since I'm constantly around my partner, sometimes the line between "quality time" and just "time" can get blurry. While there's certainly something enjoyable about scrolling through TikTok for hours next to your significant other, we both recognise our need for intentional activities with each other.

For us, something as easy as having a movie night with our favourite snacks and wine can go a long way in breaking up our everyday routine. We also like to spend time exploring our new town and taking our dog on local trails. Emphasising the quality in quality time keeps our relationship feeling fun and new.

But we also try to prioritise alone time.

I love to sit at a local coffee shop in my free time.
Morgan Goldwich

I especially value alone time; spending time by myself helps me feel refreshed, which in turn makes me a better partner. My partner and I have opposite work schedules, so alone time is already built into our lives, and I think it makes a big difference. We're able to work on personal projects, catch up on chores, and otherwise do activities the other may not necessarily be interested in. It lets us keep a small degree of autonomy between our otherwise blended lives, and I've found that to be really important in living with a significant other.

We remember we have the same goal.

We try to make the most out of living together.
Morgan Goldwich

At the end of the day, my partner and I both want the same thing: a space we feel comfortable to call home. When we bicker over the design of our (attempted) gallery wall or whose turn it is to deep clean the bathroom, it helps to remember that we're ultimately a team working to reach this goal together.

We're still in the early stages of living together, so my partner and I will most likely continue learning about what it takes to make it work. Moving as is can be overwhelming, and spending almost all of your time with another human is not always easy, but in our short experience, there are plenty of ways to make the journey smooth and make the most of it.

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