The decision to move in with your partner is a big one. Outside of what this means for the next step of your relationship, cohabitation can also create a number of new and unusual obstacles that need to be overcome. Above all, you need to figure out what to do with all of your stuff. These days, it is more common for couples to rent a space together than purchase a home. If you’re in this situation, it means you’ll need to be both practical and creative when it comes to finding sensible storage solutions. Consider these tips to develop your own strategy.
Cohabitation 101: Eliminate in Advance
There is no getting around the need to condense and get rid of a lot of stuff before you and your partner share a space. Whether you’re moving into a new spot or you’re making room for your partner’s arrival, you definitely want to eliminate a lot of clutter in advance. Take a look at your possessions and ask yourself what items will serve a purpose in the future. Should you be holding onto old mementos or photos of exes now that your space is shared with someone new?
Getting rid of items from your past can be both painful and liberating. While you don’t have to completely erase what has come before to make the transition to cohabitation, you’ll find that tossing out the junk frees and invigorates your spirit in exciting ways.
Include Personal Space
Personal space is vital to the health and longevity of a relationship. It doesn’t matter that you live in a shoebox apartment in Manhattan, you need to learn how to divide the space in an even way. While most of your home will be shared spaces, you can easily find spots to dedicate to personal pursuits. If you like to read and write, put a desk in the corner of the bedroom where you can go to engage in your passions. When your partner prefers using her Saturday morning for meditation, try and give her time and distance.
There will be some trial and error involved in this part of cohabitation. Don’t be surprised if you both feel restricted in some ways at first. As you learn each other’s rhythms, it will become much easier to figure out how to best give personal space when needed.
Consider Decor Before You Store
Helping a partner feel welcomed in a new space can also be challenging. If you’ve lived in your apartment for years, it is going to undoubtedly feel like “your” space. To change this, work on the decor before you start packing things away. Take down whatever you have hanging on the walls and discuss what you both think would look best moving forward. This will help your partner feel a sense of ownership over the space and offer a few practical places to store items in the open before you pack them away.
Tackle a Project Together
Every home is unique when it comes to storage. Maybe your apartment is lacking in closets or your house doesn’t have an attic, basement, or garage. A great way to discover sensible storage solutions is by tackling an improvement project together after your partner moves in. Dedicate a weekend to building shelves or expanding an existing closet. This can offer you an array of new options for where to place items and bring you closer together in the home you will now be sharing.
Cohabitation can be scary and exhilarating. Though you probably have a number of concerns about the future, it is best to remember you can accomplish great things when you approach the tasks as a team. With time and patience, you’ll both learn how you can make a shared space feel like a home you are building together.