Here’s my latest segment on the Tucson Morning Blend – just in time for Valentine’s Day! Even if you’ve been together for years, these tips can bring the romance back to sharing chores (just kidding, but they WILL help if you’re looking to get back in the groove).

You’ve decided to move in together, how exciting! It’s going to be perfect. Personalities, stuff, space, all intermingled and sexy. Nothing is more romantic at any age than nesting – cooking, cleaning and sharing a bathroom. True love, pure joy, no problem! 

Well, kinda maybe. Those of us who’ve done it know that true love can be tested when you move in together (and I’m not even talking about blending families!**) But if you take some practical steps from the start and make “Love Before Stuff” your mantra, it will be Home Sweet Home in no time. 

Before You Move In
Important conversations: Whether you’re walking down the aisle or not, be sure to spend time in each other’s homes and pay attention to how your other half lives. Have those awkward conversations NOW about habits, lifestyle, money (income, budget, bills, shared/separate bank account/s, allocating fun money, etc.) and long term expectations.

Purge: Both of you will need to purge boldly – closets, kitchen, décor, storage…

  • I guarantee you have twice as much stuff as you think you do.
  • If your special someone is moving in with you, clear space for them!
  • You’re not “getting rid of stuff,” you’re both making room in your life for L-O-V-E.

Plan Your Style & Layout: Will you design and furnish your love nest from scratch or be combining households and lean toward the “eclectic”? Oh, and you might want to make sure your furniture will fit your space before moving day.

  • Do some virtual window shopping together on Houzz or Pinterest to get a sense of each other’s taste and look for styles that inspire a shared vision. 
  • Make a handmade floor plan with a tape measure and graph paper
  • Use an online program like Room Sketcher
  • Look into phone apps like MagicPlan that measure and plan spaces 

Checklist: There are lots of online checklists for moving in together – use them! 

Blending “Stuff”
Negotiate with love and respect: 

  • Each person make a list and compare their non-negotiables and deal breakers. From family heirlooms to yard gnomes, see what your lover loves and hates.
  • Realize that your mate may be as emotionally attached to their piece of junk as you are to yours.
  • Be respectful of the other person and expect to let go of a lot (yes, even more).
  • It’s not realistic to expect every space be divided 50/50 (one has more work clothes, one needs a home office, one has a surfboard collection) and divide/cede footage accordingly.
  • Look for the humor, like this useful tips sheet, Combining Your Crap With A Significant Other.

You survived moving in. Now what?
Share Chores & Manage Expectations: Don’t assume that twice the people equals half the work, because twice the people really equals twice the mess.

  • Who’s shopping, who’s cooking, who’s cleaning? Divvying up chores can bring up lots of unspoken expectations, so consider making a chore chart. It helps to keep the dirty work objective, rather than personal.
  • Be flexible when one of you temporarily has more on their plate.

Most Importantly
Communicate always, make “Love Before Stuff” your mantra, and it will be Home Sweet Home for a lifetime!
Happy Homemaking!

Jennifer Phelps

** Help with blending families: Carol Johnson is amazing!

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