So you’re planning to move in with your SO, but your housing choices are on the smaller side. Living in a small apartment by yourself can already be suffocating enough, what more if you have to share it with another fully grown adult?
If you want to make the most out of your love lair without losing your mind, here are some strategies that you can employ:
1. Compromise on the style
Before hitting the furniture store or looking at paint samples, have a sit-down discussion with your SO about the aesthetic that you want to have for the apartment. Both of you will be living there for an indefinite time, so you have to make decisions together if you both want to incorporate your styles into the place.
A good strategy is to create separate mood boards that you can show each other later on. Using reference images, you and your SO can determine which elements you agree on and which ones you have to compromise. If your partner is not the type to care about interior design and whatnot, still make it a point to run your ideas by them to ensure that your plan won’t cause fights in the future.
2. Respect each other’s space
When you first move in together, it helps to set boundaries regarding each other’s personal spaces in the apartment. For instance, your SO might want to set up their own working space near the living room window, and you prefer to take up the desk in the bedroom. In any case, make it a point to respect each other’s personal spaces. Just because you live together doesn’t mean you can’t have alone time, especially after a long day at work.
The same goes for storage spaces. Avoid mixing your belongings to keep things organized and make mornings hassle-free. Otherwise, your closets can readily divulge into a chaos of each other’s clothes, shoes, and miscellaneous belongings.
3. Downsize your stuff
Fitting two people’s stuff in one small apartment is easier if you’re bringing less stuff to begin with. So before you move in together, make a deal with your SO to reduce the stuff that each of you is bringing. Marie Kondo-ing your stuff does not only make the move easier, but it also helps keep your apartment as clutter-free as possible after you settle in.
When you arrive at the apartment and find that you still have too much stuff, work with your partner to downsize your belongings even further.
4. Invest in space-saving furniture
Since space is already limited enough, avoid buying furniture that takes up too much of your available floor space. Instead, invest in furniture that provides the expected function and saves space in your apartment at the same time. Great examples of space-saving furniture include foldable desks, pull-out beds, and compact dining sets.
5. Spend time away from the apartment
It’s a good idea to go out of the apartment, especially if both of you have been spending too much time indoors. Take a walk, go to a local park, or watch a movie (but not necessarily together). If you have to work or study, consider doing it out of the apartment for a change of scenery.
6. Create a chore wheel
A common reason for quarrels is the division of housework, especially if both of you have full-time jobs. To keep things fair and as peaceful as possible, create a chore wheel that will help you take turns with the household tasks evenly. It might seem a little juvenile, but you’d be surprised at how quickly adults get used to having a set chore schedule in the house as opposed to doing chores based on whims.
However, if you and your SO have your preferred chores (or are better at specific tasks than the other person), create a list of who does what and when. Just make sure that both of you agree on the distribution of labor.
A lot of people say that moving in with your partner is the ultimate test of your relationship because that’s the time when you get to know who they are. So if you’re planning to move in with your SO, prepare yourself for the possible issues that might arise when sharing a small space with another person so that you can learn how to deal with them first hand.