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DC Moving Guide Relationships

10 Tips for Merging Households in DC

Young couple living together

You're finally ready to join forces, pool closet space and unite your bills, once and for all. Moving in together means you get to see each other's habits, and you learn what makes you tick. It also means taking that next, exciting step in the relationship that makes it all worth it. It's not always an easy transition so we've put together a few tips to consider when making the new transition.

Follow these 10 tips for living together and the only thing you'll need to figure out is who's going to take out the garbage.

1. Say It Up Front

Moving in together is a big step. The most important thing to do to prepare your move is opening up the line of communication. Talk about your expectations early on. If you're moving into a new-to-both-of-you place, what are your must-haves on the home search list and what could you give up? If you're moving into one of your existing homes, how do you plan to divide the space? What can be given away, cleaned out or put into storage ahead of time to make room? Which items do you both love and want to prioritize? What possessions will you integrate and what areas will be devoted to your discrete effects?

2. Safe Measures

You don't want to encounter last-minute surprises that will require you to leave beloved furniture on the curb. Be sure to take pictures of the new space and measure any areas where you plan to put sofas, shelving units or beds. Consider drawing up a floor plan to sketch in which pieces—from furniture to art—will go where. With this piece of moving advice, you can avoid future headaches on move-in day.

3. One Is Enough

If you've lived in your own place for any amount of time, you have your own set of household items, ranging from kitchenware to towels to TVs. Which of the duplicates will you keep? Discuss who has the better-quality, better-fitting, most-useful-for-your-life-together items. You can create a moving checklist along the way of items you may need to keep as well as items you may need to forego.

4. Try To Compromise

Yes, you love your grandmother's china collection—just as much as your partner loves their father's vintage magazine rack. Just know that some things are worth fighting for and other issues will require compromise. The end result is about living together with both individuals feeling that their needs are respected.

5. Be Real About Money

If this is the beginning of a lifetime together, there's no benefit in dancing around financial issues. How will you deal with money? What kind of debt are you bringing to the table, and how will this move affect your monthly budget? What expenses can be minimized or eliminated? What will you individually pay for and what will you cover together? Be generous with your partner but also practical—don't sign up for expenses you can't afford.

6. Keep Design Simple

Unless either of you is an interior designer, it can be a little tricky to blend two different styles. Our advice is to keep everything simple. Find the looks you can agree on, including some unifying colors to tie it together. If you can't find common ground, then agree to each pick spaces that you will decorate.

7. Be Creative

Often, the ability to fit everything in a limited space without it looking like a hodgepodge requires inventive solutions. Maybe that little bookshelf you kept in your office would work as a nightstand, or vice versa. A favorite chair can be painted or reupholstered to fit in to the color scheme. A trunk can become an end table with extra hidden storage space. If your new place doesn't offer a lot of square feet, then it becomes important to maximize storage by making furniture versatile.

8. Bring It Together

Figure out what you'll need to make the house truly feel like home. Plan to shop together for the throw blanket that will make the living room more comfortable or the rug that will marry the mid-century modern couch and the Shaker table. That way, each person feels like they had their say in making the place come together.

9. Store, Store, Store

If you're not ready to give away your doubles or no-longer-neededs, find self-storage near you and tuck them away—especially if you think this living situation could be temporary. Anything that you might save for a family member or a bigger home can go into a unit. Your seasonal or sentimental items that take up too much space can also be kept safe for the time being.

10. Let It Go

Inevitably, whether you're only one or both of you are moving, you will have to get rid of some personal possessions to make the new situation work. Feel good about decluttering and find a donation center near you so they can find a new home. The following are some resources in the D.C. area for donating your goods:

About the author

Elisa Ludwig

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