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The Ultimate Survival Guide For Moving In Together

The Ultimate Survival Guide For Moving In Together

Moving in together is a huge step for any relationship, so before you take it you must consider several key things. Then, when the time comes and it feels right, here’s a survival guide you can use to make the transition as easy as possible!

Lifestyle writer Sophie Osborne takes a look at how to survive moving in with your other half. What seems like the easiest decision in the world can often lead to arguments over the most trivial of things; power struggles ensue over where to rent, different paint shades, or who should pay what. Using our handy interactive tools, you can work out what suits you both and avoid falling into traps that could test the strength of your relationship. With expert tips, real life examples, and some fun advice along the way, discover how to move in, without falling out.

Should We Move In Together

So, you’re in love and you enjoy each other’s company? Maybe you’re starting to think about a future under a shared roof? Living together is a big, and let’s face it scary, deal. It’s natural to feel intimidated by the challenges.

Our Story

Like many couples, our path to finding and feathering our love nest wasn’t traditional. A whirlwind of all consuming L.O.V.E, stolen sleepovers and heady ‘honeymoon’ getaways. We quickly made the jump of living together but it wasn’t long before reality bit.
We moved to the Big Smoke, started new jobs and had to completely adapt our lifestyles at the same time. Our new habitat was a box room in an overpriced grotty flat-share with (ex) friends. It wasn’t a case of finding ‘the one’ for us. We’d trusted our housemate to find our home. Big mistake.
Surviving those humble, at times horrific, beginnings laid the foundations of our life together. We still laugh about the permanently sticky floors. The sink that bruised your knee each time you visited the loo. Picture a squat and you’re getting close. It sounds cheesy but we had everything we needed in that room: each other.
Since then we’ve experienced the (tears of) joy in renting our first solo apartment, the awkwardness of having to stay at the folks’, buying then selling our first property and moving again to our current home.

Knowing You’re Ready

Sometimes the merge can be gradual. An emergency pair of pants and a spare toothbrush often becomes a dedicated drawer. Sleepovers and spare keys become the norm. You might feel like you are simulating a home situation but making the change from ‘back to mine’ to ‘back to ours’ is worth careful consideration.
Every couple is unique, but what stage should you be at to know you’re ready to live together? Honest communication is key. Have you shared your goals and been clear about your expectations for the future?
It’s inevitable that moving in together will change things. Bear in mind best behaviours will soon fade to reveal odd habits. Romance gives way to routine. Be vocal if you have deal breakers at this point – maybe it’s time to reduce that record collection or edit your wardrobe?

Couples Mediator and Relationship Expert Debra Macleod recommends asking yourselves the following questions:

– Why are we moving in together?

– What is our goal?

– Is our cohabitation meant to be temporary or permanent?

– How will we handle housework?

Couples often have different reasons for living together – one partner may simply want to save money on rent. These kinds of assumptions can sink a couple’s chances for cohabiting success before they’ve even left the shore

Of course it may seem easier and cheaper when you’re spending so much time together to just move in but convenience should be a bonus. If you’re making the leap because it’s the ‘done’ thing then reconsider – you should want to live together. Trust your instincts; it should feel like a comfortable step rather than a risky leap.Moving in together is something that’s easy to do out of convenience. It makes it easier to spend time together, and it’s often a lot cheaper than living on one’s own. Many couples are not interested in marriage, which is fine; however, partners must be on the same page about this so that there are no conflicting expectations – Samantha Joel, MA

Looking For A House

Prepare

Congratulations if this is the stage you’re at. Not wanting to burst your blissful bubble, but finances have to come first. Money is a common cause of relationship problems so it’s crucial to get this right from the outset. There’s no avoiding these sensitive conversations to decide how you’re going to handle bills and costs. Bite the bullet, make budget plans and stick to them.

How are our expenses to be sorted out? Don’t assume that one partner paying rent and other paying bills will work out to be fair. You will also have to account for your different incomes: a 50/50 split may be not doable – Debra Macleod, Relationship Expert

You’ll also need to take into account any existing debts, organise insurance and individual security. Setting up a ‘Cohabitation Agreement’ as a record of ownership and responsibility ensures that neither of you lose out financially should you separate. Setting up automatic bill payments in advance will also save any issues later on.

It’s much harder to break up when you live together than when you don’t. You don’t want to end up continuing to date someone who isn’t actually a good match for you, just because you don’t want to have to split up your stuff, move out, etc. – Samantha Joel, M.A.

For more information about cohabitation agreements, you can check out advicenow.org

Search

Search engines, handy mobile apps and useful tailored tools make property research simpler. It will soon become clear that it’s not just about ‘location, location, location’. The best way to agree on what to compromise on is by identifying your priorities. A simple way to do this is creating a ‘needs vs wants’ list – do this alone first and then create your joint criteria to refine your search.

Designing the House

When you move your thoughts may soon turn from undressing each other to dressing your space. It’s fun and savvy to start to visualising your interior early on.

Inspire

Get creativity flowing by using imagery to help define your style. Be open to where you source inspiration – why not take a trip to an exhibition or design museum? Perhaps your favourite little café or store has details you can integrate? Books, magazines and Pinterest can be used for creating mood boards and MADExUnboxed is perfect for taking a sneak peek into real homes.

Collaborate

Decoration can be something enjoyed together regardless of DIY skills. Establish mutual sense of ownership, share ideas and take interest in each other’s desires; get excited about making a home together. Harmony takes teamwork but you’re bound to disagree. If you can’t agree then let a game of ‘rock, paper, scissor’ decide.

Personalise

You may have very different (or even bizarre) individual tastes but this can result in some of the most creative and interesting design. By mixing and matching pieces, blending styles and eras you’ll create an environment unique to you as a couple. A well-loved home will tell your story through memories and mementoes. Art, photographs and accessories are a great way to do this and add interest.

Make sure there is at least one element in each room that really represents each of you separately – these don’t have to be huge pieces, perhaps a small accessory or piece of wall art. Then work together to purchase or find the larger statement pieces. This way, your room is largely about the two of you together but still combines elements of your distinct personalities.
– Alessandra Wood, Design Historian

Plan

Shopping can, and should be enjoyable – the secret is in the planning. Establish what you’re working with by using a floor plan and taking measurements (this bit is important). Set budgets to keep you on track, allowing for a few luxuries. It helps to prioritise which areas need immediate attention and which can wait.

Optimise

Regardless of budget, space is often the biggest luxury and cause of conflict. Clever storage hides a multitude of nick-nacks and consider multi-functional pieces and multi usage of rooms.

Living In Harmony

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your cosy life together, but don’t confuse comfort with complacency. Share lazy weekends eating takeout in your pyjamas but don’t let that become the daily routine. Try to focus on being a partner first then a roommate and you’ll be certain to keep that spark.Appreciate that it won’t always be exciting but there should always be excitement. Create traditions, organise date nights, shake up your routines and try new things together – it could be as simple as trying a new recipe or switching off the TV to have a dance to your favourite tunes.Research suggests that the key to maintaining the “spark” in long-term relationships is to continue to do new, exciting things together. Break the routine by doing something that’s a little out of your comfort zone. – Samantha Joel, M.A.Allocate dedicated chores based on preference but make changes to your responsibilities whenever possible to keep it enjoyable. Personal space is essential – just because you live together don’t feel like you need to spend 24/7 together. If space is an issue then simply request some – whether it’s a long soak in the tub or a quiet spot to read in, everyone needs a private sanctuary.Respect and support each other as individuals making time for separate social activities and hobbies but demonstrate interest. Maintaining a joint social life having friends that you see regularly is a great way to have fun as a couple. Open up your home to entertain guests.Keep your environment fresh with seasonal updates and new accessories. Rotate furniture layouts (aka ‘musical chairs’) and reconsider details; small changes make a big difference.

Design Historian Alessandra Wood recommends:

– Layer lighting so you can control the atmosphere and mood of your space. Perhaps you’d like a romantic dinner or bright lights under which to play a game. Use a mixture of overhead lighting, lamps, and task lighting to create innumerable atmospheres to strike a mood within your space

– Don’t be afraid to indulge in a few special luxuries that will make your home feel like a fancy spa. Great towels and sheets, fluffy blankets and throws, and plush rugs will make your home feel like a paradise. When you love where you live and all the things inside, it makes living with another person much easier!”

It takes a certain level of patience and emotional understanding to maintain harmony. Need to talk? Get out of the house; as much as you love your space, nothing beats getting out of those four walls to reconnect, keeping home sweet home.

About The Author:

Sophie Osborne: Freelance Writer /  ‘s Editor Intern 2013 / Magazine Addict / Mama to be.

A Survival Guide For Couples About To Move In Together | Made

Featured photo credit: Retro Chair in an Old Pub via picjumbo.com

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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