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Moving in together can be complicated. Let’s simplify the process. We compiled expert advice to help you decide when the time is right and wrote a handy checklist to keep you organized and on track.


Moving in together with your partner is a huge step in any relationship. Not only does it entail combining the possessions of two people into one home, but it also shines a light on aspects of your significant other that you may never have seen before. A little extra planning can go a long way in smoothing the transition. To prevent undue stress on yourself or your relationship, take the proper precautions to ensure you are prepared for this next step. This handy checklist for moving in together should help you get organized. Before reviewing the checklist, make sure you are ready by reading the things to consider.

Things to Consider Before Moving In Together, According to the Experts

We consulted relationship and financial experts to get some feedback on steps to take as a couple before cohabitating. The first and most important step it to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Discuss financial divisions and decide upon a budget that makes sense for both of you. While talking about money can be uncomfortable, putting your cards on the table will begin a dialogue and prevent confusion later down the line. This would also be a good time to clarify who is paying for what. You can divide responsibility by bill, or simply opt to split all expenses straight down the middle.

Do you know why they want to live with you? Whether purely for romance, partially financial, or because of a new job, the reasoning for cohabitation should be clear to both sides. Make sure this decision makes the most sense for you.

Dr. Galena Rhoades is a professor at the University of Denver who specializes in relationships and cohabitation. She emphasizes the importance of talking through expectations. Do they want to live in the heart of the city? Do you want to rent or buy? Are there any amenities you can’t live without? Make a list together of what you are looking for and narrow down location. While you are discussing expectations, this is a great opportunity to chat about chores like grocery shopping, taking out the trash and purchasing cleaning supplies. This will reveal more about lifestyle compatibility.

Marital financial expert, Pam Friedman, advises couples to have a frank discussion about the division of assets in the event of separation. Talking about splitting up before moving in may seem like a depressing topic, but experts recommend having a plan in place.

Moving In Together Checklist

Moving In Together Advice - When to Pack Boxes

Once you have discussed reasoning, finances and picked a budget and location, the fun stuff can begin! To make navigating the move easier, we created the checklist below and divided it up by time. If you live in a city where real estate moves fast or are on a limited timeframe, don’t fret. Simply customize this checklist to your needs.

3 Months Out

  • Decide where. Are you moving into a place where one of you already lives? If so, begin compromising on belongings and space. If not, start assessing how much space you need, what amenities you require and pick a budget.
  • Discuss who will pay for what. Know in advance how much each party is able to contribute financially and any bills they will be adding. Do you have an NFL or Bravo obsession? Will you need to buy gluten-free or organic food? Have these discussions well in advance of moving so you can save and plan accordingly.
  • Prepare your financial documents. Check your credit score. Gather bank statements, pay stubs, proof of employment and landlord reference letters. Having all of this documentation on hand will make rental applications easier.
  • Make a list of what you have, what you need and what you need to sell. Taking the time to write these tedious lists will save you time and money in the long run. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for this task. The more time you have to sell your items, the more money you are likely to make! Storage is always an option for the couch or armoire you can’t part with, but don’t have room for. If this is your first move on your own, review our comprehensive first apartment checklist to learn about the essentials.
  • Divide up responsibilities. The benefit of moving in with your partner is that you don’t have to sort it all out on your own! Decide who is best at what and disperse the stress a little.

1 Month Out

  • Lock down the lease. When this needs to happen depends on the real estate market in your community, but give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect place.
  • Take measurements. Measure both of your furniture items and the new home to make sure everything you have will fit. This also helps when planning additional purchases.
  • Rent a moving van or hire a mover. If you plan on moving yourself, make sure you have the tools to pull it off successfully. For those that live in apartment buildings, don’t forget to ensure you have access to the largest elevator. (And if you store with Life Storage, take advantage of our free moving truck!)
  • Buy plenty of boxes. Use the list you created of what you have to assess how many boxes you will need and then add a few extra. Not sure what kind of boxes you’ll need? Here’s everything you need to know about moving boxes.
  • Purchase bubble wrap and any other protective materials. If you have valuable art or delicate china, make sure you have the appropriate materials to move it safely. For more tips on that, check out our post “How to Pack Breakables for Moving.”
  • Take the day off. If you have the luxury of paid time off, do yourself a favor and use it for moving day.

1 Week Out

  • Transition all of your bills to your new home. To prevent having to live in the dark or without internet for a period of time, inform your service providers you are moving and make sure your partner does the same. Be sure to strategize whose name is on which bill.
  • Begin packing boxes as far in advance as you can. Be strategic when you are packing to avoid chaos once you start to unpack.
  • Label everything. Be as precise as possible in your labeling. As you will be combining the possessions of two people, this step is extra important.
  • Clear the fridge. Avoid grocery shopping too close to your move date by clearing your cabinets, freezer and fridge of any perishable goods.
  • Pack a personal suitcase. Packing a change of clothes and toiletries in case you don’t have time to get the essentials unpacked on moving day can be a lifesaver. You will be so grateful that you planned ahead and made your pajamas easy to access.
  • Alert the Postal Service of your new address. This allows mail to be forwarded to the proper place.

Moving Day

  • Wrap glass tables or large electronics in towels or sheets. Avoid damaging your possessions in the move by ensuring they are as protected as possible.
  • Keep each room’s boxes together. Make sure your living room items stay together and your bathroom items are all in the same place. This will expedite the unpacking process and makes emptying the moving van easier.

Preparing in advance and taking the future into consideration will help simplify the process of moving in together. While moving day can be stressful, your first months living with your loved one should be a blast. We hope you enjoy the new home you create together!

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About the Author

Taylor Poppmeier

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