My boyfriend and I live together, and 90 percent of the time, it's a blast.
The other 10 percent, however, is spent fighting over who can have the extra storage closet space, why the mugs are on the bottom shelf when we use the cups on the top shelf the most and why he needs it to be 100 degrees inside all the time?
After two years, we're getting pretty close to being ideal roommates, but man, were there some bumps along the way.
If I could do the big move all over again, there is a lot I would have handled differently, and damn it if I can't use my writer powers for good and to help others steer clear of catastrophe.
Moving in together should be a joy, not a headache, so here are few tips and tricks that can help make it easier:
Identify your deal breakers.
BEFORE you move in together, decide what is most important to you in your home life, and then, compare and contrast notes.
If you aren't willing to cut down on your makeup collection but you ARE willing to eliminate some shoes, maybe trade off some closet space with your partner for an extra bathroom drawer.
Likewise, if it's really important to you to have a proper kitchen table or creative work space, for example, make that clear so together you can take that kind of real estate into consideration when assembling rooms or living areas.
These kinds of steps will ensure there aren't weird surprises or passive aggressive comments when the big move comes and you're lugging in a 4-foot Buddha statue you could have sworn you told your partner was the most important keepsake you own.
Consider what will make both of your lives easier.
When organizing your apartment, think about the flow of one another's days and prioritize what areas and things you will be using the most.
If one of you goes to work before the other, maybe it's important that your respective dressers are on the same side of the bed that you normally sleep on to ensure minimal disturbance while your partner snoozes.
Or if someone works from home late at night, make sure their desk and computer stay OUTSIDE of the bedroom.
Similarly, if you know you wash and dry your hair every single day, ask for a space where you can keep your blowdryer out and accessible, and see if he can move his collection of colognes he never wears to a bin beneath the sink (not speaking from experience or anything).
Small changes like this will save you both lots of time and unnecessary frustration, and ensure you aren't wrestling with someone's snowboard every time you take out the vacuum.
Don't knock their ideas until you try their ideas.
This was a big one for me. When my boyfriend and I moved in, we had very different ideas of how to arrange our furniture. However, after arguing and arguing and arguing, we just decided to "try out" both options.
Big plot twist: It was WAY easier to see what arrangement made the most sense after physically looking at it instead of causing a big to-do over how we imagined it would look in our brains.
Unless you're a professional designer, the average person needs to physically hang up a painting before they can imagine what it looks like on a wall. So take the time to test everything out before committing to something that doesn't work.
(Not that this matters, but my furniture arrangement ended up winning. BUT IT'S NOT ABOUT THAT!)
Have an honest conversation — with yourself — about what stays and what goes.
Before you even make the move, I IMPLORE you to go through your own belongings. If you find something you haven't used in years that you're keeping it "just in case you need it one day," toss it.
If you can get in the brave mindset of ditching your junk, you will not BELIEVE how much space you can create and how much you'll pare down your belongings.
If you're keeping it 'just in case you need it one day,' toss it.
Clothes that don't fit, have holes in them or you never find an occasion to wear it? Toss them.
Weird arrowhead collection you thought you might get into but never ended up finishing? Toss. That. Shit.
That being said, if something you don't see as necessary holds sentimental value to your partner, cut your losses and let them keep it. A big part of the what-stays-what-goes game is picking your battles.
This will also make for less disagreements when you move in, as you'll know for sure everything you're taking with you is necessary and not up for discussion.
Remember, you both live there now.
As much as I hate to admit it, my apartment is also my boyfriend's apartment.
That means I can't get away with leaving the toilet paper sitting on top of the roll because it annoys him, just like he can't get away with leaving his half-empty coffee mugs around because it annoys me.
Half of the trick of a successful living arrangement is identifying your own blind spots and trying to tackle them before they bother your living partner. The other half is all the cozy nesting and Netflix and chilling.
If you can accept that both of your comfort levels are just as important in this arrangement, you'll be way ahead of the game.
Sure, it might take practice, but luckily you have a constant reminder of your partners needs because, ya know, they live with you now.
I promise, most of the time, it's like having a slumber party with your best friend every single night of the week. But other times, it's FOR SURE wiping up another human's toothpaste slobber off your mirror.
So any time you miss having your own space, and you want to rip your partner's head off, remind yourself why you wanted to live with them in the first place.
Then, drink some wine and either let it go — or hash it out until you get what you want (but you didn't hear that tip from me).