Moving in together with your significant other can be a big step for a couple, but you’re not alone in doing it. An analysis of a Stanford University study shows that 50% of average American couples move in together after a year of dating. That number increases to 70% after two years.

If you’re debating becoming a part of that statistic and need tips for moving in together, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a before-moving-in-together checklist with 10 tips to help you prepare for your new shared space.

This before moving in together checklist will break up the move-in process into two distinct phases: before you’ve picked out a place to live, and after you’ve made the decision.

Let’s start with the steps you can take before you start looking for a new place.

Before You Choose a Place: Communication and Preparation

You may be head over heels for your special someone, but moving in together can put any relationship to the test. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to communicate clearly and often before you start packing up your things. Avoid the temptation to move in together before you’re ready. Just because your lease is up or your partner had a fight with their roommate isn’t a good reason to move in together.

Sit down with your partner and discuss the progress of your relationship. Do you both feel comfortable moving in together? Is this something you both want? Be honest, and don’t just say what you think your partner wants to hear. 

If you have concerns, now is the time to voice them. For example, are you worried about losing your independence, or does your partner have habits that you might struggle to adjust to when living together? Working through relationship issues before you both put your name on a lease or mortgage is probably a good idea. 

Next, give yourself adequate time to prepare for the move. You’ll need time to find the right type of housing, figure out finances, pack your things, and continue growing your relationship. Moving in together is not something that should be rushed.

#1 Figure Out Your Finances

Financial troubles can tank even the strongest of relationships. Given that housing is often the largest expense for most couples, discussing your housing budget upfront is a must before you move in together.

First, figure out what you can afford to rent or buy together. Ideally, your housing costs will be no more than 30% of your shared income. Next, break down how much you’ll each contribute to your housing costs. Here are some important questions to ask before moving in together.

  • How much will each partner contribute to the rent or mortgage?
  • How will utilities be paid?
  • Will you buy groceries together or separately?
  • How will you pay for repairs or big ticket items, like new appliances?

There is no right or wrong answer here as long as both partners are comfortable with the arrangement. It may make sense to divide all costs down the middle or to proportion them based on income. The point is to develop a system you can stick to.

#2 Work Together to Find Housing

Once you have your budget, it’s time to discuss what kind of housing you want. This may seem like an easy answer if one partner is moving into another partner’s existing residence. Not so fast. You may still need to adapt the existing space to accommodate the partner’s living style, possessions, and habits.

If you are choosing a new space, determine your budget and then discuss what type of housing you want. Here are some more helpful questions to ask before moving in together.

  • Do you want to rent or own?
  • Do you want an apartment, condo, or house?
  • How many bedrooms and baths do you want?
  • Do you want to live in the city, suburbs, or a rural area?
  • What type of commute do you want?
  • Is there a specific part of town or neighborhood you want to live in?
  • Do you want/need to be close to parents, siblings, or family members?
  • Do you want or need a yard for pets?

Again, be vocal about your needs and respectful of your partner’s wishes. In most cases, you both won’t be able to get everything you want. Be ready to compromise. Focus on the highest priorities of each person and see if you can find something that checks your most important boxes. 


Once you’ve established a budget and zeroed in on the type of housing you want, it’s time to dig into the finer details of moving in together with your partner. Having an honest conversation around expectations is an excellent way to determine what living together will look like. After all, household chores, dirty dishes, and other household duties are likely the last things on your mind when moving in together. One of our favorite tips for moving in together is to make a list of duties and divide it up to ensure a fair workload for both of you. 

Household responsibilities could include:

  • Vacuuming or sweeping
  • Cleaning the bathrooms
  • Grocery shopping
  • Taking out the trash
  • Filing joint taxes

Most people will tell you they hate doing household chores, but you can usually find someone’s preferred tasks if you dig a little deeper. By splitting up housework and other responsibilities before you move in, you set clear boundaries around who is in charge of what.

#4 Try a Cohabitation Test Run

Before jumping into a lease together, you might consider taking cohabitation for a test drive. Try having your partner live with you for two or three weeks, or vice versa. Things like cooking together, cleaning up, and sharing a space are all good practices for the real thing.

Alternatively, take a two-week trip together. While traveling isn’t identical to living together, it can show you how your partner organizes, plans, and deals with stress—all good things to know before moving in!

#5 The Art of Compromise

Building a successful life together in a shared space is all about the art of compromise. You’ll need to figure out which furniture to bring, what colors to paint the walls, how to arrange the bedrooms, and what to do with that extra room. You’ll also need to compromise on your living habits. Maybe one partner leaves the dishes in the sink while the other wants them in the dishwasher pronto. One partner may listen to movies with the volume on loud while the other wants to read. 

Each day, you’ll need to communicate, learn what you can live with, and adapt to your partner’s needs when appropriate. 

After You’ve Made the Decision: Practical Steps

You and your partner are ready to move in together. Maybe you’ve even found your first starter apartment or home. Congratulations, now the real work begins. Moving is a huge stressor and can put your relationship into a pressure cooker if you don’t keep your lines of communication open and prepare properly. Here’s how to actually pull off the move while keeping your relationship as strong as ever. 

#6 Create a Master Inventory

One of the first things you can do as you prepare to move in together is make a list of your belongings. Seeing your stuff listed out makes it easier to decide what to pack with you, and what to move into storage. An inventory will also guarantee you don’t forget anything during the big move.

How specific you make your list is up to you and your partner, but it’s generally a good idea to note a brief description of each item and its value. Pictures may also come in handy. A catalog like this is especially useful for insurance purposes in case something is lost or damaged during the move.

#7 Coordinate and Downsize

Whether you’re moving into your partner’s place or looking for somewhere new together, you’ll likely have doubles of many things you simply don’t need. It pays to coordinate which of the duplicate items you’ll move into your new spot.  Some of these items may include:

  • Beds
  • Dressers
  • Couches
  • Tables
  • Appliances

Take stock of items like this, and decide which one you like better. For example, unless you have a guest bedroom in your new suite, you probably won’t need two beds. Decide which bed is most comfortable, and store the other one until you need it.

#8 Labeling Is Your Friend

Moving from a house to an apartment? During a move, your best friend is going to be a big black felt pen or a label maker (besides, who doesn’t love sticking those little labels everywhere?). You’ll want to label every box with its contents and destination. That way, when you’re bringing boxes into the house, you can place them where they need to go the first time, instead of moving them over and over again.

You might also want to label your things and your partner’s things separately to avoid confusion when unpacking.

#9 Pack as a Team

Not only will you be helping each other out by packing up together, but it can also be a lot of fun! Doing your packing together makes unpacking more efficient since you’ll both know what’s inside every box. You can also help each other decide which decorations will match your new place, and which ones can stay in the box.

#10 Self Storage: Your Space Solution

Moving two people’s stuff into one space might mean you need extra storage, especially if you have duplicate furniture or are trying to downsize. If you don’t want to purge your valued belongings, consider self-storage options. 

If your long-term goal is to start a family or move to a bigger home, you’ll likely have more space for those things in the future. Until that day, a self-storage unit can come in handy.

Here at Price Self Storage, we offer affordable storage units in varying sizes, such as a 5×5 or a 5×10 storage unit. Whatever your needs, we offer zero deposit, flexible leases, and even drive-up units. 

We hope our tips for moving in together were helpful. We recommend keeping this before moving in together checklist handy or sharing it with your partner when the topic of moving in together comes up. 

If, during the process, you find you need extra storage, look for your nearest Price Self Storage and put a no-obligation hold on your storage unit. 

Most importantly, congratulations! This is a monumental moment in your life, and we’re excited about your next adventure.



Quartz. How soon do couples usually move in together?

Stanford University. How Couples Meet and Stay Together 2017.