So you’ve taken the big step and decided to move in together. Congratulations! There’s a lot to be said for shacking up with your significant other. Financially, it makes sense to share rent and grocery expenses; emotionally, it means you two are committing to each other, and physically, there’s a likelihood of more intimacy.

However, there are a few areas that could pose potential problems if you’re not alert before, during, even after your shift. Know before you go:

1. Take A Good Look At Your Stuff
Even while you two are scouring the land for a suitable space to live together, spend some time going through your stuff, and decide what you’re going to sell, donate, keep and toss. Lists help a great deal; compare each other’s lists, so you can choose items based on their value and the space they will occupy. If you put off this task and just squeeze all your stuff together, you may suffer from a cramped living space. This is also a good exercise to get rid of the sentimental junk you’ve been harboring for years.

2. Have The Money Talk–Now
Don’t wait to discuss finances, no matter how icky it may seem. Most couples fight about money, regardless of how long they’ve been together. Confer about basics: whose name is going to be on the lease, whether the rent will be split 50-50, who will pay for what utilities, and whether you will be establishing a joint checking account that you both pay into. It’s difficult to say the unthinkable, but speak up now about what happens in the event of a breakup: from puppies to property, it helps to know who will get what.

3. Set The Ground Rules
So far, it’s been all about equality. So far. Sharing the chores is important because it means there’s no room for misunderstandings or resentment to eat away at the foundation of your relationship. Moving in together means you have to learn to adapt to each other’s living styles, and whether your significant other displays OCD-like neat freak behavior or is a messy monster, it may be difficult to adjust to their traits. Although separate bathrooms and closets are ideal, it’s more likely you will have to share common spaces. From toilet-seat etiquette to storage dilemmas, resist the urge to get territorial, and discuss what’s acceptable and what’s non-negotiable.

4. Create A Safe Zone
At first, there will be a tendency to want to do everything together. While that is wonderful and you should enjoy it, be aware that it’s not going to last. And it shouldn’t, either. Respecting your individual needs is important to maintain your sanity and will even contribute towards a healthier relationship. To do this, decide how you’re going to retain some semblance of your singular identity by building a private retreat. It could be a man-cave, work space, library or den which is solely yours and detached garages, attics or a spare bedroom are ideal for this. Alternatively, if you don’t have a free designated space, create schedules when you can be alone every now and then, free to watch mindless TV, or soak in the tub without being interrupted.

Living together can be a blissful experience that will bring you closer. Set the basics right, at the very beginning, for a smooth transition into the new phase of your life.

Read More:
Overcome Fear With Love
To Share Or Not To Share: How Much Is Too Much?
5 Quick & Romantic Dates For The Lazy Couple

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.