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Living In A Shoe Box (Without Driving Each Other Nuts!)

If you've ever had a roommate, you'll know that living together with someone isn't the easiest adjustment; More so when you have barely enough space to swing a cat in! But what if that roommate is your married partner?

Get your newlywed life off to a happy start—here are some tips to keep your (and your partner’s) sanity intact when cohabiting in a tiny, shoebox apartment.

1. Communicate Your Expectations

As you move in and stay together, you’ll discover each other's little quirks and habits. Do you squeeze the toothpaste in the middle, or roll up the bottom? Are you used to living with a domestic helper? Do you keep things “just in case”, while he thinks you’re just hoarding? You're each used to your family's way of living or running a household, and it will take time and understanding to mesh those two styles together and form your own.

Ease into the process by communicating your expectations and discussing your habits, and you'll slowly but surely agree on a way of doing things.

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2. Don't Leave A Mess

One of the biggest complaints about living together in a tight space? Mess. A sight nobody wants to come home to after a long day at work, so plan ahead with smart storage solutions to keep your home tidy and welcoming. In a small space, clutter can make one feel almost claustrophobic, so think about incorporating clever solutions like built-in cabinets that streamline the space, multifunctional furniture or platform storage in your bedroom.

With adequate storage, your knick-knacks can be tucked away to create a calming, welcoming space.

3. Keep It Clean

Another major point of contention is cleanliness. You might have different standards of what constitutes a clean house, so it's best to discuss your expectations early on. How often do you need to sweep and mop the floors? How long can dishes sit in the sink? When do you do the laundry? Who does the laundry? Take the time to discuss how you will split the housework.

Tell each other which chores you prefer doing, and work out a schedule so no one ends up without work pants to wear on Monday. Don't let yourself resent your partner if you feel that he or she isn't cleaning the house enough. Speak to your partner and try to reach a compromise. Remember, you're a team!

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4. Design As a Team

It's all the more important to work as a team when designing your home. Be open about your preferred styles, and incorporate ideas from both parties. You can also choose to focus on the spaces that matter most to you; she designs the kitchen, while he gets free reign in the living room. Your interior designer will take into account both of your personalities and needs, and plan a space that suits your lifestyles.

With a space you love, you'll naturally want to keep it beautiful.

5. Discuss Big Items Before Buying Them

A new convection oven, or huge ergonomic chair? Don't make a big purchase without first consulting each other! Besides agreeing on what to add to your home, you should also discuss what to throw out. Before moving in, consider donating clothes you haven't worn in a year to charity, and getting rid of old knick-knacks and things you haven't touched a while.

De-cluttering helps keep your small space clean and beautiful, and avoids shouting matches when someone trips over clutter!

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6. Have Individual Spaces

Open plan living is a trend that works well in small spaces, but when you're knocking down those walls, don't forget to set aside individual spaces to enjoy your own personal time - you're still an individual who needs a little privacy and alone time once in a while!

A cosy indoor garden where she can escape for a quiet afternoon, or a separate gym room for his free weights and bench press can create private areas for each of you to relax and respect each other's need for personal space.

7. ...And Personal Storage Space

Individual spaces also extend to your personal storage areas. In the wardrobe, for example, get cubbyholes for your bags, a drawer for his watch collection, and everyone will be neater and happier. In the bathroom, a shelf for his razors, and perhaps a shelf for her stash of Korean beauty products.

With ideally equal dedicated areas – although we know how hard that might be – you won't be able to accuse your partner of eating into your space!

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8. Be Patient

Living together in such close quarters can amplify your partner's weird or annoying habits. It’s easy to get irritated or agitated, but a little patience and compromise goes a long way. She doesn't see why the dishes can't want till after watching some television? Fine, but he draws the line at them staying in the sink overnight. He presses snooze for an hour while you lie awake glaring at him? Tell him to turn the alarm down, or set it for later.

Seeing yourselves as a unit, being patient, and practicing selflessness are great ways to build a stronger marriage, and if your small space aggravates those irritating habits, well, it only gives you more chances to love each other selflessly!

9. Respect Each Other's Schedules

Talk about how each of you uses the space at different times of the day. If one person gets up much earlier, consider putting in a dimmer bathroom light or a separate walk-in wardrobe so you can get dressed without waking your partner. Someone prefers to stay up late practicing their music? Get your interior designer to plan a soundproof music room. When designing your home, think about your schedule and be considerate.

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10. Eat, Drink, and Be Married

Cooking together and having a meal at the dining table is surely one of the hallmarks of starting your own household, and can be a great way to bring the two of you closer together. And in a beautiful kitchen, discovering new recipes together is even more pleasant.

Enjoy each other’s company and find beauty in even the simplest activities of daily life – after all, it’s the small things in life that matter. Cheers!

This article was written in collaboration with SingaporeBrides, a one-stop portal that caters to the needs of wedding couples with a comprehensive vendor directory, as well as articles and guides on wedding planning and post-wedding relationships.

All images were contributed by SingaporeBrides. Feature image by Smittenpixels Photography.

Moving in together?

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