Moving in with your significant other can be a weighty next step in your relationship (or one taken lightly to save on rent), but no matter how seriously you take it, it's going to affect how you work in the kitchen. If you were living solo before, it could be a bit of a shock to the system to share this busy space with another being. And even if you're used to roommates, it's a totally different animal to share the kitchen with someone you love romantically.
When my now-husband and I moved in with each other, our kitchen was so small that we literally couldn't fit in there at the same time, which lead to quite a few discussions about logistics at dinnertime!
Here's what changes in your kitchen when you move in with a significant other.
1. Your gear becomes redundant.
Most likely, moving in together means you have double stuff — and that someone's quirky dishes or well-loved saucepan is suddenly an eyesore. Sorting through your cookware and deciding what continues to live in your kitchen can be a bit of a process; you might have to do some letting go of your former self to make space for that new person.
2. You have to learn a new system.
Wait, you store spices where? Whether it's the "right" way to load the dishwasher or that cups must go rim up or rim down, some of the rules you both took for granted will suddenly be challenged. Instead of nitpicking your partner, try to talk it through to figure out a mutually agreeable system.
3. You'll have to tweak your cleaning habits.
Inevitably, you will have different ideas of what "clean" is, so anticipate a lot of discussions on the subject. Even if you magically have equal ideas of cleanliness, you may have different ideas of when and how the kitchen should get clean (Saturday morning sessions? Sunday night? A weekly housekeeper?). This might be worth a discussion when you first move in.
4. Your sad dinner becomes a treat.
You may be fine eating cereal or a bowl of ramen for dinner, but when you're cooking for two, it's hard to serve those up as a meal. When you're cooking proper dinner most nights, however, those easy backup dinners become meals to savor on the sofa when your significant other is out of the apartment.
5. You'll learn all-new recipes.
Naturally, each of you will come to the (kitchen) table with some default recipes and meals. Over time, you'll figure out which ones you both like and will have a whole new arsenal of go-to meals that you'll eat as a couple.
6. Your morning routine changes.
You may be used to popping into the kitchen to chug coffee before your commute — but all of a sudden, someone's literally standing in your way. You may find that you need a bigger French press, more cereal bowls, or to get up five minutes earlier to make eggs before your significant other wanders into the room.
While all of these things can seem like inconveniences, for many people, the kitchen is the first place where you truly practice sharing, having conversations about your needs and schedules, and learning to physically navigate your space together without driving each other nuts. Learning to gently remind your significant other about the "right" way to do stuff — or, you know, just letting it go — in this relatively low-stakes place can prepare you to have those bigger future conversations about finances, family, and more.
How did your kitchen change when you moved in with a significant other?