An estimated 18 million people live with their significant other in the United States. And while we all hope that those couples are happy and healthy in their homes, the truth is that a lot of them will break up before their first lease together is even over.
Breaking up is never easy, but it’s way more difficult when there are boxes to pack and items to split up. On top of that, there are a few other tricky logistics you’ll likely have to think through — even if you aren’t legally married.
Here is your ultimate guide to moving out after the break-up.
Before You Move Out, Minimize the Time You Spend Together in the Apartment
After you’ve said the words “I think we should see other people” or “this just isn’t going to work,” there’s not much you can do to turn back time. But just because the relationship is over doesn’t mean that either one of you has a place to actually go yet.
In this awkward in-between period, you should try to do as much as possible to minimize your time together in your apartment. If you have a two bedroom unit, set up a makeshift bedroom for one person (or have them set up camp on the couch) so that you’re not having to share a bed anymore.
Live in a cramped studio? You may want to ask a friend if you can crash on their couch or in their guest bedroom until you get things sorted out at home.
After work, spend time reading at coffee shops, having dinner with friends, and bonding with family to avoid feeling cooped up with your ex-partner.
Talk Over the Lease
Break-ups don’t often occur neatly when the lease is about to end, so the two of you will most likely need to sit down and figure out what you’ll each do in the meantime.
If you’re the one who’s moving out, you’ll find it best to either help your ex-partner find a new roommate who can cover your share of the rent or agree to keep paying it yourself until the lease is up.
Although it might feel easier to just walk away from the apartment with all of your stuff without having these conversations, you should do your best to respect each other in these moments. The last thing you want to do is leave your ex in a lurch with rent they can’t afford (and a resulting bad credit score).
Sort Your Things, but Don’t Be Greedy
After you’ve determined who is going to be moving out of the apartment, you’ll need to deal with one of the more difficult parts of breaking up: the sorting of stuff.
Depending on how long the two of you have been together, this can be a simple or seemingly impossible task, as you might not be able to remember who bought what and what is more important to who.
Before you start dividing things up, go through the apartment together and do a clean sweep of everything you’d like to donate, recycle, and throw away. That way one of you won’t end up stuck with all the useless junk neither of you ever made an effort to move.
After that, you’ll want to make a few piles of the remaining stuff: definitely yours, definitely theirs, and an undecided middle pile. It’s easy to be petty here, but you’ll find that the moving process runs smoother if you swallow your pride and relent when it seems like a particular item is important to them. Otherwise, you’re going to be arguing with each other until the moving truck arrives. Consider things like who bought the item, who uses it more, and whether or not the item is sentimental to either partner when completing this task.
Organize Separate Moving Days
If both of you are moving out, you should try your best to each pick a different day to do it. This will give everyone more space and personal comfort.
If only one person is moving out, the other partner should temporarily leave the apartment for the day. Staying home while their ex is moving will not only be emotionally difficult, but it will also be distracting. Make arrangements to go visit a friend or family member, or plan to be at the office while the moving truck is there.
Separate moving days will ensure a clean, healthy break-up without too many complications. The good news is that eventually, you will start to feel normal again in your new living situation, no matter what it might be.