The reception luncheon is over, all the wedding gifts are opened, and you and your spouse just got back from your two-week honeymoon on a tropical beach. Now is when the real adventure starts. The first year of marriage will be a challenge — you’ll have to find a way to blend differing expectations of house-related responsibilities — but it’ll also be a time to grow closer to your spouse as you build your home together. To give you a head start on making some happy memories, here are eight tips to help you manage the day-to-day dealings of home life as newlyweds.
Decide what style you want your home to be
Most newlyweds don’t have their home completely put together by the time they move in. Chances are, you’ll be adding new pieces of furniture over the next few months and years. To keep things unified, have a vision in mind of what you want your home to look like and share it with your spouse. Use pictures to help your partner really grasp your vision, and be open to incorporating elements that are important to them as well. Knowing what you both want (and deciding upon it together) can also help reduce the likelihood of any arguments occurring in IKEA!
Stay aware of your home’s security
Safety can go a long way toward making a house feel like a home, so take the time to verify that your residence is as secure as it can be. Check windows for vulnerability, make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and verify that your doors (and door locks) and sturdy and strong. When it comes to staying safe, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Don’t neglect basic home maintenance
Plenty of home maintenance procedures are very DIY-friendly, and staying on top of basic upkeep and inspections can minimize damage and costly repairs down the line. So examine your roof a couple of times per year, looking for damage in the form of curled, torn, or missing shingles. While you’ve got the ladder out, clean your gutters to avoid damaging overflows and trim tree limbs, at least, three feet away from your house to ensure they can’t cause damage during storms. If you ever feel out of your depth, don’t hesitate to contact a professional — a precautionary inspection will cost a lot less than an extensive restoration.
As with your home, preventative car maintenance will be easier to deal with than a pricey repair, so set a regular upkeep schedule. Change your car’s oil as needed — around 7,500 miles for synthetic oil — but don’t overdo it. You’ll also want to clean the battery terminals with baking soda every so often. Finally, try to keep your tires adequately inflated, as under-inflated tires can cost you more money in gas and will likely wear down faster.
Sign up for rewards programs
You don’t have to become an extreme couponer to be smart with money. Whether you’re buying gas, groceries, or home goods, many chain stores have rewards programs that provide nice discounts on a variety of purchases. For example, IKEA has its IKEA Family program, Target has its REDcard, and Home Depot has Pro Xtra, which is ideal for DIYers. Just a tiny bit of effort in this regard can make a big difference to your (potentially joint) bank account.
Research Internet and TV options
Your home’s Internet and cable bill are something you should feel in control of — you don’t want to be met with surprising overage charges or poor service. Find the best Internet providers and TV options available in your area, and make sure you pick a contract length that works for your future plans. Bundling your services might also work out cheaper for you.
Take care of your appliances
It’s easy to forget to clean areas that aren’t directly visible, but doing a little extra tidying around your appliances will do a lot to keep them running well. For example, vacuuming the exhaust duct of your dryer, wiping down the coils underneath your fridge, and changing the filters on your air conditioner can all lengthen your appliances’ lifespans and prevent any significant damage that would require replacement.
Understanding your spouse’s thoughts and needs is crucial to a happy marriage, so be open and honest about everything. Whether you’re making a home-related decision or a general life decision, it’s important to discuss things together. As you grew up in different homes, you’re probably each accustomed to a different way of living and running a home. Check your individual expectations where necessary, and set united goals for the future.
Remember, you don’t get to be a newlywed forever, so enjoy this exciting new stage of your life! Maintaining a home together can sometimes seem overwhelming, but being mindful and proactive of little things can limit stress and give you peace of mind. What were your favorite tips for the First year of Marriage?