1. You need to have the “Messy does not equal dirty” conversation right away. Dirty is an unwashed toilet. Messy is a clean pair of pants slung over the chair because you don’t want to forget where they are when you get up for work tomorrow. They’re different.
2. You’re going to come off as a hoarder. Neat freaks are ruthless about what they keep around and will not understand why the old basketball t-shirt you haven’t worn in fifteen years still deserves a place in your overflowing wardrobe. Why is it so hard to understand that you might need to wear that… you know, somewhere… someday?
3. You have to teach them not to mess with your organized chaos. You can’t de-clutter the huge pile of makeup because then you’d never be able to find any of it.
4. It’s going to get passive aggressive. They’re going to ‘helpfully’ rearrange the whole apartment one day when you’re not home and you will ‘helpfully’ put it all back as soon as they leave.
5. You start hiding dishes, clothing or other various items that you just don’t feel like cleaning right away (Hint: A rarely used dishwasher is a great place to secretly hoard unwashed plates). You learn to look like you totally have your shit together even if your shit is, quite literally, still all over the place.
6. You both prefer sleeping at your respective places because to them, your place is cluttered and chaotic but to you, their place is eerily clean. It feels like a laboratory. Who wants to sleep in a laboratory?
7. ‘Moving in together’ will be the elephant in the room that looms over your relationship for years.
8. If you do eventually move in together, you’re going to have to make a few compromises. You know – like renting out a two-bedroom apartment so that one room can store all of your extra stuff.
9. The fridge becomes a minefield that you eventually just agree to never mention. So you eat things one to two days past their due date – so what? Everyone knows they don’t ACTUALLY expire on the listed date.
10. You have to find subtle excuses not to do your laundry together. If they learned about your tendency to wash white tank tops alongside purple socks they genuinely might leave you.
11. You also have to carefully explain laundry to them – Shirts get dirty after one or two wears. Pants get dirty once you’ve visibly spilled something on them. Bras pretty much never get dirty and anything that says, “Dry clean only” just gets worn until its time to throw it out.
12. To make or not to make the bed – that is the question. They don’t appreciate your reasoning of “But I’m going to nap later!” They extra don’t appreciate your reasoning of “Well I took a nap and now in like eight hours we’re going to go to bed, so…”
13. At some point they’re going to post a cleaning schedule in an attempt to be helpful and you’re going to “accidentally” clean it right off the fridge.
14. You start making healthy, reasonable adjustments because you’re a perfectly mature adult. Like you tell them you’ll stop doing anything dirty in bed because you know that they like everything clean.
15. You’ll eventually find a solution. Whether it’s one of you chilling out while the other tidies up or both of you pooling for a cleaning service – you’ll eventually find a way to make it work. It just may take a few minor blow-ups over wayward socks to get there. Your relationship will be a lot less messy for it.