Moving in with your partner is such an exciting step. You’re going to go to wake up each morning next to the one you love, spend quality time together and…..PLEASE TELL ME THAT’S NOT A SURFBOARD?! Ah yes, and you’re going to combine two households’ possessions into one.
It’s amazing how high emotions can run when it comes to physical possessions. This is particularly the case if one of you is moving into the other’s home. To avoid this, it is crucial to declutter and reduce your possessions before you move in together. Here are some top tips to help you sort through all the stuff and pare it down. If you need more reasons to declutter read my blog post: 5 LIFE-CHANGING BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING
1. Choose your non-negotiables before moving
This does not mean everything! Try to really evaluate which of the items you own fall into this category. If you are struggling, here are some tips:
- Limit by number: you could each limit yourself to bring e.g. 10 items into the shared space without judgement by the other.
- Feelings: evaluate whether the item actually makes you feel happy or are you hanging on to it because of guilt, sadness or another negative emotion?
- Practicality: ask yourself whether you actually need it and whether you will use it?
- Size: Does it fit the space you are moving into? If some of your non-negotiables are large items requiring a lot of space, have a conversation about where they will go and if it is really realistic to keep them!
# Beware – you should each have a roughly equal amount when it comes to “must-haves”!
2. Let go of duplicates
If you’ve both had your own homes prior to moving in together, you are likely to have many of the same items. Depending on the space you have, a lot of these items will need to go.
Sit down together and make a list of duplicates and then decide which ones you will keep and which ones will be resold, recycled or donated. If you can both agree on which ones to keep – fantastic! If not, here are some hints for how to make those decisions:
- Size: Bigger might be better in some scenarios (especially in the case of a shared bed), but consider the space you will be living in and what items will fit best. Take photos, get measurements of the space and you can even draw out a rough floor plan to visualise where big pieces of furniture will go.
- Condition: Is one of the two items worse for wear or in need of a repair? If so, time to let it go!
- Quality: Is one of the options of a much higher quality than the other, and expected to last longer? Pick the better crockery or bed linen.
- Décor: which one will go better with the décor in your new living space?
# Beware – don’t keep an item “just in case” e.g. the second kettle in case the other kettle breaks or stops working.
3. Purge your clothes
Wardrobe space tends to cause the most friction when combining households but all is not lost! This is a great time to let go of wardrobe rage and really reduce your clothes to those you love and look good in. Try to:
- Plan ahead of time: if you can, work out how much space you each will have in wardrobes / chests of drawers. It makes things easier if you can have separate sections for “his” and
“hers” e.g. two drawers each in the chest of drawers or half of the wardrobe each.
- Make 3 piles: “keep,” “give away,” and “not sure” and go back to “not sure” at the end of the process.
- Ask 3 questions when picking up each item of clothing:
- Does it make you feel happy (or “spark joy” as Marie Kondo says!)
- Have you worn it in the last year?
- Does it fit and flatter you?
If the answer is yes to all of the above it’s a keeper but be honest with yourself!
4. Play nice!
If love could conquer clutter that would solve a lot of problems but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that! Living together is all about compromise so have this at the forefront of your mind during this process. Try to view this as an opportunity to let go of what you don’t need, use or want.
Remind yourself that you are creating a home with another person. Instead of seeing it as “mine” or “theirs,” start to think about “ours.”
We all have different sensibilities when it comes to clutter. Some people can cope with more, others need a lot less. You need to compromise to find a happy medium so that you both aren’t driven mad! Try to be open-minded about the end result. It may not look exactly as you envisaged it but with a bit of careful planning, you will have created a space which you both enjoy!
A really positive approach is to take it in turns to name an item of the other’s which you really love. For example, if you realise you both love the blue sofa then it stays. If you really can’t agree at all on certain items, here’s some tips:
- Tit for Tat: you get one, they get one. Job done.
- Re-style: can you reinvent the object with a dash of paint, re-upholstery or a bit of DIY carpentry so that you both love it?
- Buy new: if you just can’t compromise, there’s no shame in selling the item and buying a new one which you can both agree on. You never know, seeing the cost of what it costs to buy new may put things in perspective!
# Beware – if you both love an item but it won’t fit in the space you will be living in then it’s time to say goodbye to it
Be patient with yourself and your partner and don’t let your stuff put a dampener on what is a wonderful life milestone!
If you need help decluttering or organising your possessions before or after a move, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07379 417676 as I’d love to help!