How to Merge … Your Stuff
It’s a lot harder for one person to move into another person’s well-established living space than it is for a new couple to move into a new place together. But regardless of your situation, there are a few things to keep in mind that can make any transition a little smoother. Making a room-by-room furniture plan before you begin, and deciding what — of whose — you’re going to keep and what works best where, is a good place to start. “Planning will make moving in together a lot easier,” says founder of West Chester-based Organizers Inc., Susan Sabo. “Get a trusted outside person to help make decisions. It helps take the fight out of it.” A friend or family member can neutrally help you decide what to keep and what to get rid of — and steer you both clear of making overly emotional personal attacks on each other’s sacred belongings. And mapping out a space, Sabo says, should include tackling classic moving-in arguments, like who gets what closet space.
Her other easier-said-than-done suggestion: Edit ruthlessly. It’s super-easy to quickly fill up the space you have, whether it’s a five-bedroom McMansion or a two-room loft. “You don’t need two sets of pots and pans,” says Sabo (who suggests recycling, reusing or repurposing extra goods). And you don’t want to waste time fighting about whose toaster is the keeper — just pick one and move on. But when it comes to making choices about the big stuff (painting the house, window treatments, carpeting), relax, and don’t rush any major decisions. “When you move in together, start developing a plan, but wait a year before you execute it,” suggests Sabo. After all, you might wind up liking those curtains of his you first thought were hideous.
But while you’re figuring out how to blissfully mesh your stuff together, “It’s important to make sure you each have your own space that’s a no-war zone,” says Sabo. Maybe he can claim the basement as his man-cave, while you turn that third bedroom into your girly closet-overflow/office space. And then you each leave the other alone. “Whatever he does in his space — even if he wants to have a ping-pong table — is none of your business.”