Congrats! You’ve found that special someone with whom you’re ready to share your life (and your closet space!). But that can be easier said than done.
Let’s talk logistics. Newlywed cohabitation brings new experiences, new responsibilities, and most noticeably, a seemingly exponential amount of new ‘stuff’ into your home. Whether its your partner’s sporting equipment, or craft supplies, or simply new gifts from a bridal shower or your wedding registry, it’s suddenly going to seem like a lot of…well, Stuff. These new living circumstances are both exciting and stressful, but setting expectations beforehand will go a long way. I’m sharing four tips for mitigating the tension behind this transition, and making the move to co-habitating newlyweds as smooth as possible.
Tip #1: Get rid of it.
Moving in with another person is a great opportunity to seriously assess what you own. No more hiding unexplained items in boxes in the back of the closet! If you don’t know why you own it, and can’t explain its purpose to your partner, chances are you don’t need it anymore. Now is the perfect time to cut back and get rid of the old clutter. After all, you’re kicking off an exciting new chapter with your partner and don’t want to bring unnecessary baggage, right? Start by asking yourself these questions about each item you own: Do you need it? Love it? Use it? If you answer ‘no’ to the questions above, I suggest removing it from your living space. Try not to get caught up in the perceived value of the object. Instead, focus on the true value it brings to your new life together.
Tip #2: Focus on your stuff first.
Sentimental items are a category that both you and your partner should tackle individually. Start by asking yourself why you are holding on to each particular memento — your grandmother’s rocking chair, your high school yearbook, that bridesmaid dress you wore to your sister’s wedding ten years ago. Focus on sorting *your* sentimental items first, and don’t nitpick your partner’s decisions on what to keep vs. toss. Sentimental items are deeply personal and the ultimate decision lies with the original owner — the last thing you want is for these keepsakes to come between you and your partner. Communicating as you go and respecting one another’s space will go a long way in making the transition a peaceful one.
Tip #3: Take inventory of what you own, then fill in the gaps.
Now that you’ve sorted through your own stuff, it’s time to make a list. Consider what you both own already before starting a registry. This is a wonderful opportunity to ask for new kitchen knives and that hibachi grill, but consider how you will use them and if they are practical.
Walk through each room together, and take notes. If you’re combining homes, be sure to walk through each original home together so you both understand what items are coming into the mix.
Be mindful of duplicates. You may already own similar kitchen staples – for example, a set of dishes. Do you have room to store three potential sets of dishes (yours, your partner’s, and the new ones from your registry!)? If not, I strongly recommend considering donating one or both of the old sets — think of your wedding registry as a means of upgrading, not creating backstock.
Tip #4: Storage is rarely a sound long-term solution.
Don’t be tempted to remedy the shift in space by tossing everything into a storage unit: it’s most likely just going to sit there unused and untouched, wasting space. Renting storage is a great solution for short-term spacial challenges; just be sure to have an end date in mind with a solid exit plan.
Written by Josie Floyd, founder of Superfine Home, a home and life organizing service based in Seattle + Brooklyn, available anywhere. Follow Josie on Instagram for daily inspiration on how to achieve simplicity and find peace of mind.
Illustrations by Rachael Abrams.