Just Married? A Guide to Combining Your Belongings

The wedding was a blast, the honeymoon was pure bliss, but now comes the hard part: combining households. (Cue the horror movie music!) Merging homes can make the stress of wedding planning feel like a cakewalk, especially if you have a ton of stuff. Weeding through two sets of clothes, furniture, kitchen items, personal mementos, and more takes a lot of time and energy, and it’s normal for tense feelings and other strong emotions to crop up. After all, both you and your partner are likely used to having your houses decorated a certain way, so a little tension is totally normal when you move in together.

To help cut down on the stress that can arise when combining your belongings, check out the following tips:

Develop a plan

The process of turning two homes into one can be challenging and overwhelming, yes-but this is why you should have a plan in place before you even begin. What will your moving schedule look like? Can you both take time off work to move? How will you decorate each room? What do you need more of? Less of? Developing a plan (whatever that looks like for you) before you start combining everything is a proactive, effective way to reduce tension and keep things streamlined.

Weed through your own closets beforehand

One of the best, and most important, things you can do before combining your belongings with your partner’s is to go through your own closets first and figure out what you don’t want or need anymore, if anything. Which brings us to our next tip…

Two words: Reduce clutter

Cutting down on clutter is essential before combining your belongings with someone else’s. To help create and maintain order in your new home, be sure to sell, donate, or give away items that you no longer need or want. This is especially critical if you’re moving into a smaller space with less storage than your old home. Have a garage sale, take items to your local thrift store, sell items on Facebook Marketplace, or give away clothing and furniture to family and friends.

Get rid of duplicate items

When moving into a new place, the last thing you need is two sets of steak knives, two blenders, or two microwaves—sell or recycle any duplicate items so that you’re not left with a bunch of excess stuff in your new home. If you’re crunched for time, have someone haul everything away in one fell swoop.

Plan the layout of each room before the big move

No, you don’t have to plan out what you want each room to look like to a T (after all, decorating and designing your space is a big part of the fun once you’re actually living together!), but you should discuss where you want to put what before Moving Day. Take photos, make sketches, and do what you need to do to get a clear picture of the kind of home you want to live in.

Communicate honestly and thoughtfully 

It’s crucial to be respectful of one another and communicate honestly (and thoughtfully!) about what your expectations are for sharing a space. In addition, you should strive for positivity as much as possible, and try to have empathy for your partner when tense moments come up (this is almost inevitable when you’re making a home with someone new). For instance, if your partner wants to keep a piece of furniture that you hate, try to refrain from screaming, “I hate that!” Instead, open the floor for an honest conversation about why they like the piece—maybe it’s a family heirloom, something that’s been passed down for generations. Maybe they love the piece because it sparks joy and brings back good memories. Regardless, try to adopt a gentle, straightforward-yet-empathetic approach with your partner. A little effort in this case goes a long way, trust us.

Remember that it’s just stuff

Above all, especially if you get into a heated argument or someone’s feelings get hurt, it’s important to remember that it’s just stuff. Yes, people can get emotionally attached to their things, but in the end, keep your cool by remembering that objects are just objects—your love, and your life together, are what truly matter.

All it takes is a little love and (a lot of) patience…

The first year of marriage comes with a lot of new adventures. And making a new home from two existing households can seem like an impossible task, but all it takes is love, patience, and a commitment to organization to make it work. Before you move into together, be sure to develop and implement a plan, weed through your own closets beforehand, sell or donate any unwanted items, and communicate your feelings to one another in a healthy, thoughtful way throughout the process—thereby paving the way for a smooth transition and a happy home.

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