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- From Two to One | Everything you need to know about combining households
From Two to One | Everything you need to know about combining households
“We basically had two of everything” my best friend Kelly explained to me when I asked her about her experience moving in with her now husband Chris. “We both lived on our own for several years before we moved in together, so naturally, we both had fully furnished apartments”. Kelly’s experience is typical of most folks who decide to move in together.
According a December 2017 article on the Hill.com, for over a decade, the United States has seen a trend of individuals choosing to delay marriage. A side effect of this behavior is an increased number of people choosing to live on their own. When individuals do decide to merge households, they are thrown into a world of duplicity and compromise. As we become more independent, the process of merging households has become unexpectedly complicated.
Combining households typically results in chaos and duplicates of everything. This is especially true if two established households become merged into one. What can you to do to ensure an smooth and Amazing transition?
So what can you do to make moving in together less stressful and more…Amazing?
Take Inventory of Items and Choose the Better of the Two
While moving in with my husband, I kept thinking about that famous scene from When Harry Met Sally. You know the one, where Jess and Marie are moving in together? Marie says, “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste,” as Jess keeps trying to push that wagon wheel table?!
This is also an excellent stage to remove any unnecessary clutter. It may seem overwhelming to do this to both of your homes, so try to break it down room by room. Surprisingly enough, the most complicated room will likely be your kitchen. With so many different gadgets, you’re likely to have an oversupply of everything. Remember, do you really need two sets of silverware, four sets of dishes, and all those hilariously cute coffee mugs. Remember the age-old advice: if it doesn’t give you joy, get rid of it. If you do happen to find a variety of items that may come in handy should you and your partner move into another space (for example, my husband and I needed to store some beautiful chairs for four years before we purchased a home that could fit them), then self-storage will be your best friend.
To make your life easier on this step, we’re working on creating an “Ultimate Moving In Together Checklist” for combining your homes. Some items, such as “Spices”, will definitely require more investigation beyond the checklist, but we hope this will be helpful to help you get started!
Design Your Home One Room at a Time
My friend and former co-worker Danielle is one of those people who has the gift of interior design. Her home is stunning, and I love seeing what she comes up with on her Instagram. If you’re like Danielle, merging styles is probably non-negotiable and likely deserves an upfront conversation about expectations.
If you and your significant other are like my husband and me (with have zero interior design skills), then you are probably well-positioned to learn what your tastes are and slowly combine your tastes together. Initially, this was quite the challenge for us when we first combined households. Since we moved in together right out of college, neither of us had enough home decorating experience to really know what we liked. Even more impactful was not having the funds to furnish our place as we imaged.
In fact, we didn’t have to worry about taking inventory of our household items because, quite frankly, we didn’t have much of anything. As time went on, we acclimated to understanding what both our tastes are and how we can combine them into our new home. It took several years for us to do this and our home still isn’t perfect, but we’re taking it day-by-day, one room at a time. In fact, just yesterday we decided to start painting our bedroom a bold, navy blue! It’s all new and exciting, and I’m so thankful we have the opportunity to do something like this together. We also learned that investing in home decor and furnishings is a game of patience. By taking it one room at a time, we are better able to budget for higher-quality pieces like these versatile furnishing options, that fit both our budget and style and have the added benefit of being long-lasting.
Have an open discussion what you expect from each other, particularly in the financial side of everything
I’ll admit, my timid nature made me skip out of this one when my hubs and I first moved in together. About three years into living together, we both had enough and had a very frank, but frustrated conversation. Save yourself from a potential blow up that may come from not having this conversation. It’s a necessary step to ensure a smooth combination of your household. This article about 5 Financial Do’s and Don’ts when Moving In Together outlines these important conversations and steps to take.
Spend some time apart and enjoy time for yourself
Your alone time has just been cut into a fraction. Have respect for yourself and those with whom you share your home. This can be a chaotic and stressful time, but just remember the most important part: you are now living a life filled with love, laughter, and many new adventures!
I think it’s very easy to get swept up in the romance of moving in together that you just want to be with your love bug 24/7 in your gorgeous new home. Enjoy this feeling while you can but know it’s perfectly normal to want to spend some time on your own and with your own group of friends. When you’re ready, make a conscious decision to spend some time apart from your significant other. Continue to grow yourself as the truly Amazing person you are!
Remember to compromise and that NOBODY is perfect!
Once you’ve settled in together, you may uncover not so stellar traits about each other. My husband is firmly against letting dishes soak in the sink, while I can’t stand it when socks are strewn around our living room. But at the end of the day, we focus on what matters most: living each moment together in the most Amazing fashion possible. Moving in together is less about the act itself and more about the millions of little and wonderful moments that transpire afterward. Take it all in and enjoy!