Moving in together is an exercise in compromise. You might be selling two houses and buying a joint property, or one of you might be moving into the other’s house. Either way, the stuff that currently fits two houses probably won’t all fit in a single home. Some of it will have to go!
It’s human nature to get attached to our belongings, though, and you and your partner will both find it difficult to let some things go. So, here’s our guide on how to merge households with your new partner / family without ending up wishing you’d just stayed single!
1. Identify duplicate items
Unless one of you has been living in a furnished rental property, there will be items of furniture you both own. Between you, you’ll probably have at least two of the basic essentials like:
- dining tables,
- dining chairs, and
Both of you will probably also each have large kitchen appliances including:
- washing machines,
And then there are the small kitchen appliances, such as:
- pots and pans,
- crockery and cutlery sets.
There’ll be loads of other bits and bobs, like clothes horses, ironing boards, bedside tables and side tables. We haven’t even mentioned bedding and soft furnishings!
Make a list of what you both have, and then …
2. Decide what to do with the duplicate items
How do you decide what to do with duplicate belongings when you move in together? With some items, it might be obvious - one washing machine might be a relic from 20 years ago, whilst the other is brand new, so you might both be happy to keep the new one. With others, there might be a clash of opinions over which is better to keep - one sofa might look great and the other sofa might be battered but really comfy, and you both want to keep your favourite.
It’s important to incorporate belongings from both households so that it feels like you both live there together, rather than that one of you is just sleeping over a lot! That’s where compromise comes in - if you’ve decided to keep your sofa because it looks nice, then maybe you could keep your partner’s armchair even if the style is completely different to the rest of the room. Embrace eclectic decor!
When you’ve chosen what to furnish your house with, there are 2 options for dealing with the rest:
Option 1: Dispose of the spare items
There are plenty of ways to dispose of your furniture and electrical items without them going to landfill.
You could sell them and use the money to redecorate, or put the cash towards a holiday to look forward to. Secondhand furniture won’t fetch much money, but at least it will be out of the way, and hopefully the buyer will get plenty of use out of it.
If you don’t want the hassle of marketing and selling items (especially if they won’t make much money), you can donate your excess furniture to those who need it more. You’ll find that local charities and social hubs are crying out for spare bed frames, sofas and even white goods and other appliances. The British Heart Foundation, for instance, can collect larger items to sell in their stores, or you could phone smaller, local charities to ask what donations they will accept.
If your furniture isn’t in good enough condition to give away or sell, see what recycling facilities are available in your area. There’s a handy tool on the Recycle Now website to help you find the most convenient way to recycle your furniture and white goods locally.
Option 2: Store the spare items
At some point, the items you’ve chosen to keep in your shared home will wear out, break, or lose their aesthetic appeal. If you have sold, gifted or recycled your spare appliances or furniture, you will need to buy new or secondhand replacements.
If you have the space at home, or the option to use self storage for your duplicate household items, you’ll have an easily available store of replacement goods whenever you need them. You can build this into your decision of what items to keep.
Going back to the example of two washing machines - one old, one brand new - you might be tempted to keep the new one and recycle or sell the old one. Instead, consider storing the newer model (make sure it doesn’t have any water inside!) and continue to use the ‘relic’ for as long as it lasts. When it gives up the ghost, you can bring your new washing machine out of storage without the cost of having to buy another!
It’s important to keep your stored, spare furniture safe, clean and dry. If you store it in the cellar, or in the shed, it’s likely to become damaged over time. You could consider renting a self storage unit
to store your duplicate items as well as any extra items that you don’t have room to store now that there are two of you living there…
3. Deal with clutter
As well as furniture and other big items, you and your partner probably each own a lot of miscellaneous stuff. Things like out-of-season clothing, blankets, books, electronics, tools, garden furniture all take up storage space.
To make room for each other, you can again choose whether to dispose of your clutter (by selling it, gifting it or recycling it) or storing it in a way that leaves enough space for both of you to keep what you want to keep. That might involve storing items in vacuum bags to minimise their bulk, or installing furniture that doubles as storage space (such as lift-up ottoman base beds, or a headboard with incorporated shelves).
If you just don’t have the space at home to store everything you both want to keep, consider using a self storage unit for those items that you only use seasonally. For instance, you could store your Christmas decorations and bulky winter clothing during spring / summer / autumn, and your garden furniture, camping gear or sports equipment over autumn / winter. This will free up more space at home for the things you actually use, and make your home feel much more spacious.
4. Agree a fair division of household chores
It’s not just possessions that you need to think about merging - it’s your lifestyles and responsibilities, too. If you’ve both been self-sufficient before moving in together, you both know how to do everything - the washing up / loading the dishwasher, shopping, cooking, changing beds, cleaning, vacuuming. When you move in with your partner, you don’t have to do everything on your own anymore (one of the perks of moving in together!) but it’s important to ensure that both of you divide responsibilities fairly.
Perhaps one of you could agree to do the shopping and cooking whilst the other does the laundry and cleaning. Then make every effort to make the other person’s jobs as easy as possible - if your partner does the laundry, don’t leave your dirty clothes strewn on the floor! If they do the shopping, let them know when something needs replacing before it runs out.
Also, work out what works for both of you in terms of personal space and time alone or together. You both might still need some quiet time to pursue your own interests or just to watch whatever you fancy on TV. Spending time apart is as important as spending it together, and a conversation about expectations around this area early on will save a lot of heartache down the line.
5. Decorate the house together
This is particularly important if one of you is moving into the other’s house. If it’s your house, you’ll have decorated it when you were on your own or perhaps in a previous relationship - those colours and choices belong in your past. Choose colours and decor with your partner and make memories together.
Can self storage help when moving in together?
If you’re moving in and merging households, a self storage unit can be a great way to store excess belongings and/or duplicate items until you need them. You could use a self storage unit in the short-term, to keep everything safe and dry while you decorate and decide what to keep or dispose of. Or it can be used in the medium- to long-term to keep your home clutter free and always have a supply of spare furniture and appliances.
If you decide to rent a self storage unit, we have stores across the UK and you can rent one for as little or as long as you like.
For a no-obligation quote or help with deciding how much space you’d need
in your self storage unit, chat with one of our helpful team online, by phone or in store today. Our stores are open 7 days a week.