Moving In Together: How to Bring Two Households Together with Ease

By Liz Shaw
Special to

He's a big fan of Mickey Mouse mugs -- so much so that he's got 500 of them. She's enamored with a orange loveseat that she's had since her junior year of high school. However, they're moving in together and just don't have the space - not to mention the same tastes that their partner has. Some of these treasured items will have to go.

It's a situation familiar to most couples. The circumstances will vary, but whether you are a young couple moving into their first house -- accepting any furniture you can get your hands on -- or you're a little more established and trying to fit two households' worth of belongings into one, you face a common challenge of merging two lives and sometimes two differently interests.

Decide What Should Go.
As exciting as moving in together is it is also about compromise - not only about who gets to hold the remote control but about what should be in your place. Discuss with your partner about what items you really want to stay. If they don't agree, consider placing them into storage or downscaling your 'must-have' items.

Yes, Please, We'll Take It!
If you're just starting out on your own, family and friends might be happy to give you their old stuff. One man's junk can be another man's treasure, right?

When Mike Adago and his fiancee, Steph, were preparing to move into their first home together, their strategy was to accept everything offered to them. Neither of them had lived on their own before, so they didn't have a lot of stuff.

Adago collected items given to them for the new house in his parents' basement, which made it difficult to keep track of exactly what they had. He found it easier to sort through what they needed once they moved into their house.

When moving day came, Adago recruited friends and family to help out. "Steph told the movers which rooms the furniture went in. They were instructed to bring all tools into the basement and all other boxes were to go into the den for Steph and me to sort out later," says Adago." It took us about two to three weeks to go through everything to determine what we would keep."

In the end, anything they didn't keep went back into circulation among friends. They also decided to do donate some items and could have even sold them if they invested the time to do so. Other than living with each others stuff one of the most significant aspects of combining households is combining finances. "Instead of trying to figure out who paid for what, we pooled our money together so we could just write checks," says Adago. "There is no more my money, her money; it is our money."

Purchase Items Together.
Whether if it's a new apartment or you have enough stuff, consider purchasing a few items together. These new items will be your belongings together and can be items that you build over time as your life together grows. Great first-time items include wine glasses, plates, a new TV or a new couch.

Of course combining items is an important issue to consider when moving in together. But another equally important one is to consider the intricacies of living together such as paying utility bills, possible home-improvement costs, and a mortgage or rent to pay. When combining households, you need to discuss and agree on how you will handle these payments ahead of time to avoid any headaches after moving.

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