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Tuesday, April 17 2012

Has your living situation changed recently?  Have you decided that you and your significant other should now be living together?  Congratulations!  It can be a very excited time; the prospect of a new life together.  However, it can bring challenges.  One of them being blending two people (or families) into one. 

I get contacted quite often as a professional organizer by people who have recently married or moved in together and are now struggling with trying to fit two households into one.  We all know, we can't keep everything we own and still have room for someone else.  It takes compromise, a concept we become so familiar with when in a relationship. 

Perhaps it's you who is moving into your partner's home; perhaps your partner is moving in with you.  Perhaps you are both moving into a new home together.  Just how do we make it all work? 

Communication is key.  You need to discuss what is going to stay and what is going to go.  You cannot expect that one person is to give up everything in order to move into the other person's home.  It requires "blended organization".  

You might have double the furniture - two bedroom sets, two living room sets, two dining room sets.  You have to decide which sets of furniture will stay and which will go.  Will they be sold, given to other family members or friends or donated?  I discourage using a storage unit long term to solve this problem.  It is an expense we don't need to incur if we make some decisions. 

You might have multiple sets of pots and pans, dishes, silverware.  Which sets will remain, which will go?  This kitchen is a very common area in which blended organization comes into play. 

You might have lots of artwork, nick knacks, collectibles.  Do you have enough room to incorporate all of it?  Does some of it need to be eliminated?  I find that if someone is that passionate about something, you should do whatever you can to keep the collection in tact, but within reason.  If it's a large collection, it just might need to be downsized in order to make it fit into the home.  Discuss solutions that work for everyone involved.

My late husband was an avid record collector.  We had a wall in our apartment and later in our home that had cabinets filled with record albums and boxes of 45's (all in alphabetical order by artist, by the way!)  We agreed that the entire collection would stay in tact and we were able to come up with a solution for storage that did not intrude on our style of daily living.  The key is to whether the items will take over the home. Remember, we need to own our possessions, not have our possessions own us.

Are you sharing closet space?  If so, it's possible that you might both need to weed out your wardrobe to reduce its contents to make it fit into the designated area. 

My wardrobe currently occupies my entire walk-in closet in my master bedroom and spare bedroom.  However, I can tell you that if and when someone special comes into my life and we decide to combine our households, I will need to reduce the amount of clothing being stored to make room for that special someone.  For now, I have the space to myself and can spread out.  We need to live within the space that is provided.

The bottom line is that when you are combining households, you need to be sure to take the time to communicate about how each other's possessions will fit into the living space.  It might mean eliminating things altogether or it might mean reducing the amount. 

The other factor that comes into play is how each of you function but that is a blog for another day. 

If you have questions about how to blend your home to accommodate each other, contact me.  I am glad to help.    

In the meantime, have a great week!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:34 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
I had a friend who insisted on keeping her stereo after she got married, even though her husband had a better one and hers wasn't even going to be set up in their apartment, just because it had been a gift from her parents. So, emotional attachment to objects has to be dealt with too!
Posted by Janet on 05/02/2012 - 06:36 AM
Agreed. That is a blog for another day!
Posted by Audrey on 05/02/2012 - 09:02 PM
I find that the blending kitchen items can be a sore subject among blending households. Everyone has a reason for a gadget, a favorite pan, etc. What do you recommend asking the couple to help sort this out?
Posted by Natalie Conrad on 05/08/2012 - 03:51 PM
Pick a certain amount of favorites and either blend the rest or select new items together that they both like. When I got married, my husband had previously been on his own for 20 years and had his own collection of kitchen items. We evaluated everything and selected the best of the bunch, keeping some old favorites in the mix as well. Worked out great. Communication is always key when working out these issues.
Posted by Audrey on 05/08/2012 - 07:07 PM
I like how you share about your husbands record collection - great that you came up with a solutions that worked for both of you. I saw one in a home the other day and was impressed at the sheer size of some collections
Posted by Deanne Kelleher on 05/10/2012 - 10:48 AM
Deanne - The key is to find solutions that work for both of you. If you intend to be in a successful relationship following the blending of your two homes, communication truly is key. I am not saying you can't have a "collection", it's what you do with it and whether that "collection" simply becomes clutter.
Posted by Audrey on 05/10/2012 - 11:00 AM
These tips are manageable! Thank you so much! I can now organized my house without stress. Excellent!
Posted by Johan on 01/05/2016 - 10:42 PM
Fantastic Johan! Great to hear! If there is anything specifically you need to address, don't hesitate to contact me at my office (215)491-5193.
Posted by Audrey Cupo on 01/06/2016 - 12:50 PM

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