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This topic contains 60 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of pkilmain pkilmain 3 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #158681
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    As mentioned previously on this topic, my boyfriend and I will be moving in together — into my apartment. That means…

    * We will both have to declutter: We’ll be merging his 480sqft/45qm and my 730sqft/68qm into the latter
    * Thankfully, there is no rush: We’ll have three months to do this step after step (that’s when boyfriend’s rental agreement ends)
    * This is an old building and the basement storage rooms are moist, so storing something important there for longer than a month is not a good idea
    * We will have to decide on the “best of” for a lot of things, e.g. whose bed to keep, whose couch, whose fridge, whose kitchen pans, … and then we’ll have to figure out what to do with the other one (sell? donate? throw away?)
    * We already agreed that it wouldn’t make sense to buy a lot of new stuff (after all, we’re moving into my dirt cheap apartment because of money/job uncertainty stuff), so we’ll do the “make do with what you have and make it beautiful”
    * While I am happy about moving in together, I dread the household stuff a bit… I know I tidy/clean more often than him, not necessarily because of a higher “clean” standard, but also because I’ve done that exhausting “no tidying up/cleaning for 8 weeks and now I have guests visiting in one hour” game often enough and I’m sick of it. Deep inside, I fear that the first big fight when living together will be, sadly, about trite stuff like vacuuming
    * The boyfriend is happy about his opportunity to declutter — he said he’d move the stuff he wants to keep and then wouldn’t mind setting fire to the rest. To me, decluttering doesn’t seem so “natural”, because I don’t actually move, so I don’t have to pack and carry anything, and I have already decluttered quite a lot in the past years. So this will be a time of fine-tuning and rethinking everything for me

    I’ve already made a list of what I would like/need to get rid of, and which areas I would like to fine-tune and reconsider — and I’m determined to be ruthless, after all, this is a great opportunity to streamline my possessions. I also made a mental note to remember that [i]my apartment becomes our[/i] apartment, and to make sure that each of us will have a space to call their own.

    Does anyone have advice on this? Experience? Anything to consider? Sequence suggestions? :o) All your advice is, as always, greatly appreciated :o)

  • #168149
    Avatar of Amy
    Amy
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    I think you’ll find find that most of his stuff is going to get tossed because you don’t like it. HAHAHA…That’s the way it usually works!

    I wonder why so few bother to marry first. It seems like people live together first, then buy a house, then have a baby, and then maybe get around to getting married. What happens when you split up and have to decide who gets what? Especially after joining your material possessions and only having one of everything…Does one person just walk out with nothing?

    I wouldn’t combine your finances without getting married. And maybe even not after getting married, either. It’s too easy to walk away from each other these days.
    But if a couple does split up and one leaves with nothing, then that person could just go get new stuff, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

    I sound so old-fashioned here. Like an old lady or somebody’s mother.
    After all, why buy the whole pig just to get a little sausage.

  • #168151
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Hi Trillie! So glad you added this thread, I was thinking of doing something similar myself :)

    I’m moving in with my boyfriend too, but in our case we’re getting a new apartment. Thank goodness for that, because we both live in little bachelor apartments and I have 2 cats — to merge all that, a bigger place is a must for us. We both still have to declutter to make it all fit into a 1-bedroom apartment, and we’ll have similar sorts of issues to deal with, so here’s what we’ve decided so far:

    1. In order to get rid of duplicates, I’m starting a home inventory, room by room. That way we can go through our respective lists, evaluate duplicates, and decide which to keep. It’ll be slow and painful, but I think it will be invaluable with sorting kitchen stuff, since we both have fully equipped kitchens. Besides, if you’re forced to go through every. single. thing you own, you’ll probably get rid of more than you think.

    2. If possible, then I’d suggest moving everything you both want to keep into your place, and everything you want to get rid of into his, preferably with a month or so to spare before his lease is up. Toss anything that’s not in good enough condition to sell or donate, and then if you have any friends planning a move or setting up house (or who just like your stuff), invite them over to have their pick. After that, you’ll hopefully be down to a manageable enough level of stuff that you won’t find the task of selling/donating it as daunting.

    3. For household chores, I’d suggest dividing them up according to what you each find less grating, and also to your willingness to clean regularly. I can relate to your frustration (my boyfriend isn’t as meticulous about cleaning as I am either), but what we decided is that since he cooks a lot more than I do, the kitchen is his responsibility (except dishes, which we’ll both do), the bathroom’s mine (I’m more willing to deal with cat litter), and the rest we’ll share as we go (with a tacit understanding that I’ll do most of the regular cleaning, but he’ll get scolded if he doesn’t pick up after himself).

    4. Finances are another thing to discuss. My family has had some bad experiences with merging all finances, so I’m against completely combining finances even after marriage. But I am in favour of setting up some sort of a joint account for common expenses (rent, groceries, utilities…), and having both of you contribute to it equally on a set schedule. In our case, rent includes all utilities except hydro (electricity), and the only other joint bill we will have is high-speed internet (no TV, and no home phone since we both rely on cell phones). So the decision was that he’ll pay for hydro, I’ll pay for Internet (bills tend to be roughly equal), and we’re getting a joint credit card for rent and groceries, which we’ll make equal payments on. We chose a credit card that accumulates travel points, which can go towards vacations — and with our biggest expenses (rent and food) going on that card, I suspect points will add up fast.

    That’s all I got so far, but I’ll be sure to check back as things develop on my side as well…

  • #168159
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @Amy: I don’t think it’s old-fashioned — different opinions make the world interesting! I won’t get into the whole marriage pro/con discussion here, and I’ll just say the boyfriend and I have talked about it, and we agree we will consider it, but first, we’ll live together :o) And thank you for bringing up the financial aspect! We still have to make up our minds about that.
    And, let’s not hope that happens, in case of a separation I hope it would be like with my last live-in boyfriend: Still friends, no hard feelings, no problems dividing the stuff (we knew what we brought into the apartment, and for the stuff we weren’t sure about, we talked about it like friends). But *knocks on wood* I do wanna keep this one. Meadows and butterflies!

    @Anita: Oh right, yes, you did say that in another thread! Yes please, keep us updated too :o)
    As for the finances, setting up a joint account for common expenses sounds very sensible, especially with the travel points. With the home inventory, I dread doing stuff like that, although it’s probably easier making the time to sort through stuff together… I’ll have to mull over your “my apartment: keep, his apartment: go” idea — that will involve a whole lot of carrying stuff up and down 4 levels of stairs! ;o)

  • #168167
    Avatar of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Another option to help get rid of your stuff. Start with your clothes if you haven’t done this very recently. Take everything out. Put it on your bed. Decide how much space the boyfriend needs or split it in half if necessary. Now start going through your things, item by item. Get rid of anything that is too big, doesn’t fit right, uncomfortable fabric, worn, etc. Get rid of the things that might be fine, but you don’t like for whatever reason.

    All bathroom supplies. You need to make room for his things. Go through everything of yours, being honest about “are you really going to use that”. Get rid of expired products, excess, and stinky things. Even lotions and shampoos that are older typically have deteriorated.

    The kitchen is, of course, as simple as who has the better things. Better doesn’t always mean newer.

    Office space: Does he have a computer or a lap top? Is there a space for his equipment? Miscellaneous items like hobby equipment, or weird decorative items like fratboy type posters come to mind.

    Good luck and keeps us posted. :)

  • #168171

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    You mentioned having a basement but that it isn’t prime storage for a lot of stuff… Would it be possible to get some sort of well-sealed storage container for your kitchen things? I know that with metal comes concerns about rust, but things like dishes and plastic anything I’m sure could be stored without much concern. For anything metal, maybe a sealed container (or something in a vacuum seal “space bag” in a regular container) in the basement on a shelf off of the floor is your best bet. This way if you do end up splitting up, neither one of you will have to re-buy a bunch of stuff. If you get married, it will just be a matter of taking those containers to a donation center.

    I know that a big part of Unclutterer is not giving in too much to the “what ifs,” but I think that when taking any large step in life, it’s OK to hang onto a few things as long as you don’t let them pile up. You can also reduce the amount that you store by first getting rid of things that aren’t a big deal to buy again or probably need to be replaced anyway, such as measuring cups, baking pans, etc.

  • #168173
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Great approach to combining households. And also for bringing up finances and household chores before moving in together. My husband and I lived together for a long time, and have been married an even longer time. We have never combined our finances. We do as Anita described, have a joint account for household bills: utilities, groceries, vet (we have 2 cats), etc., and the rest is individual. THe one thing we did agree on is to consult each other on purchases over x amount (the amount has raised over the years). Since we have similiar outlooks on money this is not a big issue for us. When we need new appliances or major household repairs, we share the cost. In the beginning one of us would buy the item, but we’d keep it pretty even (you bought the new washer, I’ll buy the new mattress), but esp before we were married it was understood that if we split, we could each take what we had purchased, or negotiate an exchange.

  • #168175
    Avatar of SunshineR
    SunshineR
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Excellent ideas, everyone. Trillie, I think it’s great that you and BF can talk about your plans; that you do have some time to get settled. I agree also about having some individual spending accounts. BF and I usually agree on what to buy, but in the event of having differing goals/tastes, I kick in the extra money beyond what he can afford. An dream example would be, after I sell my house, we plan to renovate BF’s kitchen. I would love stainless steel appliances or black ones, but BF will probably pay for white ones.

    Flights of stairs can make one stop and think…junk down, velvet-rope test, up.

  • #168185
    Avatar of Another Deb
    Another Deb
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    I remember searching the internet for advice on this topic about five years ago when I moved in with my dear hubby. It was critical for him that he not feel “invaded” and devalued by me tossing his stuff in favor of my own. We went slowly and eventually decided which garlic press and lawn chairs we liked, which mattress and couch we didn’t. I had to re-think my decor options since I was shabby chic cottage and his house is Arizona territorial. We’ve been married three years now and are still purging duplicates. Our decor is evolving and both of us like how it has worked out, especially since I got to paint all those white walls!

  • #168189
    Avatar of Irulan
    Irulan
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Good luck with your merging, trillie! My husband and I moved in together straight out of college, so we didn’t have to deal with cutting down on doubles or changing established household habits, but it was still an adventure. A couple of things to think about:
    - Arguing about chores is okay, and not at all trivial. It’s a LOT better than feeling resentful because you think you’re the only one doing chores. If you want to pre-empt it, think about setting up a chore chart for you both. This doesn’t have to be combative, either. Just ask him how often he likes to do the chores at his apt, and which chores he prefers/hates as a way of making the transition easier on you both.
    - The “personal space” that you mentioned above is especially important if either of your are introverted. Look at the use each of you makes of your current space and think of your merged apartment in those terms: maybe you prefer web-surfing from your bed but he likes to hang out in the kitchen.
    - Finances: Regardless of whether you join or keep separate finances, you should both beware of your general financial state and what the status is for bills. Pay attention to what each of you prefers as far as paying bills (online, mailing, once a month, once a week, payday, shifted in from savings) and set up something that you can both live with and that will not lead to forgotten bills. Keep in mind that utilities can only speak to the account-holder, so you may want to add him on to the account.

  • #168193
    Avatar of Sophie
    Sophie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Congrats Trillie, my partner moved into my place about 2 1/2 years ago. It was a big job as we had two three bedroom houses to combine into one and we’re still decluttering now. We basically decided who had the nicest of each thing. Some things were easy e.g. I had 3 good beds and he had two crap ones which we donated. He had the nice couches, we sold mine. Then we kept his TV, stereo, DVD – and sold my TV, and donated my stereo and DVD.

    It’s definitely a challenge combining two households, but it can be done.

    The finance one is interesting. We have a joint account as well as separate accounts. It really comes down to whatever works for the couple.

  • #168194
    Avatar of Angelo
    Angelo
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    trillie, I’m in precisely the same boat right now — I’m moving into her apartment in January, and we’ve got similar issues (although we’re both pretty tidy people). I also see it as a great opportunity to declutter, but truth be told, I’ve gotten a little lazy about that. Time to kick my butt back into gear!

    To your point about making a mental note about “my apartment becomes our apartment” — what I’ve already started doing is bringing a couple of things over (that she needs anyhow, like kitchen utensils) so that my presence is hinted at in her daily routines, as well as using ‘shared’ phrases like “home” for her apartment, “our bathroom,” “our bed,” “our television,” &cet — regardless of whether it’s my stuff or her stuff. This way it gets it into both our heads that with our sharing will come some compromises because we stop thinking possessively about our own individual things and places and start thinking as a team.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

  • #168196
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Tip: keep an eye out of opportunities to declutter without needing to nag or be nagged.

    Example: BF and I are going away for the weekend, and he asked me to help him pack. While looking for a bag for his toiletries, which turned out to be buried under a pile of stuff in his bathroom cabinet, we cleaned out his entire bathroom. We threw away and donated a small mountain of random things his mom had insisted on giving him before he left home and that he’d never really bothered to go through. And now, there are that many fewer things to move, yay!

  • #168199
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Anita- perfect! Just about anytime is a good time to unclutter.

  • #168320
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Wow, thanks for all the good advice! :o) I’ve been very busy on the weekend, so I finally get around to answering now :o)

    On finances: It sounds like a lot of you favor the “joint account but each one has their own account” approach, and this seams not only feasible, but logical — I have already suggested this to my boyfriend, he was on board immediately and even suggested we’d put in even more into the joint account to save up for trips and vacations, yay!

    On ‘personal space’: He’ll definitely bring his desk, so I hope that each of us having their own desk space will serve as enough personal space. There is also enough room in the kitchen or bedroom to sit down with a tea, book or laptop if you want to flee from the other one and have some privacy :o)

    @JuliaJayne: This is an old house, so there are no built-in closets anywhere. The boyfriend will bring his own wardrobe, and I will keep my wardrobe and dresser. So thankfully, no clothes purge — but you did get me thinking about the other areas where it will help very much to make some room for his stuff (oh noes, bathroom, bookshelves, kitchen cupboards, coat rack). My to do list grows! ;o)

    @GirlOverboard: Sealed storage containers! Why did I not think of that yet? ;o) It’s actually pretty smart to keep at least some basic stuff for “Justin Case”, because my boyfriend has been looking for a job in his actual profession for more than a year now (he’s a pilot, insert monologue about economic crisis and fired pilots worldwide here), and will go whereever he’ll get a job offer. (That’s part of the moving in together idea: Moving into an affordable place together now, saving on rent, knowing/hoping he’ll get an offer within hopefully a year — and if that job is in a different city, we’d be able to afford this place and a small apartment for him in wherever else, too, and then after a year or so, we’ll update our plans.)

    @Another Deb and Sophie: You are right, the merging will take time, and I know that once you live in a place for a while, it turns out you need/want/use things differently than you initially thought. But if there are any easy decisions out there (my broken stereo out, his hin, my wobbly bed out, his new bed in, his pots and pans out, mine in and so on), I would like to make them now so they don’t bother me when there are even more decisions to make after we will have moved in together… And like I said, it might even make sense to keep more than necessary because of boyfriend’s job hunt.

    @Irulan: I guess that my big problem is that usually, I’m nice and don’t like to nag (or being nagged), but I fear that if I don’t put my foot down now and make it clear that I expect him to do a certain amount of chores, I’ll end up doing the majority and will eventually feel resentful — so thank you for the wise words. Yes, arguing is much better than feeling resentful! I’m sceptical about a chore chart, but I’ll definitely bring this up, maybe it will end up being just the thing that works for us. Also thanks for mentioning utilities, I doubt it is this way in Germany (with roommates, it was never a problem), but it doesn’t hurt to find that out for sure.

    @Anita: I like that! I also “accidentally” decluttered under the sink while looking for garbage bags the other day. It doesn’t take long, and the more is gone now, the less there is to carry later :o) Also, I like the “no nagging” :o)

    @Angelo: That’s a great idea to start calling things “our”! I’ll start doing this… now.

    On my to do list for tonight: Making a list of the easy decisions for the “which to keep, mine or yours?” game :o)

  • #168328
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    We’ve done the joint & separate accounts thing for 10 years now, it works really well as long as both people have some source of income – what we do is, we each put half of what we make into the joint account, and keep half. That puts enough in the joint account to pay our bills, and naturally accounts for the fact that we have different income levels. If our expenses/income ratio were higher, we’d put a higher percentage in.

    I think, too, that worrying about “will I have any stuff to move out if I have to” isn’t very useful – household stuff is pretty easily replaced, if it comes to that.

    I would suggest labeling some things – books and CDs, if you really care about them.

    p.s. when my mom got remarried, all her husband’s furniture was out in the garage for TWO YEARS while they worked all this stuff out.

  • #168370
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    i’ve got nothing useful to add.
    we moved in together when we were young and foolish and we both had almost nothing!
    truly, we had so little that there was never any confusion about who had brought what with them.

    as for household finances….for eight years we kept things separate.
    then we got married and we combined finances.
    we work together for our own company, so it is perhaps a bit more clear cut for us.
    on the whole though…i am all for everyone keeping a bit of money separate.

    trillie, i can tell from here that you have an organised brain!
    i think you’ll sort this out beautifully, ESPECIALLY given such a leisurely time frame.
    as long as you both approach it fairly and sensitively, it should be a breeze.

    i do have one suggestion.
    how about doing the merge a couple of weeks early?
    put everything you are keeping into “your” apartment and put everything you are getting rid of into “his” apartment.
    then hold a sale right there in “his” old apartment, with all the stuff in situ, plugged in and working (if relevant).
    whatever doesn’t sell, then goes to be donated or recycled or dumped.

  • #168371
    Avatar of Claycat
    Claycat
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    That is a great idea, bandicoot! :)

  • #168378
    Avatar of beachmum
    beachmum
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Such a good topic! My bf has been moving in slowly for about a year:) But he doesn’t have much in housewares, that went to the ex, so that’s easy. My problem: his dozen guitars and framed concert posters! He’s going to fix up a spare room to put his office stuff, where his posters can go, and he’ll hang shelves for his thousands of cds. But the guitars… he just has them standing in his bedroom at home, and that will not fit into our 2BR. Anyone out there with guitar storage solutions? i’m guessing the attic and basement are out:)

  • #168382

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @Amy, you don’t sound old fashioned to me! My husband and I are Catholic, so we didn’t “try before you buy” and we’re very happy with the results. :) We’ve been married almost four years and have honestly never argued about finances or chores because we have viewed our household as a true partnership from Day 1. There is something to be said about diving in and partnering with someone completely, rather than inching into a relationship piece-by-piece.

    @trillie, it sounds like you’re taking the right approach regarding your possessions. Limit your household to a certain number of things: one can opener, one set of silverware, two sets of sheets, four bath towels, etc. Choose the best items, and purge the rest. Much of it can be sold on Craigslist, most of the rest can be donated to St Vincent (or a similar charity). Itemize everything before you donate it so you can deduct the donations from your 2010 taxes.

    Keep your finances separate since separation is statistically likely, but consider having a “household account” where each of you contribute equitable shares toward rent, groceries, etc. (You might consider apportioning responsibility based on income, rather than splitting everything 50/50.)

    Chores in our house are pretty simple–if one of us sees something that needs attention, we just do it. I have a checklist of things that I like to see happen once a week (scrub toilets, sweep the tile, vacuum the carpet, etc.) We don’t go down the checklist item-by-item on a set schedule, but it’s nice to have a simple reminder system. I do most of the cooking, so my husband does most of the dishes. He does most of the big repair jobs, so I do most of the routine clean-up. In my marriage, I’ve found that chores magically get done because we consider “doing chores” just one of the many ways we can express love for each other.

  • #168415
    Avatar of Irulan
    Irulan
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Sorry trillie, I didn’t realize that you were in Germany! It sounds like your utilities have a much more sensible way of operating.

    As for the nagging, one thing that really helped us was adopting my parents’ attitudes towards chores: this is our family’s home, and as such, it’s a priority for our family to make this a kind of place that we are happy to live in. This reduces the feeling of nagging because it means that the household is not just your responsibility, it’s a family priority. A chart isn’t the be-all and end-all, it was just an idea to get you guys talking about what chores you each like to do and when you like to do them.

    I’m seconding St. Vincent de Paul for donations of unwanted objects, they take everything!

  • #168427
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @bandicoot: Yes, Anita suggested that too somewhere! I hesitate a lot because of all the stairs, but then again it might just be the perfect thing to do. I imagine if we really made the effort to only let the “keep” stuff into our apartment and leave/put the rest in his apartment, it will all go in the end. The old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ …
    Also, thank you for the “organized brain” compliment (I hope it was one? LOL)! Me and my brain, we’re still on our uncluttering journey ;o) And when I grow up, I want my brain to conquer time management, too (that’s one thing I’m really not good at).

    @beachmum: Yay for moving in together! :o)
    What about displaying the guitars on the wall? Like in the fourth picture in this post, the first pic here or the guitars on this wall. Or you could get guitar hangers if you have some closet space left. Or check the comments of Good Questions: Displaying a Guitar Collection? :o)

    @minneapolisite: Your “checklist of things that I like to see happen once a week” sounds not too planned (no schedule), but just organized enough (something to check off) that this might just be the thing to consider for me/us, thanks!

    @Irulan: Housekeeping as “family priority”, I think that’s exactly what it is, you picked just the right words. On the utilities: Yes, it seems like the utility companies (at least the ones without monopolys) want to keep their customers ;o) As long as any of us four roommates knew the meter number for electricity, water or gas, everything could easily be handled over the phone.

  • #168435

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Maybe try doing it “upside down”. EG. Write down what you -need- and then pick the best of each thing, rather than write down what you -have- ~ this -should- lead to you throwing away a lot of stuff too?

  • #168507
    Avatar of cp_arch
    cp_arch
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    my bf and I just did this this year. He was living w/ a roommate in a 2 brm and I had a smaller 1 brm to myself. We planned on getting a new place together, but he moved into my place a couple months before so that we could “weed” things out. It was really helpful, but also stressful. I was annoyed that his stuff was EVERYWHERE while he was annoyed that I hadn’t made enough room for him. So, I had to purge even further, and it worked until we moved into OUR place. That was a big relief, felt more shared rather than him being on my turf. And more space too. And a view of Alcatraz :) So the pre move to my place is a really good idea. Also big help was discussing in advance where things were going. We are going to marry (I wouldn’t want to live with anyone I wasn’t), but want to have kids soon after getting married, so are using this time as “couple time” before kids. Also, we did not combine finances at all. Not until after marriage. We split 50/50 (have very similar incomes). We just take turns paying the rent every month. And other expenses like groceries and utilities get split by putting the receipts in a bowl, then adding it all up at the end of the month and settling up. Easy. For chores, we have a goal to leave the house every morning with the place looking “good enough for friends to come over straight from work.” And for deep cleaning, we do every other week and just do as we need. We each put one utility in our names so that if we need proof of residence (like for a parking permit), we each have that. As for stuff, he didn’t have too much furniture, so it was fine. But kitchen ware and towels, we got a storage unit (we needed one anyway). The crappier version of everything became our camping supplies. No more worry about bringing the Caphalon pots camping! Everything we got rid of went to Goodwill. A few of the nicer things were sold on Craigslist. So now we’re just enjoying our new neighborhood in San Francisco!

  • #168757
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @princess_peas: You know, I declutter every time after I come home from travelling — actually, everything I NEED fits into my big backpack! ;o) Thank you for your suggestion, it sure comes in handy to ask ourselves not “which one of these do we want” but instead “do we actually need either?”

    @cp_arch: Thank you for sharing your experiencef, I especially liked your goal of leaving the house company-ready (every unclutterer’s wet dream, right? LOL) and taking the “not so good” kitchen stuff for camping.

    Update from me: Last week, I finally got rid of the stuff in my Basement of Doom, and while carrying all that stuff out, I found two additional wall shelves that I didn’t know I still had (they match the one holding my DVDs), and they will be perfect for adding the boyfriend’s DVD collection to that wall. Also, I decluttered my bathroom stuff (toiletries and old towels) to make room for his stuff, and in my decluttering frenzy, also spontaneously threw away a chipped cup and a broken wooden spoon while cooking. Oh and last week, my 18 year old tuner and radio finally broke, so there is one less decision about whose stereo to keep ;o)

    This week, I’ll be moving the furniture in the bedroom to make it easier to reassemble boyfriend’s Ikea wardrobe at the spot where it will stand, and if I really measured the room correctly yesterday, there will be just enough room (maybe one millimeter to spare!) for my favored furniture layout. Yay! :o)

  • #168763
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @beachmum: There is a new article on Lifehacker on how to use Ikea knobs for hanging guitars on the wall: Turn Two IKEA Towel Hangers Into a Guitar Wall Mount

  • #168807
    Avatar of Timo
    Timo
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    There is no quick approach to this – at least from my own experience.

    When I moved together with my girlfriend (she moved to my place and we are now married), our home looked like “my home”. But eventually there have been some changes. Decision about the furniture are made based on the situation. For example, we are getting rid of my couch, because her couch is much better looking in our living room. Also, she had some artwork which I knew that they would spice up our household, so I was more than happy to have those hanging on the wall.

    On the other hand, the kitchen table I had bought, was kept, because it suits our needs better than the one she has.

    So, as the time goes, more merging is happening. But definitely doing the changes bit by bit and the natural is the best way to go.

  • #171146
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Post-move update: the move happened on Saturday and, thanks to packing everything in advance and having 4 absolutely amazing helpers, the whole ordeal of loading, transporting and unloading 2 apartments’ worth of stuff into one bigger apartment only took 2.5 hours!

    Then, of course, came the unpacking, which is still ongoing. The boyfriend took charge of his domain (the kitchen) and I tackled everything else (bedroom, den/office, living/dining room, bathroom and closets). After 2 days, the only things still in boxes are: books, DVDs, CDs (all of which we have to put up shelves for), my make-up and non-essential cosmetics (getting a new make-up table tomorrow), and 2 boxes of misc. stuff that we were far too tired to deal with last night.

    For the most part, things went well. The only real hurdle was that the new place has much less built-in sotrage, and we’ll need to get a few more shelves and containers to make things work for us, but that’s no great hardship.

    Then… I needed something from the kitchen. Now… I know we both agreed the kitchen was HIS thing, and he could organize it as he saw fit, but walking in there I couldn’t help but ask things like “why are there table linens in 3 different drawers, each mixed with all sorts of other stuff?”… “why are the cats’ food bowls in the back of the cupboard above the fridge (the LEAST accessible cupboard in the whole apartment) when we use them twice a day?”… “why is there a big pile of cooking utensils shoved in the back of the cutlery drawer, when there’s an empty drawer on the other side of the kitchen, 3 feet away?”… “why are the rollers and paint trays (used over a week ago and supposedly left to soak) still in the kitchen sink?”… “he just bought new storage jars because we ‘didn’t have nearly enough’; then why is there a stash of empty OLD storage jars in a cupboard?”… etc.

    Sigh. I want to understand. And tolerate. And leave things be. But this makes it difficult.

  • #171160
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Urgh! Sounds like a toughie! At least the move went well. But maybe you can’t really assign a room to one person to organise if you’re both going to use it? Perhaps you could gently persuade him of the ergonomic necessity of things used constantly belonging together and being accessible? And let him suggest some things you may not have done so well in ‘your’ rooms? Personally I hate my dh messing with my kitchen organisation, it’s taken me 13 years to find the perfect home for everything (and I’m still working on it), yet all it takes is for him to unload the dishwasher and I can’t find a thing! You have to tell him it’s not working (in a nice way)…

  • #171163
    Avatar of margaret
    margaret
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Anita — maybe he was just shoving things wherever to get it unpacked and assumes that he will organize it later? Not necessarily the best plan, but some people work that way. I would probably just ask him if this is the final layout or is he going to be moving things around more. Of course, that would never come up for me, because I would be the one unpacking everything, and then 7 years later my husband would expect me to know where he put the things from the one box that he was responsible for. Sigh.

  • #171165
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Lottielot, I understand your frustration. In my old apartment, I always kept (random example) my colander in the bottom cabinet, on a shelf with other similar things. Then the boyfriend cooks, does the dishes, and lo and behold, my colander disappears, only to reappear in another cupboard; or in a drawer; or on top of the fridge; but each time in a different place. What bugs me, though, is that he always knows where to find it when he needs it, but NEVER remembers where it goes when he needs to put it away again. How is that even possible?!

    When I take charge and organize something “my way”, he agrees that it’s logical and works well for him, but still pouts about his “input not being sought” or “way of doing things not being valued”. So throughout the last 2 days whenever I organized or put away something he uses, I called him over to tell him about it and ask if it’s ok. It’s not terribly efficient, and takes him away from his own work for a few minutes each time, but it’s avoided the pouting.

    As for the kitchen, I asked some of the questions I mentioned in my previous post, in the nicest way I could. The answer was usually a bewildered “oh, is it?”… he hadn’t even realised he was organizing things in a way that made no sense. Ok, I understand being blind to the clutter/disorganization around you when it’s been that way for years and you’ve become used to it, but how does one explain being blind to disoranization when you’re in the middle of organizing?

    Sorry for the rant. I’m trying my best to keep calm at home, but I guess steam has to be let out somewhere. Other than the disorganization thing, he’s a great guy and I guess we’ve got it pretty good, seeing that the biggest thing we fight over is where the oven mitts should be, so I realise this is all a bit ridiculous; but I suppose when you’ve got nothing better to be upset about, the little things come out?

  • #171170
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Anita, I had to laugh! sounds like my guy–best DH in the whole wide world, really, but yes, I think he shares your BF’s organizing skills and temperament! Needs to have input, even on things he couldn’t care less about, nor has ever thought about, when I have given it HOURS of thought and assessment and contemplation! I just don’t ask now. Or I give a choice, of my choosing.

    resonates…

  • #171173
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Oh gosh Anita, your BF sounds like my DH! He can find anything in the kitchen he wants to use, but can’t remember where it goes to put it away. His solution, which is somewhat better than sticking it some random place, is to leave it on the counter for me to put away… But hey, it’s clean and when I put it back, I know where it is, so I’ve gotten myself past that. And I have gotten him to now when he does laundry, he folds my clothes instead of leaving them in a heap to wrinkle! He still can’t figure out which drawer to put them in, though he expects me to know where his go (I now just leave them on the bed, same as he does with mine. It’s the goose/gander thing in my brain… )

  • #171186
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    my rule is: *i* do the vast bulk of the work in the kitchen, therefore it is organised the way *i* work.
    heavens, i was an executive chef for many years, so you can just imagine how touchy and militant and rigid and hysterical i am about what goes where in the kitchen.
    most important room in the house, imo.
    my goal at all times is to be able to stretch out my hand without looking and know precisely what will be at my fingertips.

  • #171187
    Avatar of Rozzie
    Rozzie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    I’m going to come into this from a slightly different angle. First, while the two of you are happy together there is a possibility that one or both of you might someday decide the relationship won’t work. Before parting with EVERYTHING, make sure that it will be within your abilities financially to replace these items. Obviously, you won’t be able to keep two mattresses or doubles on other large, bulky items. However, small items could be stored in a plastic tub in that basement until you’ve had time to make sure things will work out. Sometimes dynamics of a relationship change when people move in together.

    I’d keep at least the higher priced small stuff for a while if you do have free basement storage space. Then, later, if you decide to do so, you can part with it. Things like measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixing bowls, a set of dishes, etc can be stored even in a humid basement.

    This makes extra good sense if you have higher priced possessions – good quality pans, for example. If you have the cheapest set on the market then it may not matter so much.

  • #171195
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    rozzie, that does sound sensible and sane on one hand.
    on the other hand, it is pandering to “future me” quite a bit.
    and where does that end?

  • #171310
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @ Anita – complete sympathy for your frustration, there is nothing like finding out that the person you love has some surprising blind spot that you now have to work around! And what better place to vent than this?

    Re: future me: I’d venture to guess (and this is a HUGE generalization!) that in most younger couples cohabiting for the first time, neither has such “high quality” things that replacement, in the event of a breakup, would be a true financial burden. And in older couples, generally one is the homemaker and the other has led a more subsistence lifestyle while single. I haven’t really known any couples who both went into cohabitation with full households. More likely, one has a full set of le Creuset, and one’s gotten by with takeout.

    I wrote not too long ago that one can fully equip a kitchen for $1000. Including appliances. So I wouldn’t necessarily worry about whether to hang onto that spare set of mixing bowls and measuring cups. :-)

    I think “future me” ought to be appeased with a savings account, not duplicates of Stuff.

  • #171312
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @chacha1 – I think “future me” ought to be appeased with a savings account, not duplicates of Stuff.

    Perfect – I love it! Means also that “future me” gets stuff that matches her tastes then, not what “present me” is into. :)

  • #171315
    Avatar of Zora
    Zora
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Bandicoot, what you say about knowing EXACTLY where everything in the kitchen should be makes sense in light of what I’ve been reading about restaurant kitchens. Every chef has her/his mise en place and you meddle with that at your peril! If someone is cooking at full speed, turning out entree after entree, she/he has to be able to grab things without looking — just like a good typist doesn’t look at the keyboard.

  • #171318
    Avatar of Rozzie
    Rozzie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    re: the future me idea
    That’s why I was focused on smaller household stuff. Having been in tight spots before in my life, I could not have replaced a kitchen (or house) full of items then, even from secondhand shops. I don’t know the original poster’s financial status, which is why I mentioned this. Also, the price issue could vary, since she’s not in the US. I’m not sure if secondhand items are easily available in Germany like they are in the US, or if household goods cost significantly more than they do here.

    Truly, I’m not suggesting keeping a household full of stuff. Just the higher priced essentials or those that might be harder to replace. That seems like a decent precaution. After all, relationships come and go. That’s a fact of life. Most aren’t permanent, and many aren’t all that long lived. I’m not saying this will be the case for the OP, but just recognizing the reality of life in today’s world.

  • #171319
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Times I’ve had to go out on my own after a living situation fell apart, I was generally moving into a single room or with someone else, so I didn’t need kitchen stuff anyway.

    Plus, you can’t plan for failure. The cash savings as backup plan makes a lot more sense because it’s also useful if things don’t fall apart. The extra stuff is just extra stuff – it might be useful in the future, or it might not, no telling.

  • #171329
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Rozzie–I agree totally.

  • #171358
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Rozzie makes a good point, but I stand by cash. :-) I’ve been in two cohabiting situations, both long-term (and the second still going strong i.e. happy marriage). My first situation broke up bitterly, with the ex taking basically everything I owned except my books and my cat.

    By that time I just wanted him gone, and wouldn’t have wanted to keep any of that stuff anyway; it was all stuff I bought to accommodate *him.* Even if I had spent 9 years stockpiling stuff of my own “just in case” there’s no guarantee he wouldn’t have taken that, too, and in the meantime it would have meant living with a house full of extra crap.

    For me, it was much better to go out of that relationship knowing that I *did* try, I *didn’t* second-guess or hedge my bets, and when he was gone, he was GONE. And I could move on in whatever direction I chose without any baggage. It’s probably the least cluttered I’ve ever been in my life. :-)

  • #171360
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    I think quite a lot of stuff you’d need to re-buy if things go wrong you could easily get off freecycle or similar. I know I’ve donated stuff to people on freecycle who have asked for things, one boy was looking for a load of kitchen stuff to move into a new flat and I went and hunted out a whole stack of stuff for him and emailed him, he came straight round and I was happy that he could cook in his new kitchen and I was rid of extra things not used :)

  • #171536
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @Rozzie: You are absolutely right with not throwing out every duplicate — even though one thing like an egg whisk doesn’t cost much (new or secondhand), a lot of small stuff like that can really add up. But I also think that at one point, I will have to trust “current me” and “future me” both to have made a good decision with moving in together with this boyfriend, so I’ll probably gradually give the duplicate stuff to whoever wants it and trust in chacha’s “future me will have a savings account” :o)

    I’ve also lived with several roommates so far and had one “cohabiting situation” with my ex-boyfriend of seven years. We broke up amicably though, and we are still good friends, so even though the breakup itself was painful for us, there were no issues with any stuff. When he moved out, he took only his and left mine (though we traded his armoire for mine, because we had always secretly coveted the other one before — win-win). And I somehow trust myself that I have not chosen a new boyfriend with whom a breakup would become hell (although you never know, I guess… and I want to keep him!).

    @Anita: I so understand your frustration… I do hope that you will both be able to laugh at this after a few years! I think your approach of asking your boyfriend about everything is good, even though it can get annoying for you. It just shows that you value his opinion. Sometimes, just being asked is enough, and the outcome doesn’t really matter :o)

    Now finally An Update From Meeeee! :o) I realized that I was so happy that we decided to live together that I was determined to do everything as soon as possible, and of course perfectly (I just reread my first post in this thread and I think it’s oozing with perfectionism, though I am happy to have written that to do list for myself, LOL). So I am really glad that most of your advice was along the lines of “relax and take it slowly”. And we are!

    We’ve both been uncluttering slowly, some of boyfriend’s smaller stuff is already in “our” apartment, and we’re slowly moving the rest here. The hallway looks like chaos, but it always looks worse before it looks better, right? ;o) And now that my boyfriend finally got an aptitude test for an airline in late November and I am about to register my diploma thesis, preparing for these two things is somehow more important than sticking to a a strict timeline for moving in together, than having everything “just so”, or than answering the important question “whose potato peeler to keep?” ;o)

  • #171541

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    “But I also think that at one point, I will have to trust “current me” and “future me” both to have made a good decision with moving in together with this boyfriend”

    That’s when you get married! Some people are just gutsy enough to trust “current me” and “future me” without a trial cohabitation period. :P

  • #171546
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @trillie — congrats on your progress in all those areas! Glad to hear your transition is going well.

    Boyfriend and I have come to a compromise: he’ll trust me to deal with décor, and I’ll turn a blind eye to the messy kitchen some of the time. We also reorganized it minimally, so that the stuff I need is closer at hand and I don’t need to search the cabinets and get frustrated about things not being where I think they should. So things are settling quite nicely.

    @minneapolisite — for us, cohabitation is NOT a “trial period” leading to marriage because we’re not planning on getting married. I don’t see any utility in it, especially since I don’t want kids. A piece of paper and overpriced and archaic ceremony are not things I need to “certify” my relationship. Besides, where I live, common law couples get most of the same legal protection and tax benefits as married couples, so there’s really no incentive for me to spend a ton of money and waste my nerves on a wedding. Nothing “gutsy” about that, IMO.

  • #171547
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Not everyone wants to get married, of course. Regardless of trust levels.

  • #171549
    Avatar of juliapenguin
    juliapenguin
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    I’m enchanted by this comment from Amy earlier:

    ‘After all, why buy the whole pig just to get a little sausage?’

    I don’t know if that’s a common saying in the US but I’ve never heard it over here and I love it!

    I intend to use it on a regular basis from now on….

    My contribution to the topic is that we did this eight years ago and only made the odd mistake regarding what to keep – for example, we kept my fridge freezer rather than his as mine was newer and nicer, but within a week of selling his, mine broke down and was unrepairable! That’s just one of those things…

  • #171553
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    juliapenguin: also commonly heard in the US -
    “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”

  • #171558
    Avatar of Rosa
    Rosa
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    That’s actually really insulting. Which one of us is the pig, or the cow?

    Not to mention – when people get married, it’s not polite to say “keep your old dishes, you’ll want them when you get divorced! You know it happens!” Why would it be appropriate to say when people are committing to living together?

    Assuming people ought to get married because you did, or your parents did (heck, my parents have done it 3 times, to 2 different people each! That makes it extra special!) is pretty rude.

  • #171560
    Avatar of
    Anonymous

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @Rosa — I agree with you completely.

    I don’t see how living together without a marriage certificate is any less of a commitment. It seems to me like people are confusing “wedding” and “marriage”. Committing to living together is, to me, the marriage without the wedding. And if the wedding is what you value, it sounds pretty shallow to me…

    Also: I don’t see how getting married before moving in together is gutsy. If anything, it sounds like insecurity and/or lack of trust — are you so worried about breaking up that you need to seal the deal before sharing your stuff?

  • #171562
    Avatar of irishbell
    irishbell
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Rosa: you understand perfectly and it is insulting to say the least. Unfortunately, I heard it plenty in the 70′s when I was in high school and then college, etc. It originally meant the woman was the cow/pig. I’m sure it was around way before those days though.

  • #171563
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    fwiw, I’ll bet the “pig” and “cow” comments date back to the time (not very long ago) when women were simply chattel, much like livestock.

    All I’m gonna say is, I’m damned glad I didn’t marry that ex. He probably would have sued for alimony – and might have gotten it.

  • #171570
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    My husband and I lived together for 17 years before having a marriage ceremony. For us it was as much a financial consideration as an emotional one. Here in the US many companies/local governments do not offer the same insurance benefits to unmarried couples as to married ones, so DH had no medical insurance, and married couples at that time got a tax break (not so much any more). Also, when he was in an accident back when we’d been together only a few years, the hospital would not let me sign anything, nor would they give me any information about his condition as I was not “family.” Now, granted, this was in the 70′s, and things are much better now. We have now been married for 22 years, so a total of 39 years this month.

  • #171577
    Avatar of juliapenguin
    juliapenguin
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    I didn’t mean to be disrespectful regarding the ‘pig’ quotation – I was thinking of it in quite different terms and certainly not applying it to a woman! If anything, I think it would apply more to a man…

    Now I’m in my forties, I’ve seen enough of life to be sure that a marriage certificate makes little difference as to whether or not a committed relationship works. I know unmarried couples who are utterly faithful and devoted to each other, and married couples where the love and commitment are gone. My first husband left me for my best friend (and no, it didn’t work out for them, although he said she was his ‘soulmate’) and my very dear friend’s husband came home one day a few weeks ago and told her he’d met someone else and was leaving her after twenty years. To her, me and their other close friends he had always seemed very happy indeed with her.

  • #171579
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    @minneapolisite And those who, like my brother, live in a state which refuses to recognize their marriage? I’m sure he and his husband would have been happy to be just as gutsy as you’d like 20 years ago if it had been an option for them . . . .

    (Yes, I am just a bit upset over the Senate’s actions today. My BIL is a veteran, and some of the things I’ve read today have been infuriating.)

  • #171580
    Avatar of Rozzie
    Rozzie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    It may not be polite to point out that not all cohabitations & marriages last, but the fact is that 1/2 of marriages in the U.S. fail. About 25% of Americans have been married two or more times by their mid-40s. I don’t have time to go into stats on cohabitation, but anyone interested could do so here:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_028.pdf

    I have personally been married for nearly 20 years. However, I still know that there is no guarantee that it is really until “death do us part.” To assume that a marriage could not end and to insist that nothing could happen is naive. I would never want anyone — man or woman — to put themselves into a situation that would be difficult to recover from should a relationship end.

    How – or if — one chooses to take steps that would help protect their own future in the case of an ended relationship is a matter of individual choice. The fact that 1/2 of marriages fail is not arguable.

  • #171589
    Avatar of Rozzie
    Rozzie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Ahem. The pig joke has another meaning now. The sausage is referring to….a particular portion of male anatomy. (Why buy the whole pig when you can have the sausage for free…)

  • #171595
    Avatar of trillie
    trillie
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    Re: The whole marriage debate… Like Anita, I don’t see moving in together as a trial period for getting married either, but rather as a “Level Up!” for the relationship. I want children, and preferably with this boyfriend (whom I would like to keep, as I mentioned), and that means it makes sense to get married for a lot of reasons like the one pkilmain mentioned. Then again, I’ve also never been a girl who planned her wedding (including frilly princess meringue dress and matching chair slipcovers) since she was nine years old ;o) But the basic wedding idea — pledging love and loyalty to each other in front of family and friends, then a big party for everyone ensues — there’s something to be said for that! All in all, I think it doesn’t matter who does what in which order, as long as everyone involved ends up happy :o)

  • #171614
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Moving In Together: Merging Two Entire Households Into One

    That’s it to me too, trillie. We had a civil ceremony at home, performed by a friend (who had the proper legal paperwork), and attended by about a dozen people. We videotaped the actual ceremony for our families. Very nice time, very low cost.

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