You’ve decided to move in with your partner, but soon after that blissful decision, reality sets in: You don’t have enough room for all of your belongings and you’re going to have to seriously pare down.
You probably don’t need two couches or two dining room sets and what about the duplicate dishes, blenders and toaster ovens?
Plus there may be differences in taste. He may not be crazy about that floral bedspread and she may not want that old leather recliner taking up space.
It’s time to decide what to keep, give away, sell or store.
Eliminate Clutter Before You Move
“The most important thing prior to the move is to really do a thorough purge so you’re not bringing anything into the household that you don’t really want or love,” said professional organizer Monica Friel, owner of Chaos to Order in Chicago.
If you’re not using it, get rid of it. Donate the nicer items to charity or sell them on Craigslist and recycle or throw away the junk.
Evaluate Your New Space
Take photos and measurements of the new place to help when choosing which furniture will fit, said professional organizer Kristi Schneider, owner of Atlanta-based Truorder Creative Organizing Solutions. Go room by room and discuss what items you each own and what will work best in the new space.
“I love to sit down with clients with a floor plan and talk about the layout of each room. What are you keeping, what furniture is going where and how is it all going to pan out?” Friel said.
Prepare to Compromise
Make the difficult decisions on the “must-have” items that you or your partner may not be crazy about, Schneider suggested.
Try out the piece of furniture, for example, in the new home before making a hasty decision. Keep an open mind and compromise. Sometimes the item looks better accompanied by different items, Schneider said. She also suggested having a friend, family member or professional organizer help with an unbiased opinion.
Decide who gets each closet, drawer space and storage space, Schneider said.
Get Rid of Duplicates
If you have two coffeemakers, microwaves and blenders, choose the newest and nicest of the two.
“I know it’s hard, but give away, sell or donate doubles,” said professional organizer Lisa Woodruff, owner of Organize 365 in Cincinnati. Or if you really can’t part with items, rent a self-storage unit to keep them outside of the home.
Put It in Storage
You’ve purged and compromised, but you still have stuff that you want to hold on to; consider renting a storage unit.
It’s a viable option so you’re not tripping over items you’re saving, but not using on a daily basis, Woodruff said.
“People cannot go from having too much to exactly what they need in one fell swoop,” Woodruff said, “Making them donate or get rid of everything right away is really hard. It’s like your psyche has to catch up with what’s happening.”
Friel suggests that most couples merging households should consider self-storage as a temporary solution and have a plan for moving items back into the home or getting rid of them.
Try Full-Service Storage
If you live in an urban city, pick-up and delivery storage services like MakeSpace, Closetbox and Clutter will pick-up your items and put them in storage for you. When you want something back, you can have it delivered back to you at the press of a button.
“We create a photo inventory so anytime from your laptop or phone you can see what you have in storage, and you can even use those photos if you want to list something on Craigslist,” said Emma Gordon, storage specialist at Los Angeles-based storage startup Clutter.
Or once you move into your new home, you can easily rotate in stored items because they’re dropped off right at your doorstep.
“You can move without having to make decisions right away of what to keep and where to put it,” Gordon said.
Schneider said on-demand storage is ideal for people living in limited space like in New York City apartments.
“People can’t store anything there because they live in a box,” Schneider said. “So if they want to save something, those services are fantastic.”