When a couple ties the knot, the two partners pledge to join together in a lifelong union. But they also agree to combine all of their stuff. And in many cases, that’s a lot of accumulated furniture, collectibles, kitchen items and other gear.
The process of weeding through what to keep and what to let go creates stress for some newlyweds, professional organizer Monica Friel said.
“Sometimes there is tension around those things,” Friel said. “One of them will say, ‘Why do you need to save that?’”
Merging Your Belongings
People become attached to things, Friel said, and emotions can be strong.
“We deal with a lot of married couples who are merging two homes,” she said. “There are situations where one or other in the relationship will be more the neatnik.”
Professional organizers like Friel provide an objective voice and set of eyes that help couples zero in on what should and should not be kept.
“Having someone not emotionally attached to the stuff is helpful,” Friel said. “You come in as an outsider and you ask the questions: ‘Why are you holding on to this?’ Is Grandma’s rocking chair worth the real estate that it is taking up?’”
Friel generally encourages couples to eliminate as much of their excess clutter as they can.
The Role of Self-Storage
However, in some cases, couples still find themselves with too many things and not enough space to store them.
Tom Maxfield, national operations director at Addison, TX-based Move It Storage Management, said he once met with a young couple trying to sort through their possessions. In addition to older items each person brought to the marriage, they also had to deal with a generous amount of shower and wedding gifts.
“They were overwhelmed,” Maxfield said.
The couple ended up renting the largest unit that Move It Storage offers. The situation can be worse for older couples, he said.
“You’d be surprised at the people who are marrying later in life,” Maxfield said. “Obviously, they have accumulated a lot of stuff.”
In many cases, storage is needed for just a short period while couples adjust to and become comfortable with their new living situation. But in other cases, storage can be a more permanent solution, Maxfield said. For example, long-term storage makes sense for couples who own seasonal cutlery or china.
“What many young couples learn is that for their winter holiday items—Christmas trees, Christmas china—storage is a great option,” Maxfield said.
During the winter, summer deck chairs, barbecue pits and other warm-weather items can be moved into storage, he said.
Self-storage makes sense anytime a home becomes overrun with stuff, Maxfield said. He offers this advice to newlyweds: “Don’t overload your living space to where it becomes uncomfortable.”
Developing a Plan
Friel suggests self-storage as an option for some couples. “There’s definitely a place for storage,” she said.
However, Friel urges most couples to view self-storage as a temporary solution. She advises them to put a longer-term plan in place for either moving items back into the home or parting with them.
“We always like to encourage clients to have a plan,” she said.
Overall, Friel encourages couples to see the task of combining their stuff as less of a chore and more of an opportunity.
“Moving is the best time to get organized,” she said. “So if they focus on that fact—let’s use this as an opportunity to get organized, to simplify and to start fresh—it makes it much easier.”
Bottom image courtesy of Northwest Self Storage