Merging Two Households of Stuff

IMG_2302 This post title sounds like I know what I’m doing, when I clearly am learning along the way. The boyfriend and I are in the process of merging our households. We’ve both been living on our own so we each have an entire household full of stuff. Living in the same house has been awesome so far, but we’re still figuring out how to combine all our stuff into one functioning space. This is further complicated by the fact that we are living in my house, not a new space. So how did we merge two households of stuff? Here’s what we’ve learned so far…

Don’t take it personally

We HAVE to get rid of stuff. We can’t live with two households of stuff in one house. Plus, we do not need so much stuff. And that means someone’s stuff has to go. We’re trying to be fair about it (see next item), but detaching from my stuff emotionally helps make things easier. After all, it’s now really all OUR stuff.

Keep the nicer or more useful version

Agreeing to some ground rules helps keep things fair. Our first rule is that we keep the nicer or more useful item. We both have coffee makers. They’re both nice, but mine has a timer so we can set it the night before. That timer is a feature that is both important to us, so we kept my coffee maker. This makes decision-making more straight forward. IMG_2304

Have established places for discarded items

Our second rule is to define spaces. We picked one side of the garage to be for garage sale items, and once it goes into the garage it’s never coming back in the house. That means once the garage sale is over, the rest is either being donated, recycled, or going to the trash. We also have a place for things that need more time to be sorted, like paperwork and tools (The Boyfriend has a LOT of tools). IMG_2303

Schedule a date to get rid of extras

Having a date already picked out for a garage sale, dump haul, etc will give you a goal to finish sorting everything. We set ours about a month and a half out, so we have plenty of time to sort but we won’t be living in an episode of Hoarders forever.

Make a plan of attack

Our plan of attack has been for The Boyfriend to start unpacking his boxes and sort as he goes, and simultaneously I’ve been going through my stuff and getting rid of my things as we put his away. Then all the extras go out to the garage. This way we do one space at a time, kitchen, office, closet, etc.


We have a joke that The Boyfriend and I each get three veto’s of the other one’s stuff. Neither one of us have used them yet (he’s got pretty great stuff), so I’m still wondering if it’s a good idea. Hopefully we can talk it out without having to resort to a veto, but it’s still early…

Put all decor items together

Putting all your wall art together in one place makes it easier to make new combinations as you start decorating your walls. Since The Boyfriend moved into my house, I took all the art off the walls so we could really start from scratch. This also gave us a chance to see the space in a new light, which has been fun. IMG_2299

Take a break

Remember to take a break. This should be a fun, exciting time after all! We’ve been trying to mix up the unpacking and sorting with nice dinners, movie breaks, and a camping trip (of course). Actually leaving for a couple days was something we both needed. IMG_2121

Plan a house project together

Once you’ve all moved in, figure out something that needs to be done, (painting, buying a coffee table, etc) and use it as time to really make the house “ours”. We decided to install new cabinets in the garage (which are AWESOME and will be highlighted in an upcoming post).

For those who have combined households, any advice for me, The Boyfriend, or others?

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