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Combining Households: A Guide For Moving In Together

Katie Ziraldo3 minute read
September 28, 2022

Moving in together can be an exciting time, but it may take some work. After all, you’re talking about combining two separate lives into one shared home.

When you both have your own furniture, appliances and decor, it can be hard to choose what should stay and what should go. And if your partner’s furniture doesn’t complement yours, you may have some difficult decisions to make.

So, how can you navigate combining households from a place of partnership and understanding? Let’s get into it.

How To Successfully Combine Two Households

Merging two households can be a tricky endeavor. Quite often, different family members have different visions of what they want their home to look like – so how do you design a space that everyone can love in their new home?

Set Boundaries And Ground Rules

Getting rid of belongings isn’t a fun task, especially if they have sentimental value. But when you’re merging two separate houses into one shared home, you can’t forget that your partner is likely feeling the same way about their belongings. It’s important to compromise with each other throughout this process. For instance, if your partner is letting you keep your mattress and headboard, it’s only fair that you let them keep something of theirs in exchange.

Some household decisions may not be so easily agreed upon. Let’s say one person adamantly dislikes the other’s furniture. There are design options to work around this – from reupholstering to adjusting how the furniture is styled in the space – but it’s important to be respectful of your partner’s taste and point of view.

Open communication and a strategy for handling conflict are critical in this process. And in the event that you’re both unable to compromise, you can always consider hiring a professional for some decorating help.

Measure Your New Space

Understanding how much space you have and what you want to do with it is also crucial when combining households. Start by identifying the spaces you need, then consider where those needs can be best met within the house. For example, if one person works from home, it’s probably a no-brainer to have an office space. But if both occupants have desks, you may need two separate workspaces, one combined workspace or you may need to get rid of one desk altogether if space is limited.

Once you’ve identified a room’s primary use, measuring will help to determine which pieces of furniture to keep and which to sell or donate, which can help you settle on a home decor style.

Downsize And Prioritize

Downsizing and decluttering are important steps when moving in together, but it can sometimes be tricky to know where to start. We recommend beginning this step by taking inventory of everything you and your partner have. To break it down even further, consider this on a room-by-room basis.

For example, in your kitchen alone, you probably have several duplicate items between yourself and your partner, such as multiple coffee makers, microwaves and an assortment of serving utensils you will likely never use. Once you’ve taken inventory of each room in the house, you and your partner will be able to easily identify where you have duplicates and what you may still need to purchase.

Address The Budget

Combining households means more than simply decorating a shared space. As important as it is to foster a physical environment where both individuals can feel at home, it’s equally important to ensure both parties are on the same page when it comes to household finances.

Will you be splitting each bill payment? Will one person be responsible for utility bills while another pays for groceries? A good way to level set shared household finances is by building a budget upfront to ensure each individual is aware of their monthly costs as it relates to their income.

Embrace Alone Time

Shared living spaces can be great, but no matter how much you love your partner, we all require a little personal space from time to time. It’s important to set boundaries and spend some time apart, especially when you’re first moving in together.

Remember that enjoying your “me time” doesn’t mean you’re not excited to be living with your partner. Quality time with them is important, but quality time with yourself is just as important!

The Bottom Line

From freeing up closet space to deciding on a couch to feature in the living room, there are many decisions to make when you’re combining households. The most important thing throughout this process is to be respectful of your partner’s opinions and make compromises along the way to foster a space you can both call home.

If you’re preparing to pack up your belongings, read more on how to deal with the ups and downs of moving.

Get a professional opinion.

Find local interior decorators to help on HomeAdvisor.

Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo found her love of writing through her experience working with various newspapers, such as the Detroit Free Press. Her financial literacy stems from her four years as a Recruiter, when she learned the details of every role in the mortgage process. As a writer, she uses that knowledge to create relevant content for homeowners to help them reach their goals.