When my now-husband and I were preparing to get married and move in together, we were hit with a pretty startling reality: we had a ridiculous amount of stuff. I had just moved back from living in Brooklyn for two year and was suddenly faced with the task of moving my belongings, including what I had left in my family's house, into our future home. I thought this would be no big deal, since I had been living in a single bedroom in New York. I forgot to allow for everything I had left behind, as well as all the stuff my husband owned! After all, we were going to have three bedrooms! Wrong.
As I gradually carried things over to his house, and we started putting clothes away, it was apparent we would need to do some major purging. We got to work and soon there was a mountain of clothing in the unfurnished bedroom to haul off to donate. Much of the clothes had not been worn in years! We were astonished.
We have quickly learned in a year and a half of marriage that there are a few keys to creating a home where both partners can feel like they belong: reducing the clutter, finding things you both love, and compromising.
Reduce the Clutter: When you move in with your spouse, you now have double the belongings. Odds are, you have multiples of the same kitchen gadgets, your own towels and linens, maybe even your own furniture. Do you really need two coffee makers? And that's before all the wedding gifts your registered for (and some you didn't) come in! It can be completely overwhelming to look at. It is important to assess which items you actually need and will use. As much as I love Pyrex dishes, I did not need 10!
Find Things You Both Love: It is crucial for both partners to take ownership in their home. Talk to each other about what “home” feels like and looks like to each if you. What colors do you imagine? Are you more rustic, antique, or modern? It is also important to have your personal space in the home, somewhere you might share, but you might get a little more say in the decorating and upkeep of this area. For my husband, his space is the music room. For me, it is the dining room. The space doesn't not have to be a space where you have a hobby or work. It just needs to be somewhere you enjoy spending time.
Compromise: There will be times you have to pick your battles and agree to disagree. One of you will have a favorite knick-knack you cannot persuade the other to part with. In our house this is the life-sized ceramic Persian cat. My husband loves it (despite his dislike of cats) because it reminds him of a relative. I personally find it creepy and dislike that it clashes with everything in our house. We finally came to a compromise: he could keep it, provided it stays in the office, out of sight.
Marriage can be a big transition, especially when it comes to moving in with someone and sharing your life together. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you are feeling overwhelmed with combing belongings and with the influx of wedding gifts, contact me! I would love to help. I have been there.
Peace and Love,