Getting married is signing up to share your life with your partner. While parts of the whole “sharing your life” thing are symbolic, others are real and quite tangible—namely moving in together.

If you don’t already live together, moving in together is the start of planning your future as newlyweds. And it’s no small feat. After all, you’re literally coming together to share your lives and your living space—and all the kitchen utensils, throw pillows, and electronics that go with it.

It doesn’t have to be stressful, though, even if you’re both bursting with home goods. Here’s how to combine your things and move in together as simply as possible.

Take inventory of your stuff…

First things first, you need to take stock of what you both have. Chances are you both have a lot of the same things. It’s a waste of time to pack and move two sets of anything you don’t need two sets of. Take an inventory of everything in your current living space and have your partner do the same.

Then, get together, compare lists, and look for opportunities to either sell or donate duplicate items you won’t need now that you’re moving in together. Here are a few examples of larger items you both might have:

You don’t want to start your new life in your new space bogged down by too much stuff—plus, again, why move all that extra stuff anyway? (Bonus: this is also a great way to figure out what to add to your registry if you're not already married!)

Now, there might be some duplicate items that you want to keep—and that’s totally fine! For example, if you and your SO both have TVs, you might want to keep them both. Use one in your new bedroom and one in the living room or another common space. Just make sure that you’re actually going to use both items.

Zola Inlineimage 1080x720 Photo Credit // Zola

...and of your space.

Before you move in together, you and your SO have to take inventory of your stuff—but you also need to take inventory of your space. There’s a limit to how much stuff can fit into any space. So before you decide who is bringing what, it’s important to evaluate your new home and figure out what there’s actually room for—and what items might need to be left behind.

For example, you might love your king-sized bed, but if your new bedroom is smaller than your current digs, bring your partner’s queen. Then, sell or donate your mattress and bed frame. Once you know how much room you’re working with, choose the items that make the most sense within the space.

How to Decide Between Duplicates

One of the challenges of combining stuff is deciding whose stuff stays and whose goes. Some items will prove easy to decide between, but others not so much. When the answer’s not clear, consider the following:

  • Size: Which item is going to fit best in your space and with your other furniture? Bigger isn’t always better.
  • Condition: Is one item newer than the other? Is one more dinged up than the other? A newer appliance may last longer than a well-loved one.
  • Quality: Is one of the items a higher-quality brand or known to last longer than the other brand? Take the nicer knives.

Zola InlineImage 1080x720 Photo Credit // Zola

Make space for each other.

A new home is an opportunity for both of you to make it your own. However, if one of you is moving into the other’s space, it can be a bit more challenging for you both to claim ownership. So, make space for each other.

If your SO is moving into your place, make sure you put in the extra effort to make them feel at home—and let them know that it’s no longer “your” place, but “our” place. Clear out space in the closet. Swap out some of your furniture so your SO has room to bring some of their own pieces. Rearrange your layout together so you both have a sense of ownership of the space. If you’re the one making the move into your partner’s home, ask for those same things.

The most important thing is to make sure you both feel at home—regardless of who’s home it was first.

Prepare to compromise.

No matter how in sync you and your partner are, there’s going to be at least an item or two in each of your respective homes that the other isn’t thrilled about. Enter: compromise.

Everyone has things they love or attach sentimental value to. So, you and your partner both need to be willing to compromise on at least a few of those things for each other. For example, you might not love comic books, but if your partner has been collecting comics since they were a kid, it’s important to make space in your new home for them to display their collection (it doesn’t have to be the living room).

Compromise is part of any happy, healthy marriage—and if you can compromise with your partner on the items that are meaningful to them (even if those items mean nothing to you), it will make the process of combining your things and moving in together a lot smoother.

Take a break.

No matter how excited you are to be moving in together, it’s a stressful process. So, take regular breaks. If you find yourself growing agitated when your SO takes up too much closet space or your partner seems snappier than usual, press pause and do something else.

Hit your favorite spot for dinner, go for a walk, or find another way to take a breather and disconnect. The point is, moving is inherently taxing. If you don’t want the stress to feel overwhelming, it’s important to step away every once in a while and spend some time with your partner (away from all the boxes that still need to be packed/unpacked).

Happy moving!

Combining your things and moving in together can be tricky. Employ these tips and try your best to stay calm and composed. You’ll be happily moved, the perfect amount of stuff in tow, before you know it.