Merging two households into one means getting on the same page with your partner. But from duplicate items (two waffle irons? Gasp! Whose do you choose?), to clashing tastes (that old, plaid recliner with your new, microfiber couch), seeing eye-to-eye can be easier said than done. Want to prevent your peaceful abode from turning into a war zone? Here are ways to bypass potential conflict and pull off a smooth, happy transition.

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Merging two households together can be done!

Do A Proactive Purge

Sure, you understand why you need eighty-six pairs of shoes. Your new closet-mate, strangely, may not. The reality is, even if you’re not the one moving, you’re going to need all the space you can get. Start by sorting through your closets, storage rooms, cupboards and drawers, etc. and put your stuff into three piles: “keep”, “get rid of” and “not sure”. It’s also good to distinguish your must-have items so you can talk it out with your partner before you take the next step. Just remember to be selective: if you have a three-page list of must-haves, your partner’s entitled to the same.

Get Rid Of Duplicates

Most people don’t have the need to house two washer-and-dryer sets under one roof, let alone the space. So how do you decide which duplicates to keep? Compare and contrast every last item, starting with biggies like living room furniture, and choose the higher quality example like the newer, sharper set of knives or the extremely expensive but worth-the-splurge bedroom set. Once you start making leeway, it’s easy to pinpoint which items are in better condition and worth keeping.  You can off load your duplicate items by selling or donating them to charity.

 Factor In Sentimental Value

Prized possessions, like your grandmother’s dining room table, are one thing. That space-hogging treadmill you bought at a garage sale and used once is a complete other. Be sure to recognize the line between holding onto items that are near and dear, and hoarding “just because”. Remember, cohabiting means compromising, and a little understanding will go a long way.  Be conscious of putting too much pressure on your partner to depart with belongings that have sentimental value.

Keep An Open Mind

It may be easy to see that ugly old chair as nothing but an eyesore, but if your partner’s heart is set on keeping it, it might be time to get creative. Hate the color? Sweetly suggest recovering it to extend its life and make it jive with the rest of the room. Slouchy shape? Pretty it up with some decorative pillows. Another thing: don’t underestimate the power of context. That neon sign or giant fish head may seem cringe-worthy amid the atrocities of a bachelor pad, but it could come off as boldly hip or stylishly ironic if accented the right way in a different setting. Long story short, try not to say no prematurely, and don’t be afraid of trial and error.

Celebrate!

So you’ve managed to give and take, agree on a decorating scheme, and meld all of your possessions together into a cohesive home. What do you do now? Celebrate!

Make a nice dinner to celebrate a relationship unscathed, or go out for a romantic dinner to finesse away any lingering sore spots. Another brilliant way to bond: buy something jointly meaningful for your new home that is yours together. If you have room, that is.

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