Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Moving in with a partner is stressful. Good and stressful. It’s easy for either party to get their back up against a wall. Below are 3 suggestions on how to navigate this process harmoniously when it comes to your stuff:
Quick story: 4 years ago I moved in with my partner, Dan, and promptly de-cluttered and rearranged all his stuff. Prepare yourself to be surprised: he wasn’t pleased - I didn’t ask and he didn’t want it done.
1.) Lesson #1: Leave your partner’s stuff alone – If you haven’t asked and they haven’t agreed to it being touched, hands off. If they’ve said they don’t mind, go for it, you’re in the clear! You have more of a leg to stand on if it’s in a common place and causing you stress. But if it’s behind closed closet doors that you don’t open, take a deep breath and move on. Hopefully over time they will change their mind but going behind their back is going to do damage that is hard to undo. In my home my husband has a shelf (yes, I am a control freak) that I’m not allowed to touch.
2.) Lesson #2: Play to your strengths – A friend of mine recently had his wife talk to me because she has an issue with organization. Turns out that she doesn’t have an issue with organization, it’s just not her priority, which is totally fine. Organization is important to him and so it is his job (with her permission) to take care of it. In my home, I’m in charge of tidying because I care about it and it’s something I like to do. Likewise, my husband is in charge of cooking and grocery shopping – if it were up to me we would eat microwave meals. We play to our strengths and it works. If your partner is not into organization but agrees to follow the systems you’ve put into place, that’s a great compromise.
3.) Lesson #3: Compromise – There are certain items that are more important to you than others and the same is true for your partner. Try to make sure that you both get to hold on to your favorites and make compromises about the rest. If one person would lay their life on the line to keep their favorite piece of artwork that they’ve had since college (say a monkey wearing a suit, just as an example not taken from real life), maybe it doesn’t need to live front and center in the main living area and can have a cozy home in the hallway.
Moving in with a partner can be wonderful and incredibly stressful at the same time but if you remember the word compromise (I know, I hate it too), it can be done somewhat harmoniously. Do I wish that Dan would just let me make all the decisions on décor and stuff? Obviously. But then he reminds me that I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who has no opinions – touché.
Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.