Thursday, May 23, 2013

Combining Households from Two to One

Article by Jennifer Adams

Congratulations, you’re moving in together! You just got married! Or, you’re in a committed relationship and are ready to take it to the next level. Or you’re moving back home, or having a child move back in with you. Or, getting a roommate. Whatever your circumstances are, a little planning before combining households will help keep things smooth.

There will be plenty to discuss than just décor. Talk about chores, pet responsibilities, child care if necessary, curfews, splitting finances and errands. Many potentially relationship-ending misunderstandings come from sharing finances and different preferences for cleanliness, entertaining hours and events. Food and beverage separation is another big topic!

Here are a few of my favorite tips for successfully sharing a household, especially if you’re engaged or in a committed romantic relationship.

Talk with a lawyer to work out some of the financial logistics, or at least talk with each other and write down your ideas before moving in. Some questions to address are whose name(s) go on the lease, agreement, loan or title, and how will the utilities be split up.

 “Purge before you merge.” If you have less stuff to move in the first place, you’ll have fewer items to deal with later. For some really interesting information on how to handle things if you have a different attitude toward stuff than your partner, read “11 Ways to Merge two Households into One: a Must for Newlyweds!” by Rivka Slatkin, published on Yahoo! Voices.

Keep the best and toss the rest. Donate the ratty pots and pans, keep the nicer ones until you can shop for new stuff together. Allow each other to keep a few sentimental objects or favorites, especially if they’re small. If there is truly something you cannot agree whether to keep or toss, literally put aside your argument. Unless it’s alive, like a plant or pet, box it up and save it for a year. Open it up again later and see what you both think.

Try hard to blend your décor styles if they’re radically different. Keep the public areas of the home neutral, though private areas like bedrooms and baths can be more personal. If you have duplication of furniture, for example, two sofas, put the nicest one where it will get the most use. Be creative, if you have two dining tables, use the smaller one as a desk!

 Look for similarities in your furnishings such as wood tones and color. Use those together for a cohesive look, and accent with contrasting items. Take turns choosing what art goes where if you’re struggling. Flip a coin to see who goes first!

If possible, choose your new home together so you’ll start fresh, as equal partners. If that’s not feasible, start by cleaning out the clutter and starting with a clean of a slate as possible. Paint in neutral colors, choose important pieces like your bed together, and have fun putting it all together.

Lastly, make sure you each have a corner or whole room to call your own. A desk, a "man cave," a hobby center, something, someplace in your new house that you can express yourself will be rewarding. As much as you may now have a life together, try to indulge in a separate interest. 

Share your personal stories! We want to know what went well or what went wrong. For more information, see the “Tips for Combining Households” here, from Apartment Therapy.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 


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