Merging Households: 6 Tips for Managing Extra Items

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Combining households can be an exciting milestone, but it also presents a unique challenge: managing all the extra items. When two people merge their belongings, it can quickly lead to clutter, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and potential conflicts over what to keep or get rid of.

To avoid this, you must adopt a proactive and objective approach from the very start. Here are six tips to help you manage extra items when merging households.

Consider Self-Storage

If you’re having trouble letting go of certain belongings or if you simply have too many items to neatly fit in your new shared living space, a self-storage unit can provide a great solution.

Look for a secure, climate-controlled facility that offers different unit sizes to choose from based on your storage needs. This allows you to clear out clutter while hanging onto items you may want later on.

Take Inventory

Before you start packing or moving a single box, take a thorough inventory of both households. Make a detailed list of every item, no matter how small, and categorize them (e.g., furniture, kitchen items, electronics, clothing, books, etc.).

This will give you a clear and comprehensive picture of exactly what you have and what you might need to purge, sell, donate, or find storage for. Having it all written out will help you make smart decisions.

Get Rid of Duplicates

With two households’ worth of items coming together, you’ll likely end up with multiples of many things like kitchen gadgets, towels, decorations, and more. Go through your inventory lists and decide which duplicate items you genuinely want and need to keep and which ones you can get rid of.

Be ruthless—if you or your partner haven’t used or worn something in over a year, it’s probably safe to donate or sell it. Letting go of extras creates space.

Prioritize Sentimental Items

Of course, some possessions hold deep sentimental value that goes beyond practicality or function. So, as you’re going through your stuff, decide which specific items are truly meaningful to you and your partner due to personal history, family connections, or emotional significance.

Make sure to respectfully keep and make space for those items. However, you both must be realistic—you simply cannot keep every single object, so be prepared to make some tough choices and pick your battles.

Downsize Furniture

Furniture tends to be some of the bulkiest, most space-consuming items when merging households. You may find that combining two home’s worth of sofas, tables, dressers and more is just too much for one residence.

Together, decide which furniture pieces you truly want and need to keep based on size, condition, style preferences, and functionality. Then, sell or donate the other pieces you won’t be using to downsize appropriately.

Create a Functional Layout

Once you’ve edited your stuff down through purging, donating, and finding storage, it’s time to create an intentional, functional layout and design for your new shared living space. Consider traffic flow, natural focal points, and how you’ll use each room or area every day.

Arrange furniture and place remaining decor in a way that maximizes space, promotes comfort and convenience, and makes logical sense for your specific lifestyle needs.

Build Your New Shared Future

Merging households is a major life transition that can feel overwhelming due to the volume of stuff accumulating. But with careful planning, open communication, objectivity, and a willingness to declutter, you can create a comfortable and organized living space.


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