“Romance is wonderful,” Brody said, “but let’s be real here: part of why Sami and I decided to move in together is that it’s much better to pay rent on just one place in Manhattan. The money we save can be put away for when we’re ready to take our relationship to the next level and maybe buy a place of our own.”
“That’s right,” Sami agreed, “But in the meantime, we’ve got all of this stuff and no where to put it.” Brody and Sami are typical young professionals: each had accumulated the basic household necessities along the way since graduating from college, but neither had much in the way of possessions they felt really attached to. “So in the cases where we’ve got two of the same thing, what’s the best way to decide what to keep and what to chuck? I want to be fair about it,” she added, “although a lot of my stuff is just objectively better than what Brody has.”
This type of confusion isn’t all that unusual. In the decades we’ve been helping couples move in New York City, we’ve seen plenty of discussion and even some heated disputes about the best way to combine two households’ worth of possessions into the space of one. Here’s what we’ve learned along the way:
You may not know that your darling has a bookcase full of role playing games he absolutely intends to keep; likewise, he may be surprised by your collection of vintage typewriters. Conducting a thorough inventory ahead of time allows you to plan adequate space for items you may have otherwise never even dreamed existed!
Identify Obvious Duplicate Items: Most couples don’t need two waffle makers or a pair of ironing boards. If neither of you has a sentimental attachment to the item in question, choose to keep the one that will serve your needs better. The duplicate can be sold, donated or given to friends who are setting up their own place.
Honor Each Other’s Feelings: Sometimes household goods or other possessions are important to us not because of their inherent value but because they came from someone special, or they’re representative of a personal triumph, or have other deep meaning. Whenever possible, you want to honor your sweetheart’s feelings about their possessions; if there’s absolutely positively no space for items that are meaningful to them, talk to your moving company about potential storage options.
Sometimes More Is Better: While life in NYC does demand a certain ruthless minimalism, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to increase your supply of bath towels or bed sheets or coffee mugs. If you’re not sure how much of something the two of you will really need, start off by keeping everything you’ve got: there’s always time to thin out your collection later on if it truly turns out to be too much!
What’s your moving story?