This post did not start out this way, but as I was writing about hosting a cookout tonight and being thankful I had stayed on top of my cleaning schedule, I took random tangent. But then I thought, “This is actually something that someone may need to know” – and it does deal with organization and cleaning, so I’ll go with it. Plus, I think the advice is applicable to anyone.
At the time of our wedding last summer, my husband was 28, and I was 27. We waited until just before the wedding to start moving in together, so he had lived in an apartment, and I had owned my house for several years. This means we each had everything we really needed for our current living arrangements. And that means we had two households worth of stuff to consolidate.
HIS STUFF + MY STUFF
Not to mention, I had lived in the house for several years AND accumulated a lot of junk. When you’ve got 1,750 square feet of space to yourself and you like to hold on to random junk, you can accumulate quite a bit. I’m talking stacks of old bills I thought I needed to hang on to for who knows what reason, magazines I never read but thought I might someday, several random bins of who-knows-what that I had attached some sort of emotional meaning to and couldn’t throw away. That kind of stuff – you know, junk.
HIS STUFF + MY STUFF + MY JUNK
Then we’ve got shower and wedding gifts. We are both blessed with large families and many friends and while we had dreams of a small, intimate weddings, that was quickly out of the question. And not to sound gift-grabby, but a large wedding means a large amount of gifts – and that means you need a lot of space. I had been displaying the gifts from our showers in the living room, thinking I did not want to start using them until we were settled in together – but that got a little out of control.
HIS STUFF + MY STUFF + MY JUNK + WEDDING GIFTS
Then, if you’re a DIY bride like I was, you’ve got wedding stuff. I won’t really get into the massive amount of stuff that I had to make our invitations and programs as well as decorate the church and reception venue, but I will say that because I am creative and like things my way, plus we didn’t want to spend an excessive amount of money, I wanted to do just about everything myself – and that meant there was A LOT of stuff. Trying to keep it organized so everything could easily be taken where it needed to be the day before the wedding was not easy. And that stuff doesn’t just disappear after the wedding. I had already lined up several other brides who wanted to buy some of the things I had, but some of the stuff was still around for a while (some of it still is…).
HIS STUFF + MY STUFF + MY JUNK + WEDDING GIFTS + WEDDING STUFF
We started the merging process a little at a time. A few weeks before the wedding, while the wedding gifts were starting to pile up in the living room and wedding stuff was starting to pile up in the den, we slowly started bringing over boxes of his stuff and going through my stuff. He would bring over things from one room at a time, and we would work on deciding which items we would keep and which needed to be donated. The things to be donated were piled into the guest bedroom.
HIS STUFF + MY STUFF + MY JUNK + WEDDING GIFTS + WEDDING STUFF + THINGS TO BE DONATED
Somewhere in the middle of this whole process, we decided it was time to finally finish the living room renovation by having carpet installed, and we got such a good deal on carpet, we though we’d have the bedrooms redone.
HIS STUFF + MY STUFF + MY JUNK + WEDDING GIFTS + WEDDING STUFF + THINGS TO BE DONATED + FURNITURE AND EVERYTHING ELSE MOVED INTO THE KITCHEN AND DEN = CHAOS
So here’s my point and advice: the merging of two households creates a lot of stuff.
It’s going to take time to organize. Don’t be surprised if it takes a little while to set up the house. It’s not going to happen overnight.
Purge before trying to consolidate. BOTH OF YOU – not just the one moving.
Create a plan. Talk about space constraints, ideas for the spaces, and maybe even a sentimental objects limit.
Don’t attach emotions to inanimate objects. Placing sentimental value on things leads to hoarding. Okay – maybe that’s a little extreme, but it does make it unnecessarily hard to get rid of things (which is why it’s a good idea to talk about that before you start!).
Compromise and be respectful of one another. Work together – you’re on the same team now.
Go ahead and start using the gifts. They take up too much space to store.
And do not, I repeat, do NOT think it’s a good time to renovate something amidst all the stuff.
I will say that even though the house was a disaster at times, the whole move in process went really well for us, other than just taking so long to get organized.