My husband and I have one similarity that is rather unfortunate: we are both a little messy. Our organization style is piles. Yet, we usually know where everything is as long as something doesn’t get moved. Now before you imagine our house as something from a hoarders show, it isn’t that bad! But I knew that we were going to have a problem if we didn’t get it more under control before all our stuff came to reside in the same house.
After all, all newlyweds or couples merging homes find themselves in a similar situation. How do we take all the stuff we have individually and somehow throw it all together and make a home that is ours? It’s definitely a process.
We’ve been married over two months now and I wish that I could say that our house is spotless, completely organized, and there aren’t any boxes left to be unpacked. But I can’t. We might have goals or a timeline for everything being exactly the way that want them to be in our homes, but it’s likely that with everything else we have on our plates it isn’t going to happen as quickly as we want it to. Here is some of what I’ve learned so far about how to cut down on the feeling of being overwhelmed.
1. Do Some Prep Work
If you are able to, prepare for moving in together by purging. Instead of moving everything you own, get rid of things. Decide together which furniture you will be keeping and what will work in the home you will have together. It’s better to talk about it in advance instead off having battles over which couch is staying in the living room later.
Do an inventory of items that there might be duplicates of, especially in the kitchen. You can never have too much silverware, but to you really need multiple coffee makers, crock pots, or large electronics? Donate items, have a garage sale, or advertise them for sale on Craigslist. A little extra cash can help pay for moving costs or things that you need for your new home together.
Sort through the things that have accumulated in your closet, desk, and cabinets. If you are going to be sharing a closet and a bathroom, masses of clothing or personal care products that you don’t use will just make things more chaotic and cluttered.
2. Make Clutter Free Zones
Have a room or rooms that you focus on keeping nice and clutter free all the time, even if the rest of the house isn’t under control in the early stages.
I’ve decided that this will be our living room, where we spend the most time. It also means that we can potentially have people over without worrying about what that space looks like at any given time.
When your environment is a mess, it can be distracting and overwhelming. Having areas that stay clutter free, organized, and peaceful can promote mental peace even in a time that is full of change and adjustments.
3. Have a staging area
As much as you would have liked to have everything in order before you moved in together, it might just not happen. So regulate the mess to one area of your home.
We are lucky enough to be in a house instead of a small apartment, so I have a room in which to put things that I just don’t know what to do with right now. If you don’t have a entire room, use a closet or simply have an area that everything that doesn’t have a home yet goes to cut down on chaos all over the place.
4. assign tasks
Making your living space a home is not just the wife’s responsibility, although it traditionally has been. Decide what tasks need to be done and then split them up according to your strengths. I’ve found that sometimes I need to get specific when I need help with tasks around the house. My husband can’t read my mind, although I’d like him to automatically just know when something needs to be done.
5. Have Yours, Mine, and Ours Spaces
Just because you are moving in together doesn’t mean that you have lost your separate identities. My husband needs a space to display his sports memorabilia and I need space for my books. When creating a home that is “ours” it is important to remember that you need space that is just yours too. It may be a desk to work at, a place to display artwork that you love, or somewhere to store your craft supplies. So make sure that you have a chance to express yourself in your new space together, and your husband has his “man cave” area as well.
Also personalize your new space together with things that represent your relationship. Start using your wedding gifts and put up pictures. Purchase at least one item together to start off with, whether it is a piece of artwork or a new couch. This goes a long way to making your space more homey and creating an area that is yours together.