Having just gone through the process of combining homes with my now HUSBAND, I've gathered my top 5 tips for newlyweds to get ahead and start your first home together strong, functional, and clutter-free.
1. PREPARE TO COMPROMISE. Decide now that you will be open to compromise with your partner when it comes to the way you organize and live in your shared home. They say compromise is the secret to a happy marriage--and it's definitely the secret to a happy home life. From the day you say "I do" you are no longer making decisions solely based on what you want for your home, it's a team effort now and both opinions matter.
2. TAKE INVENTORY. Make a list of what you already own, together and separately. This process helps you identify any duplicates, what you definitely don't need anymore, and what you do need for your new home together. Items needed can be added to your WEDDING REGISTRY! Myregistry.com allows you to combine multiple registries into 1 easy-to-access universal list. Read the fine print for all your registry retailers and don't be afraid to return items for store credit. Ex: If you want a spend-y new toy but don't think guests will splurge for it, consider registering for several small-medium priced items that you can return for store credit. Use your store credit (and the famous Bed, Bath, and Beyond 20% off coupon) to purchase the big ticket item you're heart is set on. Drumroll please, ROBOT VACUUM!
3. TRIM THE FAT. We can all benefit from regularly purging our spaces. Combining homes with your partner is the perfect opportunity to toss items you no longer need or use instead of packing them to be dealt with later (never). Be ruthless with your own stuff and try not to point out the work your partner needs to do. Your stuff needs your full and complete attention. If you have a big stack of memorabilia, consider taking photos of the items you want to keep. Print the photos (and toss the physical item) and store them in a clear shoe box labeled "memories". Consider how much physical and mental space you create for new memories when you honor the old memories in a space-efficient way.
4. CREATE BOUNDARIES. Everything in life is a boundaries issue, and when it comes to combining living spaces it's extremely important that you set some. When the time comes to move in together, establish personal spaces before unpacking any items. Your new life together doesn't mean you have to give up your individuality, your right to privacy, or your 3 hour night-time routine. If you have the luxury, do not share a bathroom. I repeat: DO NOT SHARE A BATHROOM. Some things in marriage should remain a mystery to keep the love alive (like how often, or not, he cuts his toenails). If you're forced to share a bathroom, designate drawers, cabinets, or "sides" to separate your stuff and agree to share the time you both spend in this space. These are my favorite wire baskets to use for all things bathroom organizing.
5. IMPLEMENT SYSTEMS. To ensure you are really starting your new home together off on the right foot, create systems that work for your lifestyle and routines. Consider registering for a few quality organizing products that will help you keep your home in order! I recommend starting in the kitchen as this is most likely where most of your registry items will be stored. Here's my favorite over the door pantry storage system, and drawer organizers that make me say mmmmmmm!