I knew a bit of compromise would be necessary when my boyfriend and I decided to move in together after a year of long-distance communication. One of the biggest challenges would be trying to figure out how we can fit the things we both wanted into a single household.
I took the time to clean my previous apartment and came away with a lot of items to donate or throw away. However, I had still accumulated a lot of belongings over the years. There was extra bedding, towels, books, papers, and many other things. One stroke of good fortune is that my boyfriend only showed up with things that could be considered essentials.
It turns out his ‘minimalist’ approach to living did not balance out my penchant for ‘stuff’ nearly as much as I thought it would. We both came to the door with little things like throw pillows and books for the coffee table that we figured the apartment needed.
We both possessed things that were not daily essentials but may be called upon on a given day. Once these items were doubled, non-necessities took up a great deal of our apartment. In the end, much too much of our closet space, cabinets, and under the bed storage area was used to store these one-day objects. This situation turned out to be such a problem that we agreed almost before we completely moved in that it was time for another decluttering session.
Some items I thought I had to have were obviously not needed once I was in the apartment with my boyfriend. The questions we asked each other when considering a particular item included:
- Can we both use this item?
- Will this item be used regularly?
- Does it fit the look we want in our shared space?
A ‘no’ answer to any of these questions meant a product would not be in our house. There was no need to apply this principle to anything large like a mattress or dining room table since we did not own many large possessions. We also deemed certain products, like my makeup and his comic book collection, off-limits.
There were a couple of times we had to decide between duplicate items like dish sets and silverware. We figured out that these situations were best handled by selling or donating both sets and purchasing another one that we agree on together. These times were some of the best as we shared the experiencing of building a home and not just seeking to combine two homes into one.
The possession purging I was forced to do along with my boyfriend was not a major problem. However, it would have been much easier for both of us if we knew to complete this task before moving into our new apartment. But despite the trips to the donation bin we failed to save, it has been a joy to settle into the apartment together. And little by little, the space we share is beginning to resemble the one we both envisioned before the move-in.