I help many people to declutter and organize when they are going through life transitions. One big transition is when a couple first moves in together. Decluttering and organizing with a professional organizer’s help can help to reduce conflicts and make sure couples are starting off on the right foot when it comes to cohabitation.
Whether you are moving into a place already occupied by your significant other, or renting or buying a new place together, setting up organized systems and creating a home for everything can certainly improve harmony in your place together.
When I work with couples to help set up these organized systems, here are some of things we focus on:
Determining What to Declutter
Usually, when you move in together, you will want to declutter some belongings from your past to make room for your new life together. A professional organizer can help you on either end, before you move out of your current space, or when you’re in your new space starting to combine belongings, to systematically go through and declutter what you no longer want or need, and organize the items you are keeping.
Layouts of Rooms and Furniture Selection
Once you have the measurements of the place you are moving into, you should determine exactly how much furniture will fit in the space. You may have to pick and choose who’s kitchen table or sofa you use, or buy something new altogether. Either way, too much furniture can lead to a cluttered room. There will be compromises as you determine what furniture looks and fits best in your new space.
Clothing storage is one area where couples may have conflicts. Discuss the closet space available, determine if you’re going to share a closet, or each have your own. You will probably need to sort and cull your clothing during this process. I recently had some home organizing clients where the man moved his clothing into the guest room closet, so the woman could have the bigger closet space in the bedroom! Compromise is key!
Determine a laundry process of who does the laundry, where dirty clothing is collected, when it is done, and how and when clean clothing is put away. Also, the dry cleaning drop off and pick up process should be determined as well. Setting up a system like this can reduce conflict.
One place where couples may have two of everything is in the kitchen. In this room, it is important to sort through and choose the best kitchen supplies, cookware, dishes, utensils, etc. that will work in your kitchen together. Keeping two of everything will just lead to clutter and disorganization.
Again, if you’re sharing a bathroom together for the first time, you will need to designate areas for each of your belongings. If you have more than one, you may each want to claim your own bathroom to give you more space and reduce arguments.
Simply considering who picks up the mail, and where it is placed so the other person can receive and respond to their mail is extremely important. This will prevent missed events or unpaid bills and other arguments.
If you live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and are moving in together and need hands-on organizing assistance or want a do-it-yourself plan, I’d love to help you. If you live elsewhere, I offer virtual organizing services via FaceTime and Skype to help you with any size organizing project. Please contact me for a free phone consultation to get started.