Whether you just found a roommate or you are joining your partner, combining households can add up to double the moving stress if you aren’t careful. If you have kids or pets involved, things can get especially chaotic. It’s important to give this transition some forethought and a little planning so that everything runs as smoothly as possible. After all, you wouldn’t want to get things off to a bad start with your new roommate or partner.
Reduce items first. For many people, moving is a great time to sort through everything and pair down their possessions. This will be especially important when two households come together since you have double the items fitting into one space. Take the extra time to go through your closets, storage spaces, and garages to get rid of any items that you are no longer using. You can donate these to charity, sell, or simply throw away anything you are not likely to use anytime in the near future. You may want to make an inventory of the furniture and appliances at each home and then sit down with your partner to discuss which items will stay and which will go. It’s no good to hold onto duplicates of most items since this will simply be clutter in your new home. Discuss what items each of you particularly likes and wants to keep in order to avoid getting rid of items that mean a lot to you or your partner.
Merge styles. One of the challenges of merging households is that you have two different decorating styles to work with. When all your furniture and decorative items perfectly match but are different styles and colors than those of your partner, you will have to jointly make a decision about which set to keep. If you are keeping some basic furniture items but want to change the overall look of the décor to suit both of you, then consider two things. First, are there some items you currently have that will work with the new decorating scheme? If so that may be a good way to reduce the cost of completely redecorating a living space. Second, find common ground as far as colors and styles you are both interested in. It may not be your first choice for décor but a second-best decorating scheme may make each of you feel more comfortable and at home.
Divide up household duties. Right from the get-go be sure to determine who will be responsible for household chores. Whose job is it to take out the trash? Who will wash the kitchen floor? What about the bathroom? You may also want to determine how often these tasks should be completed. If there are kids involved, it’s a good idea to include them in household chores. Make a chore list with each person’s name next to the chores they are assigned to complete so that everyone is aware of who is responsible for what.
Discuss financial responsibilities. Similar to discussing how you will divide up household chores, you should also talk to your partner about financial responsibilities. Will you divide all the expenses evenly, each person paying an equal portion or will each person be responsible for certain bills? For example maybe one person will pay for the rent while the other person pays for groceries and household utilities. Or you can record all expenses and divide up the total cost at the end of the month.
When combining households you can avoid problems by thoroughly communicating with one another before anything becomes an issue. If everyone is in understanding about their responsibilities, then you are on the road to a happily united household.
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