How to fit two lives into one house
January 14, 2013 6:31 AM Subscribe
I'm moving in with my SO in a couple of months. I have, roughly, twice as much stuff as he does. How can I pare it down? Any tips or tricks or advice for going from a single/flatsharing household to cohabitation when you're a packrat?
posted by mippy to home & garden (36 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I currently share a house, as a lodger, so there will be no real 'household' stuff to combine save the odd mug or clothes rack. All my stuff lives in my room, but there's just so much of it.
- Clothing stored under the bed - either because it doesn't currently fit (I'm aiming to lose weight at the moment if only because it's cheaper than buying a new wardrobe) or because it's out of season. SO (I'm female, he's male) feels that the idea of having Summer Clothes and Winter Clothes is a luxury, but in a British climate I find it hard to wear the same clothes all year.
- Shoes. Again, I have (comparatively) lots, thanks to the vagaries of women's fashion making it hard to wear the same pair with everything. I've tried to think about whether I could get by with, say, one pair of shoes for going out, one pair of sandals, one pair of smart shoes for meetings, but that doesn't cover everything. I have huge feet as well, so regrets in getting rid of shoes are amplified because it might literally be the last pair of red heels that will fit my feet. I'm not even a shoe person - in the last week I've worn one pair of red leather trainers, one pair of pink ballet flats and one pair of brown leather boots - they just seem to have...grown. Taunting me that I would probably be putting more effort into my appearance if I didn't live in the most ennervating flat in London.
- Craft stuff. How do you decide what to keep and what to jettison? My head knows it needs to be done, but my heart says 'but wool is expennnnnssssive' and 'you won't be living near a woooooollll shooooop anymore'.
- Various 'miscellaneous' items, such as small ornaments and cushions. Do I get rid of the small chair in my room? If I get rid of the wicker basket holding my bedlinen, jumpers and summer duvet, where would that go?
- Sewing machine and bike. Both are heavy. One will require working out where to store it. Both are expensive. SO's bike is a Brompton so will be easy to carry and store, mine isn't, and two things I'm really looking forward to about a new place are having room at last to use my sewing machine and being able to go on bike rides together.
- Toiletries. I have a weird irrational panic about running out of stuff, so I have a small stockpile. Would it be a waste of time and money to get rid given that moving is expensive, or is it slightly insane to have three bottles of shower gel?
I've heard the maxim 'try and fit everything into your car'. I don't drive. I have very little idea of what a 'normal' quantity of possessions involves for an adult human female. I've digitised my CDs, I'm trying to move into ebooks and digital publications rather than accumulating more paper (I have two shelves of books at the moment which is the least I've lived with since I was eighteen) but sadly one cannot digitise clothing, nailvarnish or trinkets. The other complication is that my living space is depressing me to the point where it's affecting my mental health (I have bipolar disorder) - it's dark, the setup of being a lodger means that I'm pretty much in my room all the time (my landlord leaves the house only for work and spends the rest of the time working from home in the living room or watching films with the lights off, making the downstairs basically his bedroom, and communicates mainly with sarcastic comments which either irritates or trips my paranoia switch) and each evening I have to fight with my willpower just to even make somethign to eat. For the past few weeks I've just felt so drained that I've wanted to shove everything in boxes and bags and sort it out at the other end in a happier, clearer space, but this will make moving a nightmare. If nothing else, we need to know where everything will go when we look for a place to rent.
So any extra motivational tips or tricks would be great. Most 'declutter' guides are focused on people who have a whole house with multiple rooms, and I don't. We are NOT looking to put anything in storage - it will either live with us or have to go.