First comes love, then comes marriage, and next comes finding the home of your dreams! Merging two households takes a lot of work, but with careful planning, you can make the job easy and even funWritten by Alice Martsinkovsky.

Before a couple ties the knot, the two partners pledge to join together in a lifelong union. But they also agree to combine all of their stuff. And in many cases, that’s a lot of accumulated stuff- from furniture, collectibles, kitchen items to generous amounts of shower and wedding gifts.

The process of weeding through what to keep and what to let go creates stress for some newlyweds and occasionally, tension arises. At a certain point, one of you will say, ‘Why do you need to save that?’” As we all know too well, people become attached to things and emotions can be strong, especially when you are in the process of planning a wedding, figuring out where you will live as a couple and now, what to keep or not to keep. Merging two households takes a lot of work but with careful planning, you can make the job easy and even fun.

 3 Pile Rule: Keep, Sell, And Donate.

As a couple, you both need to make decisions together as to what will stay and what will go. Discuss your expectations before you begin. Have an open talk about what vision you have for the new household. Talk about the possessions you both cherish. Is there something you assume your partner will give up? Is there something you really don’t want to give up? Get it all out there right away. This will help you both start the 3 pile rule of keeping only your must-have household items. Sell items that you both know you can live without, and donate anything that neither of you touched in over a year, which in turn can help another couple or family start off.  Also, take into consideration your personal items such as clothes, shoes, and knick-knacks. Take a look at your items and think about how often you use them. A good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used in over a year. Remember, it is much easier to get rid of things before you pack and move. Your merge will be easier if you make the decisions before you start squeezing in items that don’t work.

Get Organized.

See the task of combining your stuff as less of a chore and more of an opportunity. Moving is the best time to get organized!  So focus on that fact, and use this as an opportunity to simplify and to start fresh. Try to eliminate as much excess clutter as you can. Depending on how much space you have, you’ll probably have to give away some large pieces of furniture as well as smaller items, like kitchen supplies. Who needs two toaster ovens?


In some cases, storage is needed for just a short period while couples adjust to and become comfortable with their new living situation.  But in other cases, storage can be a more permanent solution. For example, long-term storage makes sense for couples who own seasonal cutlery, fancy china, Christmas trees, summer deck chairs, barbecue pits… the list is almost endless. Self-storage makes sense anytime a home becomes overrun with stuff.  My advice to newlyweds is to avoid overloading your living space to the point where it becomes uncomfortable.

 Create a New Home Together.

Respect each other’s preferences. Realize that merging two households means making compromises. Your lifestyles are about to change so be open-minded about the end result. The new household isn’t going to be like your old one, and you shouldn’t expect it to be or want it to be that way. You’re merging your tastes with your partner’s to create something new and fresh. Create a flow to your new home that you both love and cannot wait to move into.  Before you even begin to pack and start moving your belongings, determine where you want each piece of furniture to be positioned. Also, find a decorating scheme that merges your tastes. Keep items that add homey touches that don’ take up a lot of space- throw pillows, special photos, heirlooms, etc.

My final tip is the most important one of all: Take the ‘the merge’ one room and one day at a time.


Alice Martsinkovsky is a licensed Real Estate Broker with john greene Realtor in Naperville, IL. She quickly came to find that selling, buying and renting is high on the list of stressful things to do, especially when planning a wedding. She brings professional knowledge and just plain hard work in easing the stress and burden for her clients and helps them get to where they want to go. After all, engaged couples and newlyweds are the heart of her business.

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