Inside: Use these tips to combine households without creating additional clutter in the process.

A guest post by Rose Morrison

Combining households is an exciting time but it can also be stressful. It can require negotiating and compromising in order to create a home that you both love.

Eliminating the excess before and during the moving process will help you to merge households without creating clutter in the process.

Read on for six steps to help ease the transition to your newly shared space. These tips will help strengthen your relationship and help to create a living space you’re both happy with.

Here’s how to combine households without creating clutter.

combine households

6 Tips to Combine Households Without Creating Clutter

Want to avoid clutter in your new home? Use these six tips on combining households without creating clutter to eliminate unnecessary items as you move in together.

1. Conduct an Individual Purge

Moving provides the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Instead of looking at sorting through your belongings as a chore, consider it a spring cleaning for your soul.

What no longer serves you? What sits around gathering dust, causing you to work harder during weekly cleaning but bringing you no joy?

Someone else might delight in those knick-knacks. Let them go with love and gratitude that you have more than you need.

Be firm but gentle with yourself when sorting your belongings. Everyone has stuff that looks like junk to outsiders but has considerable sentimental value to them.

Honor your feelings, but remember you will be sharing living space with another so keep them in consideration. For example, you might auction off some sports memorabilia or Hummel figurines if you have an expansive collection, keeping a few favorites.

man moving

Typically, moving entails sorting your things into three piles. However, when combining households and reducing clutter, you might want to consider four:

  • To keep
  • To sell or donate 
  • To recycle 
  • To refinish

Some of your items may also complement your new interior design with a bit of work. If you have a place to set such things aside — like your garage — consider keeping them. But also give yourself a deadline for completing the work so that you don’t have extra items sitting around for an extended period of time if you aren’t serious about rehabbing it.

If you’re blessed with more than you need, why not transform your purge into a celebration of giving? Gather everything for one large donation and head to the local donation center or thrift shop.

Are you culling your book collection to save space? You’ll feel much better about parting with your beloved volumes if you know they’ll see good use at a local library.

combine households

2. Define Your Vision & Minimize Duplicates

You’ve completed round one of decluttering. That’s great. Now it’s time to decide together what your vision is for your space as you combine households.

Whether one of you is moving into the other’s home or you’re both moving into a new space together, it’s important to think about your individual needs as well as your goals as a couple.

Determine the primary function of each room and what pieces of furniture you want where. There will likely need to be some compromises and give and take in the process of combining households.

Minimize Duplicates

The next step is to do a round two of decluttering where you work together to minimize duplicates.

When combining households you may find that you end up with a lot of certain types of items and chances are good that together you’ll have too much stuff for your new home.

Look over your kitchen items, linens, and any other household items you both have to decide which things you want to keep and which can go. This is a great opportunity to make a fresh start and declutter the things you no longer loved or were using anyway.

cluttered kitchen

3. Establish House Rules

As you consider how your home will function once you’ve combined households, it’s helpful to have conversations up front about your expectations.

After all, stuff requires maintenance so what do you both expect the division of labor to look like. Whose job is it to do the dusting and scrub small appliances?

How might you divide the necessary household tasks? It depends on your unique circumstances, but here are some ideas to help you start those conversations.

Task allocation

Discuss which tasks need to be done and decide together who will do what. Again, compromise and open communication are key to coming to a mutual agreement.


Talk about what areas in the home are a priority for you. It might be important to you to have your sink clear of dishes at the end of the day or perhaps you like to have your bed made before leaving for work in the morning.

No matter how silly (or even obvious) these things may seem, it’s helpful to have these discussions in advance so that your partner knows what’s important to you.


Consider which jobs need to be done when and how that will work with your schedules. Be realistic in what you expect of your partner.

Also realize that it may take trying things a few different ways before figuring out a system that works for both of you.

Work together to establish decluttering habits that will help you to maintain your space.

combine households

4. The Fine Art of Compromise

This step can be fun or contentious, depending on your mental framework. Before you sit down with your partner, take a moment to adjust your mindset.

Combining households is a chance to grow together, not a competition to see who gets more of what they want.

Identify what items are most important to you as you combine households, but also try to be flexible. For example, you might never part with your framed photograph of the 2004 Red Sox celebrating reversing the curse.

However, can you put it in your home office if it clashes with your living room decor?

Home is about creating a place where everyone in it can feel comfortable and enjoy the space. Consider the needs of each individual as you decide how rooms will be used and what goes where.

couple relaxing on the couch

5. Leave Room to Grow Together

Avoid the temptation to squeeze as much as possible into your new home. You’ll want room to grow, especially if you plan to have children down the road.

If you need extra cash to fund your move, selling gently used but unneeded items is best. You have several options for getting the most money:

Host a yard sale

While some people find yard sales not to be worth the time and effort, others enjoy having the self imposed deadline and then getting rid of all their unwanted items in one weekend. If you opt to have one, decide in advance what you will do with the leftover items after the sale is over.

Sell online

You can try local sites like Nextdoor and Craigslist or auction sites like eBay. Check out this post with 5 tips on selling unwanted items online quickly.

Don’t rush it

It’s okay to leave drawers, cabinets, and even entire rooms empty as you determine what to do with them.

Take your time and be mindful — it’s far better to leave the area vacant than fill it with meaningless trinkets that you don’t love, cost money, and create more work down the road.

washing dishes

6. Periodically Renew Your Commitment

You and your partner’s needs will change with time, long after you combine households. Periodically touch base with each other to make sure you’re both content with how things are going in the home.

For example, you might temporarily rearrange the chore schedule if your work obligations change. Having a baby might cause you to reassess your belongings and conduct a second purge of items to create more space for your new family member.

Issues could arise that you didn’t consider before moving in with each other, so it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and be upfront and honest with your feelings.

Merge Your Households Without Creating Clutter

How can you combine households without creating clutter? You need a system to manage two homes worth of belongings.

Follow this step-by-step article to merge households without the mess. You’ll feel more comfortable in your new abode and harmonize your relationship in the process.

Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers home décor and organization tips. She is also the managing editor of Renovated. You can check out her Twitter to see more of her work.

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One Comment

  1. My husband and I married in our thirties and asked wedding guests to make a donation if they wished to to any of three charities we valued instead of giving us physical gifts.

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