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So you and your significant other are moving in together … congratulations! Although combining households can seem like a daunting task, especially when both of you have a lifetime of possessions to account for, the process doesn’t have to be an overwhelming ordeal — all it takes is a little planning and forethought.

Here are a few tips for combining households (and furniture, and decorating styles) to ensure that the move into your home together is a positive experience for both of you from start to finish.

Assess Belongings Before the Move

One of the biggest hurdles in merging two households is dealing with the sheer volume of stuff that you both have accumulated over the years — far too much to deal with while the moving van is parked outside. Take stock of your belongings well in advance of the big day so that there are no surprises.

Each of you should go through your things individually. Get rid of anything that won’t be needed in your new home, and make a short list of sentimental, must-have items that you’d like to be given a place of importance. Once that’s done, discuss your inventories and, above all, be respectful of your partner’s wishes.

Let Space Dictate Compromise

There are bound to be more than a few duplicate items on both of your lists, especially if you’ve been living on your own for a while. Rather than arguing over whose couch is the comfiest, it’s best to let your new space decide which piece will stay.

Think realistically about your new home’s size, shape and aesthetic. Just as a giant, L-shaped couch may not be the best choice for a tiny apartment, modern furniture will probably seem out of place in a historic building that’s full of quaint charm. When in doubt, remember that selling everything and starting fresh is always an option.

Find a Style You Both Like

It goes without saying that your new home should be a reflection of both your styles. For some, that means embracing an eclectic look that allows each person’s personality to shine through. For others, it means deciding on something new that pleases each of your aesthetics.

Take some time to browse through home design sites (such as Freshome) together and see if you can find an aesthetic that you both agree upon. In the rare event that there isn’t much common ground, make sure that each person has a designated space where they’re in charge of choosing the decor.

Combining households with a significant other can feel like a big ordeal, but all it takes is a little preparation. By tackling these tasks with the right attitude and following these tips, you can help ensure that your move will be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!