| June 1, 2012

Moving in together can be both exciting and stressful. And often, if it doesn't go well, living together can be the cause for a breakup, so it's important you treat the transition with care. We went to the organization experts at Avery to get their tips for a seamless move! 

Purge before you merge.
Get rid of doubles (blenders, toaster ovens, etc.) and things that you haven’t used in over a year. You want to start your new home (and new life) free from clutter.

Determine what you are doing with every piece of furniture BEFORE you move.
If your new home doesn’t fit all of your combined furniture, discuss what you should store, sell, donate, give away or discard before you move into your new home. For valuable or sentimental pieces you don’t want to part with, consider renting a storage facility or loaning furniture to friends.

Honor prized possessions.
There are a number of items important to each of you, so compromise on what is most important. Make a pile of things you each want to keep but the other wants to get rid of, then have a friendly negotiation for what can stay and what can go. Get rid of (or donate, as appropriate) at least half of the items in question.

Be open to trial and error.
Think of the merging process as an ongoing experiment. Be willing to at least try to use your spouse’s favorite blanket or recliner for a couple of months before saying no.

Decide how bills will be divided.
Avoid fights later by discussing important financial issues before you move in together. Decide how much each of you will contribute to household expenses like mortgage/rent, utilities, cable, food and other basic monthly costs. Set up a joint checking account in addition to your individual accounts, and use it for shared expenses. Or, save receipts and split expenses at the end of the month.

Figure out a filing system that works.
Color code your files (his can be red, hers can be blue and for joint files, use green) and divide paperwork and important documents into file folders based on how you typically group things. For example, your auto insurance, car repair bills and car payments can go into a file folder labeled "car," while medical bills, insurance cards and doctors’ contact information goes into a file labeled "medical info." For some filing options, click here.

Create a “Honey-Do” basket.
One person is usually more messy and the other more meticulous. To maintain harmony and avoid lost or misplaced items, create a basket that you can toss random items your spouse has left laying around the house. Once a week, have your spouse put away all the items in the honey-do basket.