While moving in together with your significant other is a huge and exciting milestone, the actual moving in part can be less than exciting if you don’t spend a little time doing a little planning ahead of time. You both have stuff—and probably lots of it—and before you can achieve cohabitational bliss, you need to decide what goes, what stays, and how you’re going to combine it all when you get to your new space.

Booking Bellhops is a great first step, but there’s a whole lot more to consider when combining your lives.

For the next few weeks, we’ll go room to room, offering tips on how you and your partner can work together to make your stuff work together for (both of) you. For this first post, we’ll start with the kitchen. After all, you’ll probably be hungry from all that moving, and, well, you’ll need to unpack your perishable food items before anything else. Before we focus on the new space, however, there are a couple of things you need to do before you leave the old one:

  • Take an inventory of all of your combined stuff—This might seem like an overwhelming task, but it will save you time when you start loading the truck. The goal is to have to move as few things as possible. Decide together which items you’ll keep, sell, chuck, or donate. When it comes to duplicate items, keep the ones that are in the best condition and get rid of the rest. When it comes time to start physically moving, start with your closets and storage areas. Chances are, there will be a lot of stuff in both that you can live without, and clearing it out quickly will motivate you to tackle the rest of your stuff.
  • Settle on a style—Come to an agreement on how you want your new place to look. Will each room feature items from both of you, or will one person’s style preferences win out? Sketch out a rough floor plan—including cabinets, doors, windows, kitchen island, radiators, etc.—to make sure you have room for everything you want to keep. Take pictures of the walls, too, to give you ideas on where put things, as well.

Once you’ve done those things, it’s time to start the moving in together process. And, as we’ve already mentioned, the kitchen is the best place to start. You’ll be spending a lot of time the kitchen, and much of that time, you’ll be sharing it with your significant other. A kitchen can get cluttered quickly, so it’s important to make sure everything has a home. Here are some tips for merging and purging:

Coffee mugs from the Bellhops article "Moving in Together, Part 1: Combining Your Kitchens"

1. APPLIANCES:
There’s no reason to have duplicate appliances unless you have an extra refrigerator or freezer, as well as a garage or basement to put it in. You’ll typically want to keep the newest/nicest/best of your mutual appliances, and sell or donate the others. (If either of you has been, say, dealing with a funky green stove, however, you might want to keep the units that match best color-wise, instead.) The proceeds from your duplicate appliance sales can come in very handy if you’re looking to buy smaller appliances or other kitchen items that neither of you currently own.

2. GLASSES, DISHES, AND SILVERWARE:
Moving in together with boxes filled with glasses, dishes, and silverware can get heavy quickly. Take this opportunity to pare down your collection before you load up the truck. Get rid of your random, non-matching pieces in favor of matching sets. Keep only the nicest cooking utensils, measuring cups, etc.. Two sets of everyday bowls and dishes, as well as one set of nice dishes for entertaining, will suffice. Hold on to a few sets of matching glasses and mugs, and try to limit the number of travel mugs, water bottles, and other oddball cups to a small cabinet.

3. POTS AND PANS:
When it comes to pots and pans, function comes first. While you ideally want to keep the best quality pieces, you may also find that your combined collection contains various sizes of the same items, which can come in very handy. Find a convenient cabinet and establish (and stick to) a system for neatly storing your pots and pans from day one. If you quickly run out of space, consider installing a hanging pot rack above your stove or anywhere else you might have room. A kitchen island can provide additional pot and pan storage, as well.

4. THE PANTRY:
Dealing with the pantry can be an adventure when moving in together. First off, throw away any expired foods or boxes/bags that may have been open a little too long. Next, donate any duplicate or unused items that you don’t need. Pick up a few airtight storage containers for combining things like sugar, flour, pastas, dry pet food, and cereal. Spices can last awhile and travel well, so look for opportunities to combine those, too. (You can use the original spice bottles and/or jars they came in.) Many people store shopping bags, cleaning supplies, and other non-food items in their pantries, as well. Get rid of what you don’t need. Keep the nicest brooms and mops, and combine whatever else you can. For safety’s sake, opt for discarding or using up cleaning supplies instead of combining them.

5. THE FRIDGE:
We left this for last because it’s important to keep your cold items cold as long as possible. Just like you did in the pantry, get rid of all of your expired (and soon-to- be-expired) food items. If you’ve had meat or other items in your freezer for so long that they’ve because freezer burned or covered with ice, it’s probably OK to get rid of those, too. Depending on how far you need to go, it’s a good idea to transport your remaining cold items in a cooler or two. When you get to the new place, unload the cooler(s) before you do anything else.

Thanks for reading. Come back next time when the “Moving in Together” series focuses on the living room.


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