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How To Blend Two Households

Organizational tips for blended families

Getting married is a very exciting and joyous occasion! And how much extra "stuff" you'll now have in your new blended household!

Gone forever are the days when a girl had a simple hope chest where she saved the things she'd eventually need for married life. These days, people get married later in life, which means they often come into the marriage with a house full of, well, everything. All of a sudden you're the proud owners of two of everything and you're not sure what to do.

Here are a few tips to help make blending your lives (and your households) easier and help others in the process:

  1. Go through each house together, one item at a time, and identify which items are duplicates. Discuss each item honestly. Now is the time to decide which wine rack you'll keep, whose dinner ware you'll keep, etc. If you really can use two of any particular item in your new life, such as television sets or recliners, go ahead and keep both.
    Try your best not to be too attached to something simply because it's yours. You should understand that the more you streamline your belongings now, the easier your move will be.
    If your dining room table is circa 1975 and your spouse's is only two years old, make the wise decision about which to keep. The goal is to keep only the truly useful things that will blend together well to furnish your new home, not to fight to keep everything that is yours.
  2. Evaluate small items such as silverware, kitchen items, and cookware the same as you do for the larger items.
  3. As you decide which items to get rid of, tag them with brightly colored sticky notes and set them all together, separate from those that you intend to keep.
  4. If it isn't winter where you live, carry your tagged items
    outside and have a yard or garage sale. And don't be greedy. Remember, you want this stuff to sell quickly so you won't have to move it or store it.
  5. Everything that doesn't sell can be donated to a needy organization that can use it, such as your church, a homeless shelter, or the Salvation Army.
  6. By now you're down to one set of furnishings and you've donated your unneeded belongings to people who can use them. When blending your personal files, remember, it isn't necessary to keep all your files in the same filing cabinet. There is no need to combine your household files if you aren't comfortable doing so. Just be sure that your filing system is easy to use in case your partner needs to retrieve any of your records.
    If you do choose to combine your household files, you should keep files of the same type together. For example, keep both of your auto insurance papers under the same category instead of filing yours under Car and your spouse's under Insurance.
    Also, don't keep all the paperwork for any given category in a single folder. Divide it into two folders, one labeled with your name and one with your spouse's.
Blending two households (and two lives) isn't all that difficult. If you take the time to set things up right at the start, you can successfully come together and be one happy family!

Monica Ricci is an organizing specialist. She teaches effective organizing techniques for work and home. She also offers free email tips and ideas on how to make life simpler and more organized.

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