We dedicate this February 14 to newlywed couples that choose Public Storage when they move in together. Many get a storage unit to deal with all that extra stuff: two couches, two toasters, two sets of dishes, but only room for one. Congrats, guys! We know this is a joyful time but that it can also be a challenging move. That’s why we turned to UCLA professor Thomas Bradbury, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of the university’s Relationship Institute for his tips for moving in together that can help couples decide as a team which stuff stays and what gets stored or tossed. We love that he offers many tactics to choose from. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Combining Your Stuff into One Household
Maybe each person gets to choose one large and one small thing of their own for each of the major rooms.
Maybe each person gets to choose the partners’ possessions that they like the most AND the least.
Or, maybe both people sell everything, and then use the money to go shopping together.
Or, each could pick a room and take responsibility for it, with oversight from the other (but no veto power).
Put an expiration date on some things: I will let you keep that couch for 6 months, but once we save up the money we agree that we will both go out and buy a couch we both like.
Find someone with a bit of taste who can mediate the dispute, as long as they can offer reasonable explanations for why they are, e.g., keeping the birdcage but getting rid of the lunchbox collection.
Tips for Talking Through the Move
If we are talking just about possessions, this is nerve-racking for at least two reasons. First, it can be difficult to convey how attached we are to things we have had for some time. It’s not always rational, so we have trouble expressing it, and our new spouse has trouble grasping what we are trying to say. As couples, we can listen between the words to hear the feelings, and then try our best to respond to those feelings. Second, we often think of ourselves as being partly defined by our possessions. In a certain sense, I am my record collection, and all those retro clothes that I never wear are important to me and how I see myself. As couples we need to see that when we ask our partner to get rid of these things, we are not just getting rid of an object; again, there is a lot more tied to the experience. As couples, it is our job to initiate conversations that help us to appreciate that experience.
Bradbury has new book out about health for couples called Love Me Slender.
by Ann Griffith