Cohabitation in the Big City: Advice on Making the Move and Merging Belongings

Couples in New York City often find themselves moving in together for financial reasons as much as romantic ones. In a high-priced city like NYC, a gorgeous Soho loft starts to look more realistic when you're only paying half the rent! One problem many couples overlook, though, is that combining two households into one can often be a chaotic and messy affair.

If you and your significant other are planning on moving in together, it's a good idea to have a plan of attack. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have an easier time transitioning from "mine" to "ours".

Take Inventory. Talk with your partner first, and assess how important his sports trophies, his college beanbag, or your crystal vase collection are to both of you. This will help you set up expectations and priorities for the Merging of Stuff.

Define "Need." Two lifetimes' worth of stuff is too much for one 5th floor walkup apartment. Get rid of duplicate kitchen appliances or furniture beforehand, and on moving day you'll be glad you did it.

There's A Place for Everything, even if it's in storage. Your boyfriend may not appreciate your childhood Barbie collection, but you can't throw away Malibu Barbie and her sisters yet. Store them away safely instead, and you'll never have to say goodbye.

Closets. You will have to accept that for the first time since 5th grade, you're going to be sharing a closet with someone. Come to an agreement with your partner about how you'll be divvying up this crucial space. If you can't fit everything, try using seasonal storage to store the bulkier winter items during the summer.

Decorating is a Two-Person Job. Resist the urge to take advantage of his lack of design inspiration. Decorating the new apartment will help you both feel a sense of ownership, which is important as you both start on this new chapter in your life.

Sacred Space. Try to carve out a space that's just for you, even if it's only a bedside table. Having a space to yourself will make you more willing to share everything else.

Keeping your home clutter-free is one of the best things you can do when you're moving in with a significant other. Nothing breeds conflict like the feeling that you're drowning in each other's stuff. Stay organized, and you'll both be happier!