It’s not easy, starting over with someone new while respecting the memory of your past. Moving in together can hurt feelings or turn into a power struggle. Approach the situation thoughtfully with these tips for combining homes later in life. Navigating this transition with sensitivity can be a strong foundation for your relationship.
Pick Your Spots
It can be awkward to bring up the topic, but your new home can’t accommodate everything you both have. Use it as an opportunity to talk about what’s most meaningful for each of you. Start by specifying what space you need for alone time, whether that means an office, room to work out, a reading nook, or a huge-screen TV. Then, volunteer suggestions for what you’re willing to part with. You might surprise each other with the sacrifices you’re willing to make.
Let It Go
We can be sentimental about our things, which is why we fill our attics with memories. It’s nice to keep some things for your children, but if they don’t want them, let them go. Possessions aren’t memories, and if it’s important for you to revisit them now and then, you can take pictures to look at later. The more space you fill with artifacts, the less space you have for living in the present.
Choose Some Items Together
Even though the two of you have more than enough stuff, these are new circumstances, and you deserve to have some things without history so that you can associate them only with the two of you as a couple. It helps to make decisions together about new paint colors that set the tone of your home, and framed photographs of the two of you should join the other family pictures. Go shopping for something significant that you’ll use together every day, like a sofa or new bedding. It’s a fun way to bond and learn more about one another’s taste. It might even become an heirloom.
Get Some Perspective
Decide on as much as you can before the move because where you live will dictate what you keep. Measure everything because if furniture or art doesn’t fit, that makes your decision for you. Try to look at things from your partner’s point of view, and be as fair as you can. You’ll both have to compromise. If you get hung up on some decisions, you can always rent out a storage unit and reassess the situation in three months or so.
One of the best tips for combining homes later in life is to reevaluate your assumptions about yourself. For instance, you may have always thought of your own walk-in closet as non-negotiable. But is that still the case today, in this new life, if it means inconveniencing a person you love? The nice thing about age is that it clarifies what’s important. Finding someone to share your life is what matters—figuring out the rest is just details.