Carlos and I moved into our first home the day after our wedding. We came straight from the hotel where we had been checked in for the past two nights. I remember feeling so happy and tired from what was then the biggest event of our lives. After all, it had taken us eight months to organize it. But now that we had tied the knot, we didn’t know the first thing about being married!
We had found our first apartment a few months before our wedding, and slowly moved some of our things in. Random items like magazines (mine), boxes of electronics (his), makeup samples (mine), long cable wires (his), and plenty of shoes (ours) were scattered in our tiny flat. Since we were both coming from our parents’ homes, we were used to having a lot of space.
As it turns out, our “essentials” were not actually necessary. These were excess junk which became a mountain of clutter in our living room. We decided not to buy a couch or sofa set until we had cleared our clutter, so nothing happened. To be honest, these random items didn’t have any particular use, but they took up the entire living space until we moved out of that apartment.
Looking back, I found it funny that we ate our meals in bed. We had allowed our junk to take over our living space, so it never felt like home.
After moving two more times, we have learned how to take control of our possessions. We let go of things we didn’t truly love or were keeping “just in case.” Thinking of how stressed we were every single day to come home to “nice junk” gave us the initiative to clean up our act.
And truly, I wish I had known these four things before we moved into our first home.
#1 Choose a style you both love, and stick to it.
At first, I thought I would get to decide on all things related to the wedding and our home. Because my husband never expressed his opinions about these things, I assumed he just didn’t care. But he did!
This I discovered while we were going over wedding gifts for our bridal registry. I wanted formal white plates with gold edging to match dainty gold cutlery. He hated it. He told me: “I will be eating out of these plates too. I don’t want to have to be so careful while eating every single day!” It made sense, so we chose a set that suited both of our tastes: simple and rustic.
You may not have talked about these things in the past, but they may become issues in the future. Marriage is a two-way street. If you were used to having your way, things are about to change. You need to find a style which suits both of your personalities. It may seem impossible—in our case it was mixing his rustic inclinations with my girly style—but it can be done!
Tip: Look at home style designs together and try to figure out what appeals to you both.
#2 Two people living together means having two of the same thing; get rid of the extras.
When two individuals from two homes come together to live under one roof, they’ll end up having double of everything. It’s going to be impossible to keep everything as you just wouldn’t have the space. So before moving in, put your heads together and decide which ones you’d like to keep, which you can sell, and which you can give away.
We did ask our family and friends if they needed any of our things, and most of them were kind enough to take them off our hands. Another option is to sell your stuff online. You’ll find that what you thought of as extra stuff is actually what another person needs at the moment. Most are happy to buy them for a fraction of the retail price, so don’t be ashamed to sell your things. When in doubt, hold a garage sale at home. This always works for us, and we earn quite a few thousands from it after.
#3 Decide on what stays and what goes–together.
I’ve discovered that it’s easy to throw things out when they’re not yours. I’ve done it in the past, and yes, it has caused problems. You can declutter, sell, donate, or throw out your personal stuff, no problem. But when it comes to your husband’s things and things you both own, decide on their fate together. Yes, it will take up time and entail negotiations: “I’ll get rid of this, if you get rid of that.” However, if it means having a clean and happy home, well then, it would be all worth it.
I’ve recently begun selling my extras from my closet, and it has made a world of difference. Not only has it made dressing up much easier in the morning, it got my husband inspired and he’s now doing the same!
We may not realize it, but clutter creates negative energy. Things that are not loved or used just stay there and collect dust. If we are not happy seeing them every single day, they eat away on us and cause negativity. It is good to own and use only the things you love—it makes you happy and puts you in a great mood!
#4 Before bringing anything in, ask the other person first.
I know how difficult this is, especially when you’re not used to asking someone first before buying anything. It’s your money, after all. But if this practice steers you away from future problems, then it’s worth looking into. Most of the time, we don’t need the things we buy in haste or on sale. Monitoring each other is the best way to not bring in excess things that can become clutter. If your partner is an enabler, this is going to be difficult. But you can still try this tip to take note of new things in your house.
Carlos and I ask each other if we should buy something, especially if it’s a big item. We usually try to convince each other that we don’t need it. However, there are times when we are both: “Go for it, if it makes you happy.” You may come upon a good deal once in a while and yes, sometimes it’s good to indulge. But always go back to what appeals to you both.
That’s why decluttering is important: you take out things of no use and replace them with ones of use. Again, this goes back to things you love, which makes you happy. I cannot tell you how happy Carlos and I are when our home is nice, clean, and organized!
That’s it! I hope these tips are helpful. For more home-related tips and tricks, visit www.pursuitofpassion.ph.