This article was originally posted in GQ.com
Sharing space with your significant other if a specific sort of problem. The key? A professional organizer breaks it down.
Congrats! You’ve decided to take the plunge and move in with your better half. Not only are you going to save money on rent and countless time shuttling between the two pads, you’ll never need two toothbrushes again. But, that being said, you’ll now need to share the cup to hold said toothbrush—and you’re going to need to toss some duplicative items (who needs two toothbrush cups?).
Tova Weinstock, a professional organizer who goes by the nom Tidy Tova, gets called on frequently to help couples navigating how to share space. The most common complaint? A clotheshorse moves in with an overwhelming amount clothing and the minimalist dresser feels, literally, pushed out. What to do?
Discard What You Don’t Love You’ve heard it once. You’ve heard it twice. If you aren’t wearing or using something on a frequent basis, say goodbye to it.
Learn to Live Within Your Means You should be able to function in your space, says Tova. It sounds a little new Age-y, but your space will let you know what it’s capable of holding and challenging that will only make your life more complicated.
Initiate a Draft Set aside an afternoon, open a beer, and strategically go through groups of items with multiples one by one. For example, how many mugs does a couple really need? Half a dozen? Perfect. You pick three and she picks three. Toss or donate the rest (assuming anyone wants your chipped alma mater mug.)
Find Your Own Space While each home is different and it’s hard to generalize, Tova suggests that rather than try to split a closet down the middle, each half of the couple gets his and her own space. Do you have more hoodies than Kanye West? You get more shelf space. One one condition: You don’t get bent out of shape when her collection of long coats and gowns takes up that cool long-hanging section of the closet. Truth be told, your bathrobe can find a new home.
Store Items That Aren’t Being Used Many dry cleaners offer to store large winter items (like down coats, comforters, etc). Either take advantage of that service or stock up on some under the bed storage containers (even though, yes, it’s technically bad feng shui to have anything under your bed).
Maximize Space and Instill Uniformity What three items should ever well-organized home have? “Use hooks on the back of doors for bags or scarves, shoe racks, and matching hangers,” says Tova. Not only will the hangers help your closet feel like the inside of your favorite store, but if buy a pack of 50 hangers and keep a “one in, one out” rule, you’ll prevent an overflowing closet.