Pressuring your partner to trash an item can lead to major resentment down the road - especially if it's an antique that's been passed down through the generations. "You should keep vintage china or glassware that was given to you by your parents or grandparents," says designer Kelly Wearstler. "It's all about curating the table and mixing old spirit with new spirit."
Whether you're holding onto your floral curtains or a favorite leather reclining chair, mix feminine and masculine design elements to keep both you and your partner happy.
For instance: "Pink and lavender can be great for men, but you'll need to mix them with pieces in camel- or beige-tones to make it all less saccharine," says designer James Andrew. Good design comes from contrasting elements, so decor shouldn't be on only one person's terms.
"You can't really have too many lamps," says professional organizer Laura Cattano. It's simple but true: When have you ever complained about your apartment being too bright? "I'm always suggesting more lighting to clients, as most have too little. I have eight light sources in my 325-square-foot apartment, whereas my neighbors in the same size apartment might have two or three."
If it means a lot to you, keep it. "Art is irreplaceable and you can always reframe it to give it new life in your home together and integrate it into your shared aesthetic," says New York City-based professional organizer Jeni Aron.
At least have a conversation about it first. "Don't throw away someone else's stuff without asking," says designer Nick Olsen. "You have to approach getting rid of their pieces that you hate from a strategy standpoint." Try his script for success: Instead of "I've always hated this pillow/sofa/chair!" try, "How do we make our new place the best place possible?"
Just because you're no longer entertaining dates at home doesn't mean you should lose your stylish bar accessories. "They transition from your single life to entertaining as a couple," says Wearstler.
Wait, what? This one's unexpected, but practical. Before you toss your partner's stained facecloths and ripped towels, consider giving them a second life by cutting them up to use as cleaning rags in your new home. "They're the best for cleaning and will leave you with some extra cash for fancy dinners," says organizer Tova Weinstock, founder of Tidy Tova.
Like artwork, even if throw pillows don't match your new design style, they're still workable as long as they're in good condition. "You can cover the pillows with new cases to match your new style together," Aron says. With new coverings, floral-print throw pillows from your old bedroom can easily be repurposed to become accessories for your partner's living room couch, for example.
"If you care about someone, you have to find a way to be open to their 'thing,'" says Andrew. "Anything that brings you or your partner that much joy deserves to stay, so be considerate and thoughtful." Truly no place to display it? Choose a few pieces to be out in the open and put the rest in an agreed-upon place.
Cattano suggests storing such items in a nice box, or if it's something you'd like to see every day but your partner does not, try displaying trinkets in private areas. For knickknacks that are too large or numerous, though, Cattano says it might be best to take a photo to keep as a memento, and then donate, recycle or trash the item to save space.
Don't forget that merging households is a big adjustment for your pet as well. Save space by cutting down on extra dog leashes you never use, and food and toys your pet isn't interested in (but be sure to keep all of their favorites). If you're getting ready for a big move, don't wash your best bud's toys beforehand either (despite your partner's protests) because your original roommate will appreciate the smell of home.
Lastly, keep pets from feeling neglected by fitting in an extra trip to the pet store. "They get new beds, too," says Wearstler. And no doubt they'll be very happy about that.
I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.