Sometimes, life necessitates a downsize. While there are many reasons to shrink your residential footprint, one reason many people don’t think about is merging two households. From getting married to helping out an aging relative, there are many reasons to move in with other people.

MEASURE YOUR SPACE

The first step in merging is knowing what kind of space you have to work with. How much communal space will you share, and how much will be private to you.

DECIDE WHAT IS IMPORTANT

Step two is making a list of what you can’t live without. If there were a fire what would you grab (other than people)? What have you actively used in the last six months? What is still sitting in its original packaging? These are all great questions to get you thinking about what items really matter to you and what can be left behind.

DE-DUPLICATE

Don’t bring what you don’t need. Look at what you own, and what your new space mate owns, and get rid of the duplicates. You don’t need two washer and dryers, or fifty garbage cans.

PART EARLY

Put away the things you don’t think you will need, and try to live without them in the weeks leading up to the merger. This can save a lot of hassle later if you realize that you use that doohickey more than you realized.

GOOD COMMUNICATION

Talk to the people you will be living with. You may hate their taste in decorating. It is best to hammer out what changes you can make, and what changes they can make before moving day.

SELL, STORE, OR DONATE

What can seem like a permanent situation may not last as long as you think. Take a look at why you are merging houses, what the cost to replace an item is, and how long you plan on living there. Use that information to decide if you should sell, store, or donate those items that are too valuable to throw away.

TAKE INVENTORY

At the beginning, middle, and end of the process take inventory. Look at what you are bringing with you, and what you are storing. Make a list of the items that you are bringing that are communal. That way if your situation changes, you don’t leave anything behind.

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL ON MOVING DAY

Moving into an empty house is hard enough. Moving items into a house where someone is living can be a nightmare. By hiring professionals you can get the help you need on making sure everything ends up safely where it needs to be.