Whether you’re ready to move in with your partner for the first time or married and ready to buy a home, sharing your space can be a challenge. But it’s an important topic to tackle so you can share your space with confidence.
The first step to any successful ‘space merger’ is openly discussing each individual’s needs. Most people know their own problem areas that are prone to clutter, especially when it comes to closet space. Your conversation could include questions like:
Talk about how all of these needs can work together or what compromises can be made. You’ll be surprised by the solutions you can come up with if you just take the time to talk. Once you determine what you both need in terms of space and functionality, it’s time to get to work!
This step is incredibly important to ensuring long-term success. If only one person is responsible for creating the closet space for both, the closet will most likely need to be redone when the other person is not satisfied with the overall setup.
Try out this plan of action:
Whether that means cleaning out the closet you’re going to share, downsizing your personal wardrobe, or both, the key to maintaining an organized closet is to limit what goes inside of it. Before you start arguing with your partner over who gets the top shelves, you each need to make sure you’re not bringing unnecessary clutter into your shared closet. This might mean clothes, shoes, accessories, costumes, or tools, for example.
Separate your items into categories, then sort through your belongings one by one. Donate any item you don’t love or wear regularly.
Need help decluttering? These tips will get you started.
Even if your partner doesn’t have the tidy gene (and claims to trust your judgment), it’s important to organize your closet as a team. Discuss your habits, morning routines, and which items you wear regularly. Doing this will help you figure out how much space each person needs and where to store certain clothes.
If you both get ready for work at the same time, try storing your stuff on separate sides of the closet to avoid getting in each other’s way. On the other hand, if you use the closet at different times of the day, you might be able to share drawers and hanging space more easily.
Above all, remember this: You don’t need to split your closet space 50/50 if you don’t want to. Just focus on organizing your clothes in a way that makes it easy for both of you to get dressed in the morning.
Limit your stuff to the basics and the seasonal items. Store the pieces you wear every day front and center, and stash off-season items—like skirts, shorts, sandals, and bathing suits if there’s snow on your front lawn! Try storing items you don’t need right now in a coat closet or in a bin under the bed.
If you’re low on drawer or shelf space, store dress shoes, scarves, belts, and hats in baskets or shoe boxes. You can keep your items together, but out of the way. Just make sure to label or color-code each person’s boxes so it’s easy to find what you need when you’re scrambling to choose an outfit before work.
When you’re combining two wardrobes into one closet, you need as much space as possible to keep your things organized and accessible. Use high shelves to store bins so they’re accessible and out of the way. Mount sturdy hooks on the back of the closet door or in other ‘hidden’ storage areas in your home. And take advantage of open floor space to store a shoe rack or small dresser. Get creative!
No matter how tiny your closet, make space for a laundry basket or hamper. Having an easy place to stash your dirty clothes means they won’t end up in smelly piles on the floor, or get mixed into your clean clothes. You won’t have to dig through the mess to find your favorite top while rushing around in the morning. If that won’t keep the relationship strong, we don’t know what will!
When it comes to creative and convenient storage solutions, the world is your oyster! The more convenient it is to put away clothes, the more likely both of you will be to do it. That’s why it’s smart to use storage solutions that make sense for you and your partner. For example, if you both hate folding clothes, ditch the shelves and install an extra hanging rod. If your partner dislikes bending down to put their shoes away, store them in a hanging organizer.
Bottom line: Make your closet work for you, not against you
Every couple of months, set aside time with your partner to reevaluate your space and decide what you want to keep. Get rid of anything ill-fitting, unloved, unworn, or damaged beyond repair.
Pro tip: Many of your most unworn items end up at the back of your closet, so make sure you start there! Paring down your items simplifies the process of choosing an outfit and makes it easier to organize your closet. Win-win!
Make an effort to respect your partner’s space and belongings. This is key to maintaining shared closet harmony. Focus your attention on keeping your side of the closet tidy, and don’t let your collection of workout shorts or jean jackets overflow into your partner’s zone.
Sharing space can be a great thing, but you have to be realistic and open when communicating your needs. Follow our step-by-step tips and reach out if you find you’re ready to upgrade your closet to a customized dream space built for two.
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