1. Take inventory of all your stuff
You and your partner most likely have duplicates of many - if not all - your belongings. You also most likely both have things you never use and don't need anymore. Before you move, look at everything you own between the two of you and decide what you'll keep, what to sell, or donate, and what you'll throw out. The less you take with you, the cheaper your move and the more effortless unpacking and settling in will be.
2. Make a checklist
Make a pre-move checklist that outlines everything you'll need to do in the days and weeks leading up to the move. Taking inventory of both separate homes and deciding what to purge are the first steps. You'll also need to measure what's left and determine how much square footage you'll need if you are getting a new place together. If you're moving into one of your existing homes, measure to see what will fit where best.
3. Decide where you're going to live
Will you be moving into a new place or one of the homes one of you already owns or rents? If you both live in small apartments and you'll need more space, this is an easy choice. However, if you both live in big enough homes, it might be a little more complicated. Consider factors such as pet accommodation, commutes to work, restaurants and shopping, local parks, and other things that are important to you.
4. Spend time together deciding what to keep
Everything you bring on your move adds to the cost and the size of the new place you'll need. However, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is a decision you need to make together. Schedule time to go over all your belongings and choose what to hold onto so that you don't both show up with large sofas - or worse, both get rid of your sofas (unless new furniture is part of the plan).
5. Resolve conflicts together
One of you will inevitably have something the other thinks you should get rid of, and vice-versa. Gentle suggestions and open communication will yield better results in most cases than demands. You'll both have to be willing to give and take a little to make it work. Be sensitive to any emotional attachments your partner may have to their stuff. Renting storage space may be a great solution that allows both of you to hold onto important things without them taking up too much space in your new home. Or, you may be able to build extra storage space into your new place in the form of attractive shelves, hooks, or some other way to store and display the things that are special to you.
Sharing a life and a home is all about communication and compromise. Work together to merge your two homes into one, planning well and communicating clearly throughout the process for the most comfortable transition.