If you have recently gotten married or moved into a home shared with your significant other, you may have encountered one small conflict that did not cross your mind before making the move – sharing your life also means sharing that precious real estate in your closet!

If you have become accustomed to the freedom of your own private closet for a while, you may now be experiencing some unexpected challenges that go along with merging two people’s possessions into one bedroom closet. If your own closet was marred with clutter that left you searching through mounds of clothing, shoes, and accessories, adding years worth of your partner’s collected possessions to the mix may render the closet inaccessible altogether. Here we offer some organization techniques to help you and your partner merge your possessions so that you can enjoy harmony in both your closet and your relationship.

-Start with a clean slate: If the two of you already live together and the bedroom closet is full, start by removing everything from the closet. An empty closet is the best way to begin if you want to creatively maximize your space without the preexisting scheme interfering.

-Purge. Both you and your partner should make an honest assessment of your collective belongings and determine what should be kept, what should be tossed and what you can donate or give away. Minimize the quantity of items that must be stored in the closet as much as possible.

-Strategize. Everything that you kept in your own closet may not be logical to store in the closet you now share with your partner. Prioritize keeping items such as clothing, suits, dresses, shoes, ties, and belts in the bedroom closet, and consider other storage options for extras that do not fit well. For instance, coats and jackets may find a better home in a hallway or entry way closet, and items such as sporting equipment and backpacks can be moved to a garage or basement.

-Give and take: One of you likely needs more storage space inside the closet due to having more possessions, and a 50/50 square footage split is not a logical solution for most couples. Dividing space in the closet disproportionately is perfectly acceptable, but you may need to rethink your plan if items belonging to one partner claim 95% of the closet.

-Splurge on the right organizers. A man and woman sharing one closet equates to a hodgepodge of neckties, stilettos, scarves, belts, sandals, the list goes on. Remember, the goal is to make the items in the closet accessible and, possibly more importantly, easily returned to where they belong. A tie rack, belt rack or a combination unit makes an excellent closet organization tool. Additionally, a solution must be found for shoes. Stacking shoe shelves, hanging shoe organizers and individual plastic shoe boxes are good options to consider for containing what would be a mountain of intermingled shoes just waiting to make you late.

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