Cohabitation ain’t easy. It really brings out your inner control-freak diva (both of ya’s) and some tension can form. But if you love each other and you love the space, that eventually fades away. In fact, I think living with a man (and preparing to do so again) taught me a lot of important lessons on how to live in general.
1. You really don’t need all of those clothes.
I know it’s hard to imagine your closet less-than-overflowing or (GASP!) partially empty, but it’s really for the best. My man used to laugh at the sheer volume of clothing in my possession, but I would just retaliate by pointing out that I never, ever had to do laundry. Eventually I realized something about it really was funny, but maybe not in such a good way. Do I really need 5 dresses that don’t fit me anymore? Do I need 10 shirts that are just “okay?” No, no I don’t. I’d much rather launder my special, oft-used pieces than stare in disdain at a 50% lackluster wardrobe. Quality, not quantity. (And god bless the Goodwill trucks!)
2. Organization isn’t just about cleanliness, it’s about efficiency.
I love being organized. (If you’ve ever read this blog, you know I have an inner-voice that might, in reality, be OCD.) I love it because I like the way a space looks when it is in order. However, if aesthetics take precedence over functionality, there’s not much point to organizing at all. A kitchen might look amazing with stacks of rainbow ceramics stacked along the countertop, but what do you really need there? Probably something like a cutting board, not another cute vintage vase. At the end of the day, it’s wasted space if it doesn’t make sense for how you live in it.
In fact, neutral is amazing. You might start out with earth tones to please one another, but if you really put in the time, you can makes some beautiful spaces that never cross the color-war border. (I’m still of the school that all colors have at least one hue everyone can love, but that’s a whole other entry, y’all!)
At the end of the day, I would rather have one room all to myself than fight over the rest of the house. Why? Because having one beautiful, perfect space is more important to me and certainly more than enough. Besides the sheer labor required when trying to cram two strong designs into a whole house full of rooms, it’s just greedy. Each person should get their own, independent space to decorate where they can be completely themselves. The rest of the shared house space can be that easy, clean, and beautiful neutral I mentioned a minute ago.
Contrary to a bad stereotype, not all men have poor taste. In fact, some of them have pretty amazing input. The only problem is when two people have strong opinions, sometimes things get messy or left undone in order to end the design debate. The tried and true art of compromising is really all you can do. I’ve learned that I don’t need to control as much of a design as I’d thought. I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily have the best ideas out of all the ideas all the time. I’ve learned that purging yourself of things is good and all it does is make way for better things. Compromising can teach you a lot about your partner, but most importantly, it teaches you about yourself.
Thanks to a headstrong partner, I’ve come to the table with a very clear vision of what I love, and a much better grasp on flexibility, simplicity, and form.