Stuff matters to people. We have emotional attachments, personal preferences, etc. All of that is perfectly normal. So before your roommate moves in, plan to talk over some stuff together.

  1. Furniture

  2. Kitchen appliances

  3. Cookware, dishes, etc.

  4. Media equipment

  5. Outdoor equipment and furniture

  6. Artwork and decor

Maybe their couch is nicer than yours, or they have a favorite chair. Perhaps they’re a chef, and you’re more of a microwave meal person. Everybody’s got a coffee cup or bowl they prefer. Some people are super into stereo equipment, or they have a super high-definition TV.

First, think about your stuff.

Are you okay with your roommate using it? If so, are there any limits or guidelines you need to discuss (my grown kids still put my good knives in the dishwasher…)? If you’re not okay with your roommate using something, what’s the solution?

Next, talk about the stuff they’d like to bring into the home.

Are you open to your renter bringing some furniture into your living room and other shared parts of the house? Can you make room for that side table their grandpa made? You may really enjoy changing your furniture around, and finding new uses for your things in other parts of the house. If you think about it and the answer is no, be open and honest about it.

You may feel more flexible about things like kitchen appliances, artwork and decor. But if you don’t want them to bring their things, you need to be okay with them using yours.

With items that you’ll both share, expect to have a few conversations along the lines of “you’re welcome to use it but here’s how.” I love my Vitamix, but it was expensive and I can’t stand it if someone doesn’t use it properly. They get to do the same thing. Some of these preferences are purely about pet peeves. Honestly, those conversations can be really funny because we all have our quirks. There’s been a good-natured dishwasher-loading war at my house for decades.

Talk early on about your stuff, their stuff and the stuff you’ll share. It’s all important stuff, and it’s worth your time and energy to get things clear from the very start.

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