Relationships

What’s Your ‘Wagon Wheel Coffee Table’?

Wagon Wheel Coffee Table

So, my boyfriend is moving in…

This marks the end of schlepping back and forth to one another’s places. It means there will be someone else around to help with high shelves and scary bugs. It’s also a step forward for the relationship. I feel quite good about it.

But then, all at once, it hit me: His stuff is moving in, too.

Clothes, hair products, bedding. Blu-ray discs of AlienAliensAliens 3Alien Resurrection.

Don’t get me wrong, I want our space to feel mutual. I want him to feel seen and counted. And if we had unlimited space — or lived in a place other than New York City where square footage was easier to come by — I would happily invite all of the aliens into the home. But that is not reality.

So instead, I ask: Can you love someone, but not love their stuff?

This of course reminded me of the iconic wagon wheel coffee table scene from When Harry Met Sally. Marie and Jess are moving in together — and negotiating which belongings to keep and which to discard — when his wagon wheel coffee table comes under fire.

“I like it! It works. It says home to me,” Jess says, as he walks through their inexplicably large movie apartment to behold his beloved table.
“All right, well let Harry and Sally be the judge,” Marie says.
Sally wrinkles her nose in distate.
“What’s so awful about it?” Jess asks. He is truly curious. No one ever thinks their own things are awful.

Of course, the scene ends with Jess stumbling out of the building, to place the wagon wheel on the curb.

“This process is something everyone goes through,” says my friend Lisa, who is long married and settled into a suburban home with two children. “Eventually, everything starts to feel mutual.” She pauses before adding, “For a while, I would make things disappear when Jeff was away on business trips.”

“My partner refuses to part with the legless sectional that spreads apart when you sit on it,” says another friend, rolling her eyes.

“I think I was the wagon wheel person,” laughs another friend. “When we moved in together, I didn’t know anything about design!”

Where I am concerned with aesthetics, my boyfriend is preoccupied with practicality. He controls the land of security cameras and carbon monoxide detectors, while I find ways to conceal them.

“Where will we keep my fire extinguisher?” he recently asked, brandishing the large red monstrosity.
“Um, nowhere?” I offered.
Indeed, I recognize that fire extinguishers are for safety, not for beholding. But does my small Brooklyn apartment need to resemble an amateur fire station?

Later that night, we were reading in bed when he held up his phone screen. I braced myself for whatever hideous safety item was surely waiting to greet me. Instead, I saw this design-y fire extinguisher, in the shape of a duck. To some, this would seem like an utterly absurd purchase. To me, it was a beautiful olive branch — the perfect blend of practical (him) and ridiculous (me).

At the end of the day, even welcome changes can be scary. I recognize that on some level, I worry much less about maintaining a “perfect” home than I do about bidding farewell to another time of my life, or succumbing to the fear that I’m losing some part of my identity. In an otherwise chaotic world, my home has long been the one variable I could control. I may not be able to alter world events, but I can organize the heck out of a bookshelf.

A few days ago, while walking past the fortress of boxes that now clutters the center of his apartment, I grew frightened. Then I stopped and took a deep breath.

“We’re going to find this funny in a year!” I said, and meant it. I have no doubt that someday, we’ll achieve the right balance. Until then, at least we have the duck.

What’s your version of the wagon wheel coffee table? Have you ever had any ongoing debates with a partner or a roommate? I’d love to discuss.

P.S. My Brooklyn apartment (before the merger) and how to know your partner is the one.

  1. I’m in my early 40s and just moved in with my boyfriend about 2 months ago after living alone for 12 years. I had a lot of stuff! So much stuff. And I really identify with the comments on the idea of transforming your identity. We agreed that I would move into his place since my lease was ending and he lived in a nicer, but smaller, apartment and had another 10 months on his lease… And then I panicked! I started sobbing in the middle of the night about how my end table had been my grandmother’s and what was going to become of me… but he talked me down. We both had to do a huge purge to make space. He gave up most of his furniture and I moved mine in, I gave away hundreds of books, bags of shoes, half my kitchen stuff and my Duralex drinking glasses (too ugly, apparently…) and he gave away books, CDs, records… and we got a small storage unit. And after those few months we’re settling in and it feels like a totally new space. His old apartment, but with a twist. His goal, he said, had been to make it into a new space that felt like “ours” and it’s been really lovely so far.

  2. Diane says...

    My husband had a ceramic frog planter when we got married. The planter frog had long human-like limbs and a dying plant in a hole in his back. I slowly moved it from the kitchen table to less prominent locations in our house until it disappeared. He never said anything about it, so maybe I could have just come out and said, “That is one ugly planter.” We’ve been married almost 38 sweet years.

  3. Theresa says...

    My husband doesn’t care too much about the decor and didn’t bring much with him when we moved in together, but his ‘thing’ is home security: cameras outside, sensors inside, streaming feeds, etc. The pièce de résistance is his GIANT BASEBALL BAT (with dents in it!) that he keeps on the floor under his side of the bed. I hate that thing – it looks like something Sonny Corleone would go after you with. I can’t imagine that this will actually be helpful in a security incident with a bandit who has managed to get past everything else, but sure. You do you, baby. :) When our cleaning lady is here, I can hear her drag it out to vacuum and then roll it slowly back into place under the bed. She’s never mentioned it, but when she does I wonder if I will tell her the truth or weave a thrilling origin story…It’s tempting.

  4. Leah says...

    I had a framed Frida Kahlo print hanging in my apartment when I lived alone – she looks so fierce and I loved looking at her everyday when I left in the morning! My husband unfortunately doesn’t feel the same way about this “lady with a mustache” – she’s still in a closet though, for a future bigger home! =)

  5. Mallory says...

    10 years later and I have been completely ineffectual at reducing my husband’s LEGO collection (THREE FILING CABINETS’ WORTH).

  6. Danielle says...

    The UGLIEST red rug he insisted go in our bedroom, even though my bedroom was a beautiful mint/gray theme when he moved in. I gave it the side-eye every time I walked past.

    Unfortunately, he moved out two weeks ago. It was sad, but we’re friends. As he moved stuff out and we were splitting up our things, he said so sweetly, “oh! do you want to keep the rug?” and I QUICKLY answered, “NO!” I think his feeling were hurt, but I think it’s nice I conceded for over a year on the rug! ;)

  7. Kiley says...

    A ratty comforter that he doesn’t even use because it’s so threadbare, but can’t part with it because his grandma gave it to him. I have met his grandma, she is a woman of taste, if she saw what this comforter has become I have no doubt she’d tell him to pitch it. Alas, it still takes up real estate in our linen closet.

  8. Amy says...

    When I met my boyfriend he was sleeping with a twin comforter on his queen-sized bed, one of those cheap blue and white striped ones that I swear every single 21-35 year old guy has. When I moved in I brought my bigger duvet and swapped it out with no complaints…only to have him freak out when I tried to bring the cheap blue comforter to Goodwill. We argued about it, I told him I thought he was being ridiculous (we lived in a 600 sq ft apartment with no storage space) and I left to take it to Goodwill. Halfway there I had a change of heart and realized if this was going to work out, I had to accept him as he was, even if I thought his attachment to an ugly blanket was a little excessive. So I made the Goodwill delivery but kept the blanket in the car and brought it home. 2+ years later, he still uses it regularly and we’re about to move it into our first home. I have accepted that this blanket will probably be with us for the rest of time. A small price to pay for true love.

  9. Jen says...

    A horrible teal pleather overstuffed recliner… my now-husband only had it because his mother’s friend was trying to get it out of her house (it was her husband’s and she hated it for years)… she used the excuse that my husband was “moving out on his own post college”, even though I had so much furniture I loaned him the smaller half of my couch set (knowing we would live together a year later)… that thing lived in our shared apartment for years until I bought a Pilates reformer and threw it out… he still tells me he misses it and I still roll my eyes.

  10. Karri says...

    My partner had (gasp!) bedbugs when we met. We often joke that I must have REALLY liked him, since I didn’t blink an eye about living out of giant ziplock bags when we started dating. He eventually moved into a brand new, clean but tiny “box in the sky” style condo, where his only possessions were a blow up mattress and the few things he was able to salvage from the BBs. He moved into my apartment a year later and brought next to nothing with him. So really, the BBs (as stressful and awful as it was) served a positive function: divesting him of all his fratboy-esque stuff with me having to put up a fuss! We’ve lived together now for about a decade. 2 houses and 2 kids later, I still tend to call all the shots design-wise, but I always consult him and take his taste into consideration. I recognize that he doesn’t spend time following design blogs and falling down pinterest holes, so he doesn’t care about trends, which helps ground me from making too many bold design decisions I might regret a year later.

  11. Kristen says...

    My husband had four 1990’s corporate style desk chairs for dining chairs. Like, on purpose. Camel brown leather, with arms that had little leather ovals for your elbows to rest (I presume for typing or serious business decision making), and wheels!! They were the most hideous things I had ever seen and you had to flex your abs while eating dinner or you would slowly start to roll backwards away from the table… When he agreed my love was worth a long goodbye with the chairs he was (and still is) absolutely stunned that no one would buy them, or take them off the curb. He still references the “great find” that they passed up that day.

  12. Jenni says...

    I skimmed the beginning of this without finishing when I yelled at my partner, “Hey, this sounds like us!” I started reading it aloud to him, then found myself choking up with tears when I got to the part about being afraid of losing my identity. I felt/feel that so deeply. Fortunately I have a partner that patiently loves me through the process of grieving my singlehood while I also cherish this new season of partnership. Changes is hard and beautiful.

    • Nicole says...

      As someone who really enjoys their singlehood at 37 (but expects to one day be partnered up), I would love to read an article about this grieving the loss of one identify for another. I am sure the same thing applies to becoming a mother.

  13. Kristen says...

    Binders upon binders of
    Baseball cards. Bless.

  14. Stephanie says...

    A massive box of childhood hockey trophy’s my husband swears our sons will be interested in one day and refuses to get rid of. For now it lives in our basement.

  15. I’m just now realizing that because of my strong point of view on design and decor AND my stubbornness, my boyfriend-now-husband has re-oriented himself on these topics in our nearly 10 years together. I helped him paint his apartment shortly after we started dating. Lots of dark yellows and browns. Quilts on the walls, overstuffed couches… now we live in an airy house with white walls, neat mid century furniture, tasteful art. Ha! My tastes have evolved over the years but never because of him. So grateful I ended up with someone more open and flexible than me 😅😅

  16. Fran says...

    My boyfriend has a painting of brightly colored and sort of metallic fruit and vegetable people eating the last supper. In a velvet frame. He insists it belongs in the dining room (so literal) and I just can’t win this one. Sometimes he sees the artist’s other work in galleries and gets excited and I have to create a diversion.

  17. polyana says...

    My boyfriend’s wagon wheel was his entire apartment! When we decided to move into together, it was I who lived with roommates, and he had an apartment to himself – and although it was a great apartment, he’d lived there with an ex years earlier. I refused to move into all that bad “energy,” and insisted we needed pool our things into a new apartment that would be just ours and not “used to be his and she-who-shall-not-be-named, and now is ours.” We moved into another apartment in the same building. Fortunately he was very understanding, however unpractical I was being, and so needless to say, we’re still happily under the same roof :-)

  18. Vanessa says...

    I think the only way for established adults to handle this is to move someplace fresh and get help from a designer who doesn’t know what belongs to whom. Let them choose! I did try to help a friend with her messy house once and she could not get rid of much of the mess at the the end of the day. It was counter-productive as it seemed to stress her out that I was there. But while I was working I noticed that she hadn’t allowed her new husband any room to bring his belongings. It was an odd thing for a 50-year-old woman to marry but not scooch over to make any room. I do think it goes both ways though and that men do it to women also.

  19. reba says...

    I feel silly about it now, but I definitely put off buying a house by myself (spoiler alert: I do not live in NYC) for a few years after it made financial sense to do so because I worried it would mean being alone forever. It is hard enough to find someone who wants me…where was I ever going to find someone who wanted me AND a house full of stuff? Two years on, and I love my little solo house more than I expected and have filled it with things I enjoy: there are worse places to be alone forever

    • Abby says...

      Thanks for sharing Reba! Powerful comment! Love from Belgium!

    • Laura says...

      Oh Reba this is so good to hear! I’m in that same boat– I have the ability to buy a house but I’m so nervous that it means I’m settling in for solo life forever. I’m with you & appreciate that you’re living your life to the fullest out there. Thanks for sharing this, it gave me a little bit of spark of joy today.

  20. Emma says...

    My partner lived in a stereotypical bachelor bad. There were 7 pieces of furniture: an antique bar cart that used to be his grandmas, a wildly uncomfortable couch, a media stand, a tv, a bed, and two bar stools. When we moved in together, we agreed on most everything (keep the bar cart, dump the rest). BUT what he lacked in furniture he made up in “art.” There was the gold leaf canvas with with multi colored brush strokes, the neon, over-sized city skyline monstrosity, and worst of all the dachshund playing baseball. The baseball playing dachshund wore a backwards cap. The canvas was punctuated by bold slogans like go team, #1 dog, graphics. It barely belonged in a 6 year old boys bedroom but my 32 year old partner who never played a game baseball in his life LOVED it. It spawned one of our biggest fights. In the end, we found someone who paints pets on etsy and had her make us a watercolor dachshund in a backwards hat that will probably follow us to every future home. Compromise?

    • Ellen says...

      This is hilarious! It sounds like something my Mother-in-Law would buy as a well-meaning gift.

  21. Tovah says...

    A bit off topic, but I immediately noticed the prop moving boxes in the photo from When Harry Met Sally and, OMG, MOISHE’S!!! This is a real company still working today that moved us from Manhattan to Jersey City and then from Jersey City to Virginia. I had no idea they went way back like that.

  22. Meggles says...

    He sounds like a such a keeper. My husband is the one that concerns himself w/ things like carbon monoxide detectors. I’ve felt cared for for over 19 years. :)

  23. Noël says...

    Ok, while I don’t necessarily have a wagon wheel, this does remind me of the day after my partner first moved in. He casually asked me if I wanted to throw some lights into his laundry load since he had some extra room. As I began to rummage through my hamper, I became overwhelmed by the concept that the space formally all my own, was now shared. The laundry machine that I bought was now being used by someone else. The comfortable solitude that I had reveled in was now uprooted by someone I loved who would ask me to do things like laundry. I have no idea what he thought when he found me bawling, but to his credit, he just sat and held my hand.
    12 years later, we’re still together and now it just makes me laugh to think of that small terrifying laundry moment, at the threshold of our relationship.

    • Abby says...

      What a lovely comment. I cried a few tears at the upcoming prospect (very much have my own apartment in order while my partner will be the one with only a few boxes moving in). I can share the sentiment already!

  24. Bethany says...

    Definitely gone through this. We have been married for 10 years next month and finally have a 3 bedroom. Now we have the shared spaces that we must agree on all the decor, but we each have our own room/offices, too. There is truly nothing to fight over anymore.

    Of course, the caveat is this is in Arkansas where our mortgage in the nice part of the city is probably a fourth of a one-bedroom in NY.

  25. Meg says...

    Totally get this! One of the very few fights I have ever had with my now-husband (the ugly crying, this-might-not-work-out kind) resulted from the combining of our kitchenware. We didn’t have the space to keep everything we both had (we both love to cook), so we were going through each item before putting it away after moving in together. He held up one of my knives, looked at it, and put it in the “giveaway” pile and justified it (not unkindly, more matter-of-factly) because his knives were (objectively) better–and I LOST it. I started sobbing about how we were only keeping HIS stuff, mine had SENTIMENTAL value, all that…. a little later, after a sandwich and a good cry, I agreed with him that there was no sense in keeping a crappy knife just because it was MY knife. We are happily married now and joke about that night every so often, but there can be so much going on beneath the surface with situations like this.

  26. Megan says...

    I’d never lived on my own before moving in with my now-husband, whereas he’d had his own place for over 10 years. I was used to accommodating my roommate’s belongings so it was no biggie to accommodate my husband’s things and tastes, even the things that bothered me– like a poster of Clint Eastwood quotes that still hangs in our bathroom– because they were a part of the life of the person I wanted to be with.

    On the other hand, he put a tremendous amount of my stuff at the curb, usually without my knowledge or permission. A drinks cart that I’d painted lime green. My papasan chair I loved to curl up in. A Pottery Barn kitchen table that my roommate gave me in exchange for settling up her utility bill debt. He liked his cheap IKEA table better. I finally had enough when he threw out an afghan quilt my grandmother had knitted for me– it was the color of rainbow sherbert, so not exactly the height of style, but it was still a meaningful, cozy thing I owned and cherished, something that meant ‘home’ to me. After he threw that out, I went through my own stuff and, to make room for the things I loved, got rid of everything I could spare, including a few very uncomfortable dresses and shoes he thought were crazy sexy. When he asked where they were, I said they were the same place as my quilt. That’s when he finally stopped throwing out my things, but he still complains about them and it honestly makes me feel a lot less at home in our house.

    I guess that’s a guide of how NOT to move in together! Caroline, best of luck, and I feel like you guys are already off to a less rocky start than most couples!

    • A says...

      This makes me really sad, I hope he makes up for it in other ways (and accepts you, as you are, without criticism!).

  27. RS says...

    10 years ago, I moved states to be closer to the person I’d been dating for 6 months (who later became my spouse). He had a two family house with two one bedroom apartments, and the lease was up on the downstairs apartment so I moved in. We lived together, but our stuff was apart. His home stayed the same, and all my stuff moved in downstairs. He cooked half our meals in his kitchen, and I cooked the other half in mine. We had separate bathrooms, decor, closets – we even traded sleeping upstairs and downstairs because our cats could not figure out how to get along. We got married 5 years ago. And…we still live like this (except for the sleeping – the cats have all gone, so “my” bedroom is now the guest room and my dressing room). We keep talking about buying a single family house (and I’m confident we will someday as I’m over the two kitchen thing; the turmeric is ALWAYS on the other floor, along with the dutch oven) and when that happens we will finally have to go through our wagon wheel phase. Jury is out on whether it’s going to be easier after 10+ years of being together, or actually much, much worse. (ps I cannot recommend two bathrooms with separate hot water heaters enough)

    • Emily Hayden says...

      This is my absolute dream. I refuse to share a bathroom on a long-term basis ever again. I am much better partner when I have my own personal space, and it’s much easier if I just admit that to myself!

  28. Charlotte says...

    Oh man, I feel so so many things reading these because my partner got rid of everything except for his essentials (clothes and toiletries!) when we moved in together. All of our furniture was either mine before or stuff we’ve bought together. He absolutely has a say in what we buy but our house definitely has my fingerprints all over it. And he’s totally fine with that! He says I have nice stuff and it feels like home to him so he’s happy. He’s a gift and I love him.

    His mother on the other hand takes great umbrage with the fact that the “house has only my stuff in it”. He openly goes to bat and shuts her down about it, but five years in and she still brings it up all the time. She raised the kindest and most open-hearted son–he’s a catch! Why you’d want to sow bad seeds where there are none? Sheesh.

    • A says...

      LOL, my MIL was (well, IS) similar. She wanted all the decor in our space to be what my husband likes, 100%, no compromising for what *I* like allowed. Luckily, he doesn’t agree with her!

  29. Kelly says...

    my husband has a 7 foot long stuffed marlin, which he caught, that hangs in our office…the only wall in the house that can accommodate it. thankfully it is a room most visitors never see. but we are about to get quotes for custom woodwork in the office and I gingerly broached the topic of ‘getting rid of the marlin’…

    looks like our custom woodwork will be built around the d@mn marlin…

  30. this is such a fun topic. after only 10 months of dating i moved into my boyfriend’s apartment years ago and it was the epitome of a boys home (3 boys – lots of terrible items). i tackled our bedroom – goodbye 50 cent holding a baby poster and elvis american flag (WHY). last month we moved into a new apt and he’s given me the reins for decor. our wagon wheel: a garlic thing that is not very useful but takes up a precious space in our tiny kitchen …. still working on sending it to our reuse store! most importantly, i also felt the same way you did before the move but it was a big leap/growing step for me and probably the best decision i’ve made. evolving is hard but never a bad thing: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2019/08/0045-summer-surviving-thriving.html
    ps. what an awesome fire extinguisher!! that was the first bad thing i noticed (hard to miss) and tried to hide at our new place

  31. Alice says...

    So, I have a sideline-but-related question. My boyfriend and I aren’t quite at the moving in stage yet (but hopefully soon!). I currently live with housemates and have very minimal furniture of my own, and he owns his own place and it’s completely furnished/ decorated.
    How do you navigate that? His style is lovely, but very masculine and not my style at all. I’d prefer much lighter, brighter, etc. How do you navigate to a joint style if one of you owns the place/ the furniture/ etc?! I’m worried that if/ when we do move in together, it will feel like I’m just staying in HIS place, rather than living in OUR place?

    • M says...

      I had the same dilemma. I had a fully furnished apartment, but it was rather small. I moved in to my husband’s apartment and it was much bigger and fully furnished as well. The idea of moving there bothered me because… It was not only HIS apartment (like, he owns it so I wouldn’t have to pay a dime to live there), but also it was his SINGLE LIFE apartment. I’m not even the jealous type, it wasn’t about that. I just didn’t want to feel like I was on borrowed time there. I wanted it to feel like OUR home, not mine or his. I told him that, because I was honestly considering us finding another apartment to live, instead of me moving there. He was understanding and we decided to get everything new. Apart from some utilities that were brand new, or things I’d say “oh, I just love this coffee table enough to keep it”. I also didn’t bring any major things with me. Of course it meant spending more, but it was such an amazing fun process. And we LOVED that apartment. It was our first home together, we used to prefer staying in just to enjoy it. I miss that place dearly, so I totally recommend doing the same if you can. :)
      ps: to choose things, we would rank our personal priorities. He wanted a comfortable couch, he didn’t care what it looked like, as long as it wasn’t velvet or had capitonê. I wanted it pretty and grey. I wanted a cozy bedroom, he wanted a “sleek” office. He wanted a big TV. I’m a chef, so the kitchen was my domain. For art, we would just say “I hate/I love” and find one that we both liked. I wanted a huge wall-to-ceiling bookshelf. He wanted an exposed brick wall. At the end, the apartment truly looked like us.

  32. Angela says...

    OMG- my husband owned a psychedelic framed poster (he made the frame himself!) of an elf smoking a pipe whilst sitting on a mushroom in a forest. It was in the living room FOR YEARS behind the front door. I begged and pleaded for him to get rid of it, but often forgot about it due to its placement. Finally while on maternity leave with our twins, sitting down to hook up to my breast pump, said newborn twins in swings/ bouncers, I was overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of that poster in our family home! I took it down and put it out with the trash. The funniest part is my husband is the most vanilla, conservative person when it comes to drugs and experimentation (opposites attract!). You would think the poster reminded him of a “freer time” or his college years before kids, but nope; he was just damn stubborn.

    • Erin says...

      This made me laugh so hard! That poster sounds hideous!

  33. Lauren E. says...

    A framed, vintage copy of Sports Illustrated with Hulk Hogan on the cover.

    Don’t worry, I worked it seamlessly into our gallery wall, and only every once in awhile does someone say, “Is that… Hulk Hogan?” And everyone gets a good laugh out of it. I’m basically the best wife ever.

    • Angela says...

      You are THE BEST wife! LOL So sad I couldn’t sneak that psychedelic-pipe-smoking-elf picture into ours!

  34. Julie says...

    When I first moved in with my now husband, he absolutely refused to replace the shower curtain in the bathroom.

    1. It was vinyl and acted as both the curtain and the liner.
    2. It was red and orange with a tacky looking palm tree.
    3. It was ripped.
    4. His ROOMMATE had brought it with him…years before.

    I realized at the time that he was rebelling a little over the many changes that his home was going through, so I dropped it and let him have his come to Jesus ugly curtain moment on his own. Which thankfully was a month later.

  35. When I first moved in with my now husband, I brought everything. It wasn’t until 6 months later when we got a bigger apartment together that we really looked at everything and decided together what we both should part with. We now have a house, but its small, so we are still getting rid of what we feel no longer serves its purpose.

  36. Holly says...

    My boyfriend (Nick) and I are getting ready to move in together in six months and are currently going through the “Wagon Wheel Coffee Table Stage”! Every time we sit down to talk about it we openly discuss what each of us wants to keep and what to get rid of. I didn’t win my battle with my lovely Pottery Barn couch. It’s my one special piece to me in my studio apartment because I’ve always wanted a piece of furniture from there and I finally worked my way to get it!

    Nick claims that this is the most uncomfortable couch and way too small for the two of us in our new place. I put up a good fight but in the end I decided to comprise because for one it is terribly uncomfortable and two that couch represented my solo chapter in my life. For now we shall move on to bigger and better couches, together!

    Women throw out things too ;)

    -Holly

  37. Janet says...

    The futon! Olive green with some fake tribal yellow and red print on the other side. We have moved with it THREE TIMES over the course of 10 years. Why won’t that hideous, college relic just break already?!

  38. Kristin says...

    When my now husband moved in with me he had a huge purple desk. It was hideous. It moved in with him but went to the curb shortly after when it was replaced with a beautiful vintage work table from the OG Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene.

    It also took me YEARS to convince him to get rid of all of his CDs. There are still a few box sets he refuses to donate and we haven’t owned a CD player in 6 years…

    • Angela says...

      We have totes full of my husband’s beloved CD collection! I guess they are out of sight/ out of mind in the basement now, but thank you for reminding me of the good fight we’d had several years ago.

  39. Nicki says...

    Comic books!

    I met my now-husband just a couple of years after I had bought (and proudly furnished) my first apartment in Berlin, my home town. He’s from another country (France) and we were both working abroad at the time, and I felt so lucky that he agreed to make my city and my place our joint home. I felt even luckier that this meant it wasn’t logistically convenient for him to bring any of his furniture or stuff into our new home. At first at least.

    Three years later, we got married in his home town in France, which he decided was a good occasion to move a “few small things” out of his parents home. A few small things mainly turned out to be a massive collection of “BD” (Bandes Dessinées), or graphic novels/comic books – something that many French children and adults collect and exchange. Reading these comments, I wonder if his BD collection is equivalent to the many DVD collections mentioned?

    We ended up having to rent two cars to drive the whole collection from France to Germany. While I was not excited about them at the time, I’ve grown to embrace our collection, as I can see how much my husband loves re-reading them and sharing his BD with visitors. All of our French friends and family who visit positively gravitate towards those shelves, and my husband actively trades them with friends and colleagues (sometimes by mail.)

    I loved reading the stories in these comments, and also Caroline’s wisdom in knowing that she’ll be laughing about all of this in a year’s time. Good luck with the move!

    • Kelly says...

      Oh, mon dieu, oui! My French husband moved his collection of BD from France to Seattle when we moved back to my hometown seven years ago, after living in his for 12 years. He also moved his 7 (seven!!) guitars and a whole bunch of musical equipment. To be fair, he is a musician, so the guitars and musical equipment serve a purpose. I’m like you though, Nicki– he loves reading and re-reading them, and has passed his passion on to his friends. It’s a very French thing that I took a long time to fully appreciate.

  40. rach says...

    My husband and i both had our “wagon wheel coffee table” items and i love that i married a man who has his own opinion and wasn’t afraid to tell me what it was. I had lived on my own for a long time before my husband and I married/moved in together & I was into shabby chic vintage style (thankfully not so much anymore) and my husband made it very clear that flowers and birds we’re not welcomed in our new home… lol, in a tactful and kind way. He had a few random african style wooden masks that got a major veto from me (they freaked me out!), and stayed in our garage for a few years before he gave them to a thrift store… nothing major and thankfully we have merged into a very similar beachy casual modern style and have invested in furniture/decor that fit that style! It’s fun developing styles as you grow into mature adults and really figure out what styles you like.

    • Erin says...

      This exactly!! My style was very retro 1950s (think lots of pink pyrex, hanging vintage aprons on the walls, and cutesy items), and my husband was a mismatch between mid-century modern and um country?

      Thankfully he had been gearing up for a move and I had juts moved cities when we met, so when we moved in together after almost 2 years, neither of us had much stuff.

      It’s been very fun growing and settling into our style together. When we got married we registered for all new dishes that really encompass what we both like. I sometimes miss my old things, but in a nostalgic I miss being in my 20s way.

  41. Hannah says...

    When my then-boyfriend (and now-husband) and I moved in together into a completely new appartment, I made sure to Marie Kondo the hell out of my appartment. I sorted and discarded and even neatly folded everything. My partner … did not. He’s a very organised and tidy person, but he had a lot of stuff. It took at least half a year of living with his clutter that he finally had the grand idea that he should discard or sell things. ;)
    He also moved in with two butt-ugly glass shelves – all our guests even commented on how hideous they were. He only had them because they were cheap and practical, but it still took maybe two years to get rid of them.
    Moving in together is a lot about negotiating, though, and I’m sure I got my fair share of passes in return. Like the furniture in the bedroom (all new, save for one sideboard) or turning our office into some sort of personal library.

  42. Emma says...

    I love this post, but it’s somehow so sad and disappointing that most of the comments are about husbands being made to throw away things that they treasure because they’re not stylish or don’t go with a specific, desired aesthetic. Or, worse, these things are being quietly thrown away without their knowledge. Maybe I’m just a sentimental person, but I would be so hurt if my husband made me keep my things in the basement or garage because he deemed it too unsightly. It breaks my little heart just thinking about it.
    Years ago, for my birthday, my husband (then boyfriend) surprised me with a desk he had assembled for me while I was at work. We were young and had very little money, and the desk was one of those cheap, particle board, monstrosities you can get from Walmart or Amazon. Black, plasticky, angular, and hideous. I still have it to this day (covered in plants) and like hell is anyone ever going to make me get rid of it.
    Point is, if it’s special to them, if it sparks their joy, who cares what it looks like? Life’s not all about the ‘gram. :(

    • Vero says...

      Totally agree. I wonder if Instagram and Facebook have contributed even more to this. Before that, you weren’t broadcasting what your house looked like and creating a narrative about who you are/your space, you were just living in it! It was just for you and your family. Houses used to be comfortable too. I remember when people started buying uncomfortable couches because they looked nice. Like… what! You’re going to get a couch you can’t flop down on at the end of a long day comfortably?

      It’s just kind of odd…. we’re making our partners shrink and fit into a lesser space that we’re giving them. It doesn’t feel balanced. They should be allowed to express themselves in their home too. I wonder if that’s partially contributing to why they have mid life crises and go out and get a gaudy sports car or an apartment they can decorate however they want!

    • Cait says...

      I so agree with this – the getting rid of stuff while people are gone is so disrespectful in my opinion. I would freak if my husband did something like that behind my back. Do I wish he’d throw out some of his old t shirts and get new ones? Yes. Might I buy him new ones for a stocking stuffer? Yes. But throwing away his old ones to me smacks of a parental type action and I’m definitely not his mom.

    • denise says...

      Thank you for this. My husband died eight years ago, and I’d give anything to have back some of our first apartment items.

  43. Polly says...

    That fire extinguisher is beautiful!
    My husband is hanging onto an ugly piece of batik art. The thing is, I know he only likes it because he grew up with it and it’s a nostalgic thing for him, so I haven’t asked him to throw it away (too strongly anyway…). I hope that when we have a bigger home, we can just hang it in a dark corner somewhere…

    x

  44. Jodi says...

    Uuum, I once had a VERY hot fling with a guy from Montana and we decided to just throw caution to the wind and relocate him here to my house in the San Juan islands. The day he arrived, his truck packed full of his belongings, he walked through the door with a hunting bow in his hand, glanced up to find a nail on the wall & proceeded to hang it there. A HUNTING BOW. Yeah, well you can guess how that all worked out. Six months later he moved out, hunting bow and all.

  45. Ser says...

    My husband loves artificial scents . Any artificial scents . To him, they smell “ clean”. To me , they smell like a train seat. Dirty and public . I CANNOT with them. I bin all his scented candles and smelly scent sticks and keep the place blasted with essential oils . This is non negotiable.

  46. Lucy says...

    I am lucky that my husband immigrated here so there was no ‘wagon wheel’, some of his clothes on the other hand…

  47. Allie says...

    My husband has a 1990s Laz Z Boy that is covered in a worn sort of rainbow tartan. One summer when we were students, he had it in storage, and something peed all over so I thought we would finally get rid of it. Nope, he spent time and money having it cleaned and 10 years later it now lives in our house. My big plan is for his 40th birthday to replace it w an updated one that’s just as comfy.

  48. WT says...

    Our rule was that each person got three items the other could not veto. Everything else was up for negotiation. It truly worked so well!

  49. Kara says...

    When my husband asked where all his baseball bobble heads went one day I said, “In their house! It even has a door!” “That’s a cabinet,” he said. Now they live on my twin boys’ desks in their bedroom, which makes him (and me) happy. :)

  50. Jess says...

    Taxidermy…fortunately we have a basement.