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. T says...

    A giant, novelty sized, swatch watch wall clock. What’s worse is IT DOESN’T WORK! “But it looks cool”.

  2. Dienesa says...

    This post makes me think of another question: How do you know when it is a good/right time to move in with your boyfriend/girlfriend?

    • Em says...

      Yes please to this question!!!!!

  3. Zoe says...

    Patriots. Fleece. Blanket.

  4. Amy says...

    My husband has a replica Viking axe that he won at a tournament in high school. Sharp blade and all. It’s moved with us since we’ve been together and every time I have to re-remember how ridiculous it is that we own it. With three young kids now it stays bubble-wrapped in the basement!

  5. Bonnie says...

    This isn’t wagon wheel level, since I don’t hate it, but the “bomb shelter desk.” My husband bought it for ten dollars at the “property disposal center” in grad school. It’s huge, heavy and metal with a fake wood (plastic?) top. I name it this way because I imagine that it would have been perfect for kids to hide under during their “duck and cover” air raid practices during the 1950s. Oh, and we have a very large, heavy and broken drill press…they both live in the garage, which is where they belong.

    • Elif says...

      Haha! This comes at a time when I am binge watching Sex and the City episodes while breastfeeding my 3 month-old and I come accross the one where Carrie has a nervous breakdown as Aidan moves in! I am glad you guys are finding compromises peacefully! As for me, I was able to get rid of my boyfriend’s (now husband) ugly brown secondhand shelves a couple of years after we moved in together and only after I was willing to give up my Ikea chairs :) Funny we decided to leave all our furniture curated through years of negotiation behind, moved to Brooklyn all the way from Istanbul, furnished a one-bedroom from scratch and had a baby five years after that move-in!

  6. jta says...

    I am grateful that my husband is pretty non-materialistic and spends money on nothing else but coffee and guitar equipment. I am also lucky that he lets me make all the design decisions in the house. We’re completely gutting and renovating our home and we have had only one argument on the design. (He wanted divided light windows and I didn’t. I let him have his divided lights.)

    But the one item that I’ve been waiting to get rid of is this jalapeno/sombrero shaped ash tray. He likes to put it on our coffee table. Even though neither of us smoke, we have no friends who smoke, and we would never allow a smoker in our house. It is also chipped. I am secretly hoping that he parts with it once our renovation is finished. I’ll hold my breath.

  7. Greta says...

    I resent that you have to label your needs for a well-designed space as “ridiculous.” I think the need for beautiful surroundings is important. I am lucky to have a partner who lets me mostly keep what I want inside the house as long as he has a garage. But I find that the interior of my home is important to my well being and mental health in a way that is just as valid as practicality.

  8. Jan says...

    We are 60, married 33 years. Just sold all our belongings and home and took off with a car and tent. My husband kept 3 things for storage, 55 lbs of nails, 6 pairs of snowshoes and 4 boxes of books. It’s all stuff (shit). And in the end, the ONLY thing you really need to hold on to, is each other.

    • Rashmi says...

      You said my words. My now husband and then boyfriend and I moved in together with both bringing whatever we wanted. We never felt the need to exchange opinions on the other person’s stuff because we were just so thrilled that we were now living together after spending 2 years long distance and 4 living apart. Nothing else mattered.

    • M.Y.M. says...

      I would love to meet you husband and see his nail collection!

    • Mari says...

      Ohhh, that’s so perfect!

  9. Mouse says...

    My first husband hung out with a lot of artsy people and on a random table he had an old cast iron fry pan with an insert for poached eggs and in those egg shapes he had light bulbs. “Conceptual art”, apparently……..

    I refused to move in until he got rid of it. Good lord.

  10. Erica says...

    My husband had a hideous, enormous puke-brown couch. Despite how awful it was, he brought it to our first shared apartment because I didn’t have any couch at all in my tiny studio. Fortunately (for me), it didn’t fit in the new building’s elevator or stairwell, and we had to pay the movers to take it away. It took us four months to agree on a replacement, but it was worth it to have a semi-attractive gray couch instead.

    However, six years and another move later the matching (also hideous) recliner is still sitting in our living room.

    • Greta says...

      We once had a terrible recliner, too. It was a brown microsuede chair-and-a-half (aka enormous). It was hideous. Somehow we dodged the bullet of the matching ottoman. (Both came from his parents and they accidentally gave the ottoman away before it could follow the chair to our place. Oh, darn.) It became our dog chair – our Sadie took it over and she grew from puppy to 65-lb beast sleeping sprawled on that chair. I learned to love it. But I also loved the day we gave it away!

    • Sarah says...

      My now-husband had a huge, brown, marshmallow recliner sofa that he inherited from his parents when he went to college. He wanted to bring it with him when we moved in, even though a huge patch of leather was missing from one seat, and he had patched it with duct tape. (“But the tape matches the leather!”) The tape was half-melted from the sun and would ruin your shirt if you sat there. I’m usually pretty easy-going, but I flat out refused to have it in our new home. We still laugh about it :)

  11. Kim says...

    I think I had the wagon wheel piece! I moved from my studio into his and my pieces were more mid century modern and his are modern. The desk I had was not mid century. It was a solid oak, giant piece of desk. My perfect art desk was complete with built in dividers, hidden drawers, all sorts of fun things. It was not pretty to look at. It was so big and so heavy, it came apart in pieces to move it. I had moved it the year prior from my previous city and when I packed up the moving truck with my friend, we routinely collapsed into hysterics trying to lift the pieces. It absolutely was a monstrosity that never would have fit or fit in to his place. I bid the poor thing adieu and moved in. Probably two years later we got married, we’ve moved a bunch more since and I still yearn for the desk.

    It was worth it, though.

  12. Claire says...

    Music equipment. Large black speaker cabinets.

  13. Lauren says...

    My favorite bookcase is mine only, except for the one book of his I let him put there because it’s oversized and also beautiful, and I have a shelf for oversized, beautiful books. Otherwise? Nope.

  14. Caroline,

    I love your writing so much.

    And that duck is priceless. Hope moving in together is all it’s quacked up to be. (Sorry, lame, couldn’t resist.)

    Enjoy the adventure!
    Kelly

    p.s. Any WHMS reference is a winner in my book.

  15. Alex says...

    When we were dating my husband had a trio of Guinness posters that I dreaded having to fit in when we got married. Thankfully, his roommate insisted they stay in the apartment they shared (yay!).

  16. Jodi says...

    My husband and I don’t have many issues with differing tastes, but my biggest beef is how we actually keep all of our stuff. I like to keep our home clean and tidy, and no matter how many cute and encouraging ways I ask him to put his shoes (or this or that) away properly, they’re always strewed all over the entryway, me tripping, always. I guess there may come a day that I miss his shoes like that. And maybe there’s a day where we all miss those quirky, wagon wheel coffee tables, things “we couldn’t dare live with” when we look back… gosh now I’m teary.

    • Midge says...

      Jodi, my husband used to take off his belt and drape it on the couch when he came home from work. Then he’d put his shirt in the hamper and his shoes in the closet as he changed into comfy clothes, but the damn belts would just proliferate on the couch.

      So I started hiding them where he would find them. One got buckled around his pillow, inside the pillowcase. One was coiled in the coffeemaker. It made me die laughing and it only took a few days for the belts to find their way (every day!) to the closet.

      Caroline, it’s the things like this that make living together ridiculous and fun and funny and sweet.

      Jodi, good luck with the shoes!

    • Christy says...

      This.

  17. Rachel says...

    My husband’s home-brewing equipment that he hadn’t used for years (at all) but still held on to through two cross-country moves.

  18. M says...

    When my husband moved into my apartment he brought with him all his Victorian pastoral prints in gilded gold frames (his mother’s style… I think he just assumed that’s what went on walls?). Thankfully, he is the most flexible person on the planet so he didn’t mind at all when I veto-ed them in favour of actual paintings.

  19. Alyson says...

    My now-husband and I have been together for 8 years, through 3 moves (4 if you count the evening he showed up to my apartment with a box of DVDs, 2 plastic grocery bags of clothes and a 3-feet wide, square, purple chair whom I named Grimace and then hid by painting a wall the exact same shade) — including a still-fresh downsizing 3 states away — and we *still* have to have “the talk”. For me, it’s his never-ending-but-you-ALWAYS-ask-me-to-make-you-stuff cache of power tools. (He sold some and we drove the rest to storage near our new house which was 13 hours in a box truck I’m sure was sent straight from the hell-fires of “I told you so”. ) For him, it’s my obsession with books and cast iron cookware. So far, I’ve won that one (and made the movers carry it all in.) Agree to suspend any grudge-holding for at least 2 weeks during the most hectic parts and you’ll find that sooner or later that thing you fantasize about cramming down the garbage disposal and scattering to the winds will, in fact, be hilarious. Congrats on such a fun and funny adventure — you two will do great.

  20. MK says...

    I went through this change just a few weeks ago and this hits home SO HARD. The wagon wheel coffee table was my boyfriends massive, burgundy sectional. The thing is MASSIVE and was probably one of the first sectionals ever made, it’s so old. The back of one piece doesn’t stand upright on its own, it has to lean against a wall, where, after any sort of movement, it deposits a stripe of wine-colored pigment on the wall. My boyfriend and I went back and forth on which couch to bring to our new apartment for weeks – my chic, midcentury-esque chocolate couch that is in near-perfect condition and fits perfectly in an apartment – or his montrosity. Our respective couches represented a lot of what was important to us in a home: a place to stretch out, relax, and cuddle.

    We ended up with both. But! He conceded that his sectional was unsightly and was better placed in our den, where its added comfort would be conducive to movie nights when the lights are dim and we can’t quite see all of the scratches (it is a very comfortable couch, I have to concede). I also convinced him to get rid of the piece with the broken back so we would at least have some chance of getting our security deposit refunded. My couch is in the proper living room, since it’s a better couch for seating lots of people and meshes with the overall aesthetic much better.

    Neither of us got everything we wanted, but we’ve been in our new place 2 weeks together and I can’t imagine it any other way. Our compromise ended up making our home even better than he or I individually envisioned it. And now we get to cuddle in every room!

  21. Sarah says...

    Oh yes to all of this. My boyfriend and I moved in together a few months ago, and while it was a welcome change, it was scary and a bigger adjustment than I had expected (I’d been living alone for almost six years). We made it work, but giving up “control” of my living space was harder than I expected.

    Congratulations on a very exciting move, and when you start feeling insane because some of his stuff is NOT where you want it to be, (a) go for a walk and (b) know that it will annoy you less over time for sure.

  22. Joanna says...

    My husband loves collecting. He has boxes of nostalgic knick knacks from when we dated long distance. He has boxes with every movie ticket from every movie he’s been to. He even has a box filled with various sizes of boxes, should he need a box for something. I’m forever saying “this box can’t stay!” when we get packages delivered.

  23. Mara says...

    My now-husband-then-boyfriend moved into my 650-square-foot condo four years ago. He has hoarder tendencies for sure — he saves packaging of all appliances “just in case” and is generally a very messy person. I love him to pieces but certainly dislike the mess that he brought. I also sort of hate that in our society, it’s considered normal/ok for boys to be messy. My husband grew up in a traditional home with two equally messy brothers. Never did his parents teach him cleanliness and order growing up (they always had hired house cleaners)…and all the years before we lived together, he and his roommates paid for a cleaning woman once a week. This is the only negative thing about this wonderful man, and he has improved a bit over the last few years. But I often wonder if someone could be reformed and default to cleanliness/tidiness rather than grime/clutter in a VERY tight living space. Like if I didn’t clean the toilet, it would never get done and turn black before hubby noticed and thought to do something…

    • Claire says...

      Omg, saving the appliance packaging! My fiancé does this too. (Meanwhile, I’m like… are we expecting the toaster to get homesick for its box?!) Drives me up the wall. But I love him anyways ;)

    • Ana D says...

      I recommend hiring a cleaning person again. 100%. I personally can’t handle the resentment I experience when I’m taking on an unequal part of the housework. It is good for my soul and my relationship when the housecleaners come each month, and do the truly dirty work.

  24. Mali says...

    I LOVE the comments on this article. So many of them made me laugh out loud.
    Our “wagon wheel” is the huge Rubbermaid container of my husband’s childhood stuffed animals that my in-laws shipped overseas to us within weeks of our marriage. I was sure my new husband would happily part with his Carebear, Nessie, Pooh, over-sized bunny rabbit, and smiling knitted orange (which he insists is a tomato), among others (skunk and panda, here’s looking at you), especially considering we were living in a tiny studio apartment. Boy was I wrong.
    Fifteen years and several apartments later, we’ve still got ’em, and our kids don’t even play with them. But when he discovered that Nessie’s stuffing was leaking, he asked me to sew her up. (I complied, and Nessie is recovering nicely.)
    The one thing I did successfully get rid of was a pair of bloodstained grey sweatpants from his football glory days. Gross!!

    • Julie says...

      I think you win for kindest partner! Sewing a stuffed animal that has been in storage for 15 years is next level kindness!!

  25. Alice says...

    I’m fortunate that, for the most part, my husband and I share similar aesthetics. He is a designer, so often he’ll persuade me to try something unusual and it works, like an enormous bright orange overhead lampshade or a dark grey ceiling. BUT – he likes kitsch. He has not one but three holographic posters, the thick cardboard kind that amazed us all in the early 80’s. One is of a tiger, and he had it framed in a silver tiger striped frame. He puts it up, I move it. He moves it, and so it goes. The kids are now on his side and I feel I’m losing this battle.

  26. Susan says...

    Such a hilarious scene and it’s because almost everyone can relate to it! Bringing 2 different people’s stuff together is not easy, and the scene plays out similar to what usually happens in real life! Haha!

  27. Lisa says...

    When my boyfriend (now husband) was moving in, he had an ancient, threadbare, puke-brown bath towel we called The Brown Boy. He had a red velvet duvet cover that looked like the lining from Dracula’s coffin (nicknamed The Vampire) and the saddest, saggiest chest of drawers made out of CARDBOARD, probably originating from a moving company or something meant to be temporary. After much negotiation, he agreed to move in with only his clothes. But he lied and brought Brown Boy. I think Brown Boy lived with us for at least a decade or longer….

    • Rachel says...

      This is amazing. My husband had a 10-year-old pair of track pants that he kept wearing until they were threadbare. His mom called them the “million mile pants”

  28. Caitlin says...

    When my now husband and I first moved in together I discovered he had inherited a very large collection of his grandmother’s artwork, including a 15(!!) piece set of duck paintings. He tried hanging them up on a central wall of our living room until I balked, and he lovingly took them down. I’ve always been somewhat of a minimalist, but it turns out he’s the type that sees blank wall space and will do anything to cover it up. We compromised on some other artwork, and I was relieved to find out that he never really cared for the gaggle that now lives in our basement.

  29. Emily says...

    When my boyfriend and I moved in together, we were both coming from situations where we had roommates. To get organized, I created a google doc with everything we needed for the apartment. One of my items was a vacuum cleaner, which he said he had. When move in day arrived, I realized that he what he had was an industrial sized shop-vac (we live in a small urban apartment).

  30. veronica says...

    My boyfriend tried to bring a throw pillow into our apartment that had the words Live. Laugh. Love. embroidered on it. I mean, you really think you know someone …

    • Anna says...

      Omg! 😂

    • Alison says...

      Bwahahahahah!

    • Alex says...

      😂

    • liz says...

      I love that you say “tried” to bring haha

    • Midge says...

      In our case, he hated my awesome, gigantic, holds-everything, vintage Steelcase desk.

      Fortunately, I got to keep the elegant mahogany writing desk that makes me feel like I’m in a Daphne DuMaurier novel, plus the rustic secretary desk with a zillion pigeonholes that makes me feel capable and organized.

      I may have a thing about desks. 🤣

      In exchange, I put up with multiple baskets filled with cords. What do the cords go to? I have no idea.

    • Midge says...

      Oops! Not supposed to be a reply.

    • Julee says...

      I never moved in with my boyfriend or wanted to because I just loooved my own home and my own things, my way. I still miss that.
      When we combined households upon our marriage, it took me years to quietly throw away his “treasures” that he didn’t even know he had, which filled a whole closet. (Now we’re down to one shelf in the workroom in the basement so…)
      It wasn’t all bad. He brought some lovely (real) Persian rugs into the marriage, and a nice leaded crystal collection.

  31. Elly says...

    My husband bought a few model airplanes when we were visiting the Udvar Hazy Space Center in DC and displayed them on his large desk at work. Unfortunately, his job decided to downsize everyone’s spaces, and he wound up in a tiny cubicle with no room for a model Dreamliner or A320. So they came home. And we fought.

    The A320 is smaller and I was able to stow it rather unobtrusively on a low shelf. But the Dreamliner…it was a Problem. He wanted it on our dresser, where my curated collection of delicate gold jewelry and perfume bottles lives. The one spot in our home that is truly Instagram Worthy is this dresser top, with the gallery wall above it. And suddenly, a giant plastic model plane. Every day for months we took turns moving it — him to the dresser, me to his nightstand. Every day. I swore I’d win the war of attrition, and I did. But he still carries resentment for my disregard of his planes. They’re still displayed! Just in slightly less prominent places than he wishes.

    • Ana D says...

      A cool way to display planes that requires much less space – hang them from the ceiling. Granted, you have to live in a place that lets you put holes in the ceiling. But planes wanna fly, man…

  32. L says...

    I just moved into my boyfriends house a few months ago (he owned, I rented, so his house it was going to be). It’s been so hard trying to turn this place into somewhere I enjoy because 1) we have very different tastes apparently in decor (or perhaps its more that he just doesn’t care as much as i do) and 2) asking to make changes is mildly insulting to him because he made all the decisions initially and I want to change so much. It’s a tough call but I think I’d rather be in your situation, Caroline, where you’re inviting someone in instead of moving in to someone else’s already established home.

    • Amanda says...

      Oh, I feel for you. He needs to understand that this is your home and it needs to feel equally like your space. How you get there, I don’t know. But I think that’s a conversation worth having.

      Would love to hear more about how couples navigate this!

  33. Becca says...

    So much black particle board furniture…

  34. Jessica says...

    For the ladies complaining about clunky DVD/CD collections that must be dragged around, I maintain you are lucky. We have a LARGE VHS collection and two (possibly non-functional) VHS players still in boxes. I literally cannot remember the last time we watched a VHS. The collection used to be in the living room, until in a frustrated grasp for this valuable real estate, I threw it all in bags and sent in down to the basement. At some point, he has admitted we should probably get rid of them, but lamented the fact that he had no other copies of some of those movies on dvd or on Netflix (again, cannot remember when we last watched one of them.) So in the basement they sit. With my sanity.

    • Corey says...

      I mean depending on what they are, they might be worth quite a bit of money! Old horror movies especially, that were never released on to DVD or available online are pretty rare and expensive. You can look at sold listings on eBay but if you do, ignore the “black diamond Disney” tapes, I’m pretty sure thats some kinda money laundering thing haha.
      PS – I feel you as my husband and I own a vintage store and he has just started collecting VHS tapes of stuff he had as a kid! They take up so much dang space.

    • T says...

      I second the idea that they’re probably valuable. Check eBay. And get selling!

  35. Erin says...

    No, everything does not necessarily eventually feel mutual. Sometimes you spend 11 years married to someone whose taste is a disaster and whose preferred condition for his living space is “a huge mess,” and then you get a divorce and then he procrastinates about getting his stuff out of the house, and then, FINALLY, TWO YEARS LATER, he removes the world’s UGLIEST dresser from your bedroom and you give a big cheer. :)

  36. AdrienMelaine says...

    My now husband, then boyfriend, moved into my 500 square foot condo with a yo yo box containing old batteries, a hemp necklace and cologne samples. The yo yo box is still with us. In the office closet. It now houses miscellaneous coins. I threw out the hemp necklace, cologne, and old batteries he never used anymore. I “let” him keep the box. Visually, it’s a reminder of how wonderful I am for allowing him move into my tiny condo with such ridiculous things!

    • Danielle says...

      Ha! There’s always a box that holds a pair of broken glasses, some odd coins, ALWAYS a few batteries, a mysterious key from several apartments ago, and then randomly one crucial thing- like a birth certificate or a passport.

  37. That duck fire extinguisher is brilliant, and, in this case, such a sweet gesture!

  38. Mali says...

    My ex husband and I struggled over his monstrous television. I couldn’t handle a tv in the middle of a living room with cords splayed about. He had to have it. Oh, the arguments—oh, the quiet, resentful feelings.

    Years after the divorce was finalized, I put the exact same giant tv (now mine) smack dab in the center of the exact same living room. It looks great; I love it there. Turns out that it was never about the tv.

  39. A says...

    I love my husband, but i don’t love his faux-leather loveseat, couch and chair in our cramped living room. They are the over-stuffed kind that also recline. Apparently when he purchased them, he thought they were real leather (the salesperson told him), but they are not real and now have some smallish sections of the fabric coming off. I would love to replace them all but he doesn’t want to. Unfortunately it’s a similar situation at his parents’ house with the faux-leather. We’ve only been married a year (I moved into his house), so we’ll see how this progresses. It is a journey, really.. and a give and take..

    • Rachel says...

      My husband had a similar set of BURGUNDY red busted recliner-sofas that his parents’ friends had given him. They were crooked and the upholstery was torn and worn. But whenever we talked about getting rid of them he lamented about how nice the “leather” was. 😂 It took awhile to convince him but we’ve had a nice gray minimal sofa for like five years now. Stay the course!

    • Julee says...

      Why do men love reclining “leather” furniture? Why? Who told them this was their destiny?

  40. Sarah Richey says...

    One of the all-time greatest movies. My heart just broke a little when I realized both Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby have since passed away. :(

  41. Anonygirl says...

    My wagon wheel coffee table was a kayak. My ex-boyfriend bought a kayak at an REI garage sale, so it was well used and had belonged to who knows how many people prior to him owning it. Well, we lived in the back half of a house, where the bedroom was what had previously been the attic. There was nowhere to store the kayak, except in the very tiny kitchen, leaning against the refrigerator. His bike lived in our bedroom.

  42. Amanda says...

    So, I am my husband’s 3rd wife. He is 56 and I am 36. There are parts of #1 and #2 around, and I am ok with that, not a big deal…except one thing. My version of the wagon wheel are #2’s… lace curtains… he likes them. They make me want to burn the house down… it is a work in progress >_<

    • Kristin says...

      I would 100% take them down and “wash” them. Maybe they “shrink” and can’t go back up…

  43. Jacqueline says...

    12 years, 3 homes. There is a still a mounted Taxi Driver poster in my garage. It’s never coming inside.

    • Angela says...

      Hahaha- ours was “The Godfather.” I encouraged him to gift it to a bachelor cousin so it remains in the family.

  44. Marcia says...

    My Wagon Wheel Coffee Table was a surfing poster, framed as a piece of art in a frame with a built in fabric matting, which sported a large water stain. This was in our living room for a few years until I sold it at our garage sale for $5 after which I did a happy dance.

  45. Mari says...

    I have OCPD, so I’m known for being… perfectionist. Most people don’t know about the OCPD, but my “personality” is hard do conceal. My husband and I used to work together at the same office. One day he invited our group of co-workers to his apartment for drinks. Later on, after we were already dating, he confessed the whole thing was for my benefit: “I wanted you to see my home, to know I also like things organised and clean… Not as much as you, but I figured it would get you more interested in me”. And it totally did. I was impressed by how well decorated it was, how organised, clean… and that we had pretty much the same books.
    When we eventually moved in together, we decided to create a whole new space for us. But we already knew we had a similar taste and it was such a delicious process. We’re moving to Paris next week (yay!) and I’m excited to do this again. Sigh. Thinking about this made me fall in love with him all over again.

    • Kristin says...

      That’s so sweet! Congrats on the move, sounds fabulous.

  46. J says...

    For all of y’all dealing with massive DVD/CD collections, please consider or suggest to your partner… PLEX and DECLUTTR.

    I, too, inwardly groaned at the huge media collection that accompanied my husband when we got married. It followed us around, box after heavy box, with each move, but rarely got used.
    Then, after encountering The Minimalists and Marie Kondo, my rather tech-savvy husband finally did some research and found Plex, which now holds the digital files of all our media. Plex can stream to any of our devices, so it’s kind of like our own personal Netflix/iTunes/whatever. :) The then-redundant physical copies were scanned and shipped out with the free shipping label provided by Decluttr, in exchange for some spare cash. (You could also simply take the boxes to your local donation center.) And.. they’re gone!
    Hooray! This way it felt like we both won — I didn’t have to see the stacks and stacks of media anymore, while he still has it all, just in digital format.
    For everyone out there dealing with this kind of clutter, please know there is hope :)

    • oops says...

      my husband has a massive cardboard box of CDs in the middle of our living room. this might be one of the reasons why i’m divorcing him.

  47. A says...

    There is no one single item that my husband has brought into our home that I dislike. In general we have fairly similar taste in furnishings and design. The thing that makes me crazy is that he is constantly buying “toys” without thinking about where we can put them in our 900 sq ft Brooklyn apartment. An 88-key piano keyboard, a fancy carbon fiber bicycle, and the WORST offense yet – a freaking car racing simulator seat for video games. That one made me lose my shit completely and when he hadn’t used it in 6 months I took it upon myself to sell it on e-bay. We still have the keyboard which is rarely used and has become my plant stand…

    • Amber says...

      I feel your pain. My husband has three fancy bicycles, two of which are stored in the oddly shaped entry closet of our 800 square foot condo. It was either that, or the middle of the living room (where they still rest on a regular basis for tune-ups). And then there’s a 3D printer with several spools of plastic filament, various tools, and a two foot long LEGO car, for which we of course still have the box.

    • Ana D says...

      In 2010, my underemployed/unemployed husband bought a used motorcycle, then financed a new motorcycle, then “traded in” the new motorcycle for a more expensive motorcycle without telling me while we owed back rent to our landlord. He’s my ex-husband now.

      The divorce wasn’t about the motorcycles, but his garbage decision-making was a big part of it.

  48. Sorrel says...

    Caroline– that is SO MUCH MORE than an olive branch! That is a genuine expression of love. My own heart skipped a beat for you at the thoughtfulness of the gesture. What an incredible place from which to begin this new chapter.
    My own husband, who is also the very practical and safety-conscious person in our relationship, is a romantic. And I am very frugal. He used to send me fresh-cut flowers, which I loved, but I also would get upset about during our lean financial times because I would get so stressed out about money. Over the years, he started sending me photos of flowers. It’s always a surprise and I’ve come to learn that he keeps a separate folder of “Flowers” on his phone. He just takes a quick snap when he sees one and sends it whenever he feels like sending one. Even though money is easier now, it’s my absolute favorite thing that he does. It lets him express his love, I get to know he’s thinking about me, and it doesn’t cost a dime! Win-win-win!

    • Cs says...

      Awwww!

    • Jenna says...

      THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!

    • Amanda says...

      That’s so sweet.

    • m.y.m. says...

      This is brilliant, it’s so sweet I feel a bit teary! Soon after we got married, I made my husband stop buying me flowers. It was because I always felt sad when they wilted away and I had to throw them out, after his spending the limited amount of money we had when he could be spending it somewhere else. He was upset and actually a little hurt, as buying me flowers was one of the more concrete ways for him to show me his love, and doing so made him happy. I’ll tell him he can send me flower pictures from now on!

  49. Kim says...

    Caroline, you definitely are going through a shared experience.

    What was hardest for me was mourning my independent, single life for which furniture was a proxy. I thought of myself as a progressive, feminist, Bay Area woman who has strong opinions and a do-it-myself mentality. Then comes along a boyfriend who I fall for. He invited himself to move in at month six of our relationship (it was a consensual decision, but still his idea!). Not only did black foam mousepads move in with him, his design opinions and feelings did too. It was a very tough transition for me because I was not accustomed to considering someone else’s preferences when I come home from work and have reign over my domain. I mean, isn’t growing up about becoming more autonomous? He was patient through all of it. I focused on his kindness and there are fewer squabbles.

    Today is our first anniversary. Congratulations and I hope you continue to find happiness in each other.

  50. Shannon says...

    I literally grew up with a wagon wheel coffee table! That is until my brothers were wrestling in the middle of the living room and one of them put his foot through the glass.

  51. M says...

    I moved in with the boyfriend I met right after college only a couple months after we started dating. He was a minimalist then, and since I had been traveling since I graduated, most of what I owned was in storage at my parents’ home. We’ve been together for nearly eight years now and most of what we own was purchased jointly – we have grown to have similar taste! Except….Satan Claus. Our sculptor friend created this humorous, hideous statue that’s about 10″ tall painted in hot yellow and orange paint. It’s named Satan Claus and whenever I go away for a while, he manages to sneak it out of its hiding place and prominently display it on the mantle.

    • Ker says...

      This is hilarious!

  52. Betsy says...

    Oh man, I can so relate. My boyfriend moved into my home almost 2 years ago. He brought literally just the basics, and the rest had to go into a storage unit. My house is 848 sq feet. 5 rooms. No basement for any of his “crap”. He had a wall unit that was 7 ‘ wide by 7’ high full of DVDS/BluRay movies. No joke, he thought they were all coming with him. We are polar opposites in decorating a home. HIm, big ass ulgy black leather matching couch and loveseat his mom bought when he graduated college. Think 1980’s. Me, I’m more Young House Love, Chris Meets Julia, Emily Henderson combined. If that is a thing. I have a with cotton duck slipcovered sofa. Cute olive and white striped chair. The problem is that he is an artist. So he thinks that his artistic eye is better than mine is. The battle continues. Ohh…and he goes to the storage unit monthly to switch out his movies. Me, I’m trying to get him to donate, sell, whatever, the stuff in his unit. What a waste of $140 a month. His crap isn’t going to set foot in the house.

    • Lauren says...

      what is it about men and the most absolute, big, giant, ugly, poor color choice couch that could ever possibly exist!!! haha!!!

  53. Alexandra says...

    My husband came with a torchiere lamp. It was bronze, ugly, and the lamp shade was made to look like stained glass but it was cheap (and eventually, cracked) plastic. It traveled from home to home because as it turns out, you always have a corner that could use just a little bit of light, even if it’s hideous. This past spring we were gearing up to move into our brand new house (!) and I informed him that the torch lamp would not be making the jump and it was going out to the yard sale. He protested a bit, but finally relented. After failing to sell for a single dollar, I plopped it on the street with a few other pieces of furniture and a giant sign that said FREE. A few hours later we returned home and lo and behold, it (and everything else) was gone! I was delighted.

    Two days later, I’m in the garage (which is packed with boxes ready to move) and I see tucked into a back corner the torch lamp! He had the audacity to pull it out of the free pile and tried to hide it from me! So, I did what any wife would do…. I unscrewed the whole thing, stuck it in a box and mailed it to his office. Best $20 I’ve ever spent!

  54. Emily says...

    My husband is one of those people who always seems to be accumulating “little things”. Dental picks, ear bud covers, change, pens, pencils, little notebooks, various whoo-zee-whats-its. I learned quickly that he leaves a little trail of little things in every room he occupies. I’ve put cute bowls all over the house, bought bathroom and drawer organizers for things to “live” in, and I always end up shuffling these little things back to their homes or trying to find a drawer to put something in. Maybe I only notice it because I’m such an “everything in it’s place” kind of gal. Over the years it’s become an endearing quality, and when we go visit his parents I always notice that his Dad is exactly the same way!

    • C says...

      Omg, the bowls!! This was my low-key solution for all of my boyfriend’s shit (for lack of a better word). Bowls all over the place.

      I’ve gotten better. I let the small piles “build” for a while until I make a subtle, well, maybe not so subtle, suggestion for him to rein it in.

  55. When I first moved in with my now-husband he had lived alone for many years and was terrified what it would be like living with another person; especially a rather chatty American against the backdrop of his quieter British self. The first weekend we went through closets to see what we could get rid of to make room for my stuff and found the most hilarious collection of boxy terrible double-breasted suits from the early ’90s, which, glass of wine in hand, I immediately had to try on before we threw them out – he’s 6’3″ I’m 5″3. It went from nervewracking into crying from laughter very quickly after that and was the best unforeseen form of tension relief. I’m sure you’ll find yours too, Caroline.

  56. Clou says...

    Ahem. My husband bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner that plugs in and hangs in the wall. The only wall space near an outlet is in our bedroom. It now hangs on the wall next to our bed like some huge “marital aid.”

    • Hanh says...

      hahaha. your comment took an unexpected turn. i was wishing my husband would buy me one of those vacuum.

    • Susan says...

      Hahaha! Thank you for the laugh.

    • Karen says...

      I NEEDED THIS LAUGH!! HAHA thank you for sharing. so sorry you sleep next to a vacuum.

    • E says...

      Also have a dyson vacuum mounted ON MY BEDROOM WALL. Despite the placement I love that thing and it works like a dream.

    • Kristin says...

      You are so kind! I 100% would have made my husband return that.

  57. Lisa says...

    He has this hideous yellow t shirt. I hate it so much. Even after 11 years I still hate it. Originally it had this design – I don’t understand what it was meant to be – but it looked like the alien from Alien, with flowers coming out of its mouth. And it’s yellow.

    But, he still wears it and at the moment I’m travelling for work, and seeing it when we face timed reminded me of him and how much I miss him. Though I still want it to go

    • Cheyenne says...

      I understand! My boyfriend has a shirt with an owl on it that says “hoofarted?” He once wore it to a nice restaurant. I hide it at the bottom of his drawer when I do laundry.

  58. Jodie says...

    Can light bulbs choice be wagon wheels? My husband and I are constantly bickering about bright white (he likes and always had in his apartment) vs warm white (I like) light bulbs. In the beginning his argument was that they were LED bulbs and most only came in bright white. Now there is NO excuse since they make them in warm white. I can’t stand that cold blueish light they give off..ugh. I’m fired up even typing it….

    • Alex says...

      Jodie! I’m am architectural lighting designer. Check out the latest in LED technology = “Warm Dim”. These bulbs get warmer as you dim them down so your husband could have them on at full to get his bright white light, and you can dim them down to get that warm glow you’re looking for.
      One of my favorites – https://greencreative.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/9.5A19CCTD-A19-WARM-DIM-9.5W.pdf

      Hope this ends the light bulb debate!

    • Madeleine says...

      Oh lightbulbs! I find even “warm white” too bright for me and thankfully my husband agrees. He changed every one of our lightbulbs to Eddison bulbs. Now we can barely see anything but we are very mellow.

    • AR says...

      This reminds me of a cartoon that I once saw that said something like ‘I love my husband with all my heart but when I come home and he’s sat in bed with the big light on, I realize I’ve married a monster’ … Me and husband still laugh about this now. If one of us has left the top light on we’ll shake our heads and say we’ve married a monster.

    • Victoria says...

      YES! Lighting!! My husband will putter around our house with a headlamp on. “It’s too dim to get anything done!” Hahah

    • Laura says...

      @Alex – that is pure genius and your comment is also example A of why I love the Cup of Jo comment section

    • Jodie says...

      @Alex yes!! Thank you and @Laura agree…love love love Cup of Jo and its community. Plus I am cracking up at the other comments, the Edison bulbs, the headlamp, “married a monster”. Gave me a good laugh.

  59. Samantha says...

    My boyfriend moved in with me last year! This was especially hard for me because I own my house and put so much time and money and sweat into making it my home. And then he had all this ugly stuff??? He was very good about selling/donating/trashing things that we didn’t have room for or I had a higher-end version of.
    Except.
    All. The. Action. Figures.
    He works for a game design studio, so he gets these collectible statues of the characters and things. Some of these things are like, 3 feet tall.
    We have compromised so that only the statues from games he actually worked on are displayed in our basement TV room. I don’t have to look at them all the time, and he still gets to proudly tell people he worked on the game when they see them!

  60. Amy says...

    My husband and I didn’t live together before we got married 19 years ago. We were unpacking my stuff, his stuff and our wedding gifts in our new apartment when he looked at the bookshelf (where his law school books occupied an entire shelf) and said, “The Complete Guide to Needlework? Does that really need to be here?” Yes, honey, yes it does.

  61. K says...

    I moved in with my now husband when I was probably 22, so all of our house things, now 15 years later, have been curated mostly together.

    I would be very bad at merging with someone’s things now as a more official adult. So good luck to you!

    I do most of the styling in the house but be sure to put touches of him (and now the kids) on display. Ive hung a guitar on the living room wall for example

    I do not envy you grown up house mergers!!

    • Nat says...

      Omg. Boxes and boxes of cables and wires that “we’ll need someday” and old computer monitors that are for some reason precious to him. And boxes of old tennis shoes that he forgot he had, doesn’t wear when I remind him, and won’t let me donate. Oddly enough, I don’t mind all the Star Wars LEGO figures in our living room though. Those are valuable to him and he put them together with such happiness that they hold a special place in my heart too.

  62. Cynthia says...

    This post is so funny! For years we had a single end table that had belonged to my husband, and I never liked it. I felt it just didn’t fit with the rest of the living room. When his mother moved from assisted living to the nursing home, we took the marble top table and it is perfect for his chair side table. The old end table went to the Goodwill.

  63. Lin says...

    I might actually order that duck-shaped fire extinguisher.

  64. Christy says...

    When my husband graduated from medical school, his aunt bought him an antique doctor’s table from the early 1900s as a gift. What a great gift, right? Sure sure, very thoughtful but here’s the thing, we will live in a one-bedroom apartment for the foreseeable future and what the actual hell do you do with an antique doctor’s table?

    Our solution: it’s now a “desk”. Really it’s just a table in the corner of our place where we pile things and then every few months feel badly that we might be damaging the antique, which we cannot get rid of because it means a lot to my husband. I count the days until we can buy a house that has enough space for it where it will likely sit without use forever. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll see me on Antiques Road Show someday being told it’s worth thousands of dollars.

  65. Claire says...

    Empty CD cases; massive piles of empty CD cases. All of the CDs, which have not been listened to since the advent of Spotify, live in several of those pleather zippered holders that look like mini-binders. I pushed hard when my now-husband really wanted to keep them, and after donating ALL of this ill-fitting beige t-shirts, I relented when he explained that the art of the covers and the writing inside felt a lot like the way my piles of books felt to me. Unlike my books, the cases are tucked away in the basement. Baby steps.

  66. laura says...

    I think it’s really hard to have your partner move into your place or vice versa- I really enjoying moving in with my (now husband) because we picked a new apartment together and got to decorate and arrange it together, completely from scratch. We recently bought our first condo and husband had some pretty wild ideas about painting, but I did what I always do which is say “hm I’m not sure that would work” and change the subject. If , later on, he’s still thinking and talking about it, I know it’s important to him and will let him do whatever he needs to. But if he forgets and we move on, I know it wasn’t something he was super passionate about anyway.

  67. Karen says...

    Luckily my partner has pretty decent taste—and even luckier, both of us were on the verge of replacing some older stuff just as we decided to move in together. So we were able to shop for stuff without any fuss. So I guess his “wagon wheel” was the dog centeredness he was used to. I’m an indulgent dog mom, but he basically arranged things around how the dogs liked them! Like, putting their bowls in the middle of the living room, or constantly leaving out a jillion dog toys (he’s otherwise tidy), or wanting to fit a king size bed in our not-king-sized bedroom mostly so the dogs could sleep with us! (Moving in together meant we moved up to three dogs, not tiny ones.) Finally I was able to convince him that dogs are actually happy to fetch a toy, to eat in a corner of the kitchen, etc. And the dogs now sleep very cozily in their own beds at the foot of ours.

  68. Becka says...

    13 years ago when I moved out of my studio apartment in downtown Chicago and into my partner’s suburban townhome a million (50) miles away from the city, the thing that I could not stand was his multitude of fake plants, including a tall dusty fake ficus in a boring beige pot. It was only functional when we got a kitten who loved to climb it and looked adorable doing so.

    When we moved to Wisconsin 4 years ago, I convinced him that the fake ficus could not make the trip. We got married a year ago and on our one year anniversary had a big party/reception. A friend gave us a gift certificate to a local nursery and we browsed house plants last weekend. I *think* we might end up with a real live ficus in our home. <3

    • Kim says...

      Careful! Focus plants are toxic to cats.

    • AR says...

      We have all fake plants because of our cats. It was $3000 vet bill/learning experience that we do not want to repeat.

  69. Loren says...

    I once had a boyfriend who had his apartment painted the exact same green color as the waiting room at his favorite train station. Yuck. Thank goodness that relationship didn’t work out.

    • agnes says...

      ah ah ah! so funny! I like what my partner likes which is such a relief, and a bond.

  70. Jess M says...

    My aesthetic is natural history museum (landscape and plant photography, fossils, maps, framed dead butterflies). My husband likes to think of himself as very punk rock, lots of concert posters and bold print art. I had to take down some of the butterflies, and he isn’t allowed to hang up his “Social Distortion” concert poster (which features a terrifying clown). Our compromise is lots of photos, more organically inspired local art, and bold patterns. My favorite part is that our home really feels like we both live there.

  71. riye says...

    My bf and I don’t live together but if we did, I’d insist on covered litterboxes (he has two). The cats don’t care either way but the bf claimed it was “too much trouble” to lift the cover off to scoop. Which is why when you walk in his front door you’re met with a weird combo smell of “barn” and “cookie” plug-in air freshener. I love him and the cats but on bad days, its a bit much.

  72. Hanna says...

    Ha-ha! This is a negotiation my husband and I have been having for 23 years. And now the kids are big enough to have STRONG OPINIONS about design, too. Somehow we find compromises everyone can live with, and I’m reminded often that items I would never have chosen to bring into the house myself add elements of beauty and function that I would miss badly if they were gone.

  73. Rosie says...

    Anything beige or brown that isn’t wood. I cannot stand most “neutrals.” I make an exception for white or cream as long as they are distinctly not beige. When I was in my 20s and dating and I would go home with someone for the first time I would have a visceral reaction to beige and the more I got to know them I would find myself wondering whether they would expect to have beige furniture or rugs if we ever shared a home. I also used to note other people’s reaction to my not neutral home. If they said something like “wow. You like color.” I considered that a red flag. My home isn’t all bright colors, but I just can’t with the beige. Our living room is hardwood floors, patterned rug, navy sofa, colorful throw pillows and creamy walls. Our bedroom is hardwood floors, pale patterned rug, super pale pink walls, wood furniture, white duvet embroidered with pink flowers, white sheets, white curtains. #nobeige

    • agnes says...

      #nobeige team! also the too tidy freaks me out.

    • Catherine says...

      YES. I am the same exact way.

  74. Hilary says...

    The magician?! Tim Tebow? The jersesys flapping in the wind!! I am crying laughing. Thank you all for this pick-me-up.

    Sincerely,
    The woman whose boyfriend (now husband) used to use an Aladdin beach towel instead of curtains

    • Ana D says...

      bwaaahahahahahahaaaa

  75. Steph says...

    A GIANT 8-foot long, super-deep, brown leather couch. My fiancee inherited it in college and will NOT get rid of it – he’s 6’4″ and it’s the one piece of furniture he can fully stretch out on. I love leather furniture and I wouldn’t mind this piece if a) he hadn’t lost the middle cushion and replaced it one that doesn’t quiiiite fit right and b) some college kid hadn’t scratched lewd designs in to the back of it. Luckily, it fits up against a wall at the moment, but it’s days are numbered…

  76. SC says...

    I’m still scratching my head over the time I decided to go through all of our DVDs two years after my husband and I moved in together and we had three copies of The Matrix. I don’t think either of us has watched that movie since it came out on DVD haha.

    His wagon wheel table item, though, was a big bright red velvet chair. It was a total monster and I LOVED it. We kept that chair for years until it was basically falling apart and we had to upgrade. I would probably hate it now, but that chair sure is a fond memory of those early years!

  77. Lucy ♥ says...

    My boyfriend and I both work in tech, and between us have 7 computers (5 laptops, 1 chromebook, and 1 desktop). When we first moved in together we thought it was funny, but when we tried to pare down our machines we found we need and use each of them….so we still have 7 computers (and about 10 chargers :D)!

    • rose says...

      How do you use them? Do you use a different laptop for different projects and for privacy for example? I’ve been feeling like getting another laptop for these reasons but would love to know exactly how and why others are doing it because I’m not sure where I’m going with it. I am obviously not a techie, lol I’m an artist.

  78. Kristin says...

    Love the part about the Aliens Blu-Rays. Katie Sturino got into this in her Instagram stories when she moved in with her husband and I found it so funny. WHY DO MEN HAVE SO MANY DVDS? And why do they feel so attached to them in the age of streaming, especially when they often make themselves out to be a paragon of practicality? Hahaha.

  79. Lizzie C. says...

    My husband is constantly acquiring new metaphorical wagon wheel coffee tables. We bought our first house last year and have been going to the local flea market every weekend to decorate, and his taste in art and ornamental things runs from dated to hideous. But he falls so deeply in love with these castoffs that I consent to having them in the house as long as they’re relatively small and inexpensive. The 6-foot-long section of faux marble (read: stained and sloppily painted wood) railing, recovered from a teardown house and sporting a $200 price tag, did indeed come home with us…but it lives in the backyard. Marriage is compromise, right?

  80. MelTown says...

    My husband and I moved in together at 22, right out of college, as he was entering law school. We were BROKE, and thus all we owned were wagon wheels. We’re 36 now and own a home and we’ve replaced most of our old junk but one thing remains. My husband used to sit on a hard wooden chair at his desk to study so his dad bought him a hideous, cheap office chair. It was a kind gesture and appreciated at the time, but oof is it ugly. I begged my husband to replace it for years, and then his dad passed away after a short season of brain cancer. So now, the chair remains. Forever. It’s still ugly, but a sweet reminder of a sweet man.

  81. Maranda says...

    You are not alone in your feelings! My (now) husband and I have lived together for 3 years, and it is just in this past year where we have started hitting our stride. My husband is a notorious pack-rat who has a hard time with letting things go. To him, he doesn’t see a point in spending the money and will always take the cheaper option, no matter how ugly it is. I, on the other hand, hate clutter. And while I’m not a pro interior decorator, I do like for my home to look nice! After 3 years we’re developing more of a balance: I’ve let go a bit and his crap has broken down so much that even he acknowledges needing to get something new- progress!

  82. Julia says...

    My husband has a beloved childhood Christmas stocking that his grandmother made for him. It is shaped like Santa’s head, and the “skin” is a blazing neon pink. It is objectively hideous, but he loves it, and so I find myself designing holiday decor around this stocking, picking ever more lurid and bizarre stuff in a (probably futile) effort to help it blend in. This is why we now own a vintage Polish “Gremlins” poster, a disco-ball Santa statue, and a teal Christmas tree. Eventually, my house is just going to look like a full-blown rave between Thanksgiving and New Years….

    • Becka says...

      I love this so much and wish I could see pictures!

    • Erin says...

      This has me laughing so hard!!

    • Mari says...

      OMG HAHAHA

  83. Kirsten says...

    I have no advice here as my now-spouse does not care about his surroundings in any way shape or form. When I moved in his friend visited and said “wow dude it finally looks like someone lives here!” He had essentially purchased whatever furniture was in the IKEA living room display he’d seen when shopping and that was that. And thank god, because I have never been so happy to re-home a whole apartment of furniture haha.

    I will say though, please get a fire extinguisher. My close friend saved his whole house from burning down when an electric kettle accidentally got left on a burner. And in said apartment I moved into the floor above us had a huge fire when someone’s placemat lit up because it was accidentally left on the stove. Maybe I’m more like your boyfriend, but accidents are called accidents for a reasons, amirite? :)

  84. Ashamed, but not really says...

    Y’all, I have a confession. It makes me such a bad wife, I’m afraid. My husband never chooses ANYTHING for our house. He let me throw out (donate) all his cheap dorm type furniture and dishes when we got married. But he insisted on keeping five massive coffee mugs in a terrible color (puke-ish yellow) that he had brought from his mom’s house when he went to college. The dreadful things were all chipped, took up a truly disproportionate amount of room in our (limited) cabinets, and we have so many other coffee mugs and tea cups. The mugs weren’t even good quality! When you heated them in the microwave, only the handle would get (VERY) hot and all the liquid inside wouldn’t.
    But he liked them. I would push them behind the pretty/practical coffee cups in the cabinet, he would fish them out.
    So. We moved. And…I put all those mugs in a box. JUST the mugs. (Do you see where I’m going with this confession?) And I dropped the box. They DID NOT BREAK. So I took each one out, bashed it on the concrete sidewalk, put it back in the box. When we started unpacking the boxes, they were all broken. He just looked at me. “I know they didn’t all just…break.” “Well, I did drop the box.”
    “Repeatedly?” “Umm, no, just once.” “I think my mom has more of these. I’ll just ask her for a few.” “I HATE THEM SO MUCH. PLEASE DON’T.” “Did you break them on purpose?” “YES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YES. And I regret NOTHING!!!!”

    • This is so funny!

    • Annie says...

      You shouldn’t be ashamed – I think we’ve probably all done something similar and lied about it!!

    • Aimee says...

      oh god. My husband had a set of hideous, turd-brown, Hull dripware mugs (the ones with the t-i-n-y round “handle’ for one finger) that his childhood priest gave to him when he was a teen. They sat in the cabinet taking up precious limited space and he never used them, but refused to get rid of them because they were a gift from Father So-and-So and he believed they were valuable. They were not valuable, because no one wants to drink hot coffee from a pottery turd suspended by one finger. I finally convinced him to let me sell them in a tag sale, and even when they migrated to the “free” table, no takers. They were that ugly. So they sat in the garage for a few more years with some other unsold stuff, gathering dust (even the mice wanted nothing to do with them) and finally I just donated them to Goodwill. I’m scared for the day when he asks about where they are, or god forbid, if they come back in style and actually DO have some value.

    • Kristin says...

      Hilarious! You are a saint for not doing this earlier :)

  85. Kelley says...

    His dad’s ugly recliner. It’s awful, stained, takes up sooo much space in our city apartments. But his dad passed away 10 years ago and it makes him feel closer to him. If my husband had his way we’d never part with anything, so there are lots of negotiations, but I know that the recliner will be with us for the long haul.

    • Whitney says...

      My husband also has a Frasier recliner that his parents bought him… it stinks and has metal sticking out that gauged a hole in our last living room’s wall. My mother in law apologizes for not buying him a nicer one, not thinking he would keep it for almost 20 year now! Luckily, we bought a house and it now lives in his office along with all of his music gear.

  86. When my bf and I moved in together last year, he showed up with a HIDEOUS painting of Michael Jackson with a parakeet on his shoulder. When I asked him where on earth it came from, since I’d never seen it displayed in his old apartment, he told me that his super had PULLED IT OUT OF THE TRASH and asked him and his roommates if they wanted it. I was like, “Hello, it was in the trash for a reason.” That reason being that it’s ugly as all hell, and even has little holes in it, probably from a rat or something equally NY city trash level gross. We got into a huge argument when I attempted to throw it out, and in the end agreed to keep it but not display it. Luckily, a few months later was when that documentary came out with Wade Robson and now my bf agrees it should never be displayed… even though it still lives in his closet.

    • Kj says...

      I am dying. This is hilarious.

  87. Lili says...

    My boyfriend is Scottish and loves soccer (or football, whatever). When we moved in together, he had a million (6) jerseys hanging from the window sill in our apartment. It was not a great look, to put it mildly, so for Christmas, I bought him the coolest jersey I could find and framed it. Now we have two framed jerseys on the wall and none flapping in the wind. His team might be Liverpool, but the jerseys might as well say compromise because it’s the team we are both playing on.

  88. My husband and I have been together for ten years but finally moved into a space large enough to accommodate the things he’s had to store at his parents’ house. Which means, in the next year, we’ll be getting some antique guns (I hate hate HATE guns – they’re going, unloaded, into a safe in his closet that only he has the combination for) and a GIANT STUFFED GOAT HEAD (also going in his closet). They belonged to his father who passed away this year so there’s no negotiating them, but oh boy, I am not looking forward to that goat head arriving.

  89. Breann says...

    thank you for the fire extinguisher mention! We have young kids who we will soon be teaching to cook, and we currently have a fire extinguisher under the sink in the kitchen. But I love the idea of having it out always – quick access – as a decoration.

    Side Note — 5 years later, my husband and I have finally come to a place where all furniture is ours, mutually agreed upon. Give yourselves time, it’s worth it. :). Even when it takes 5 years to get rid of that ugly leather recliner! :) (I did rock both of our babies in that recliner though, it’s funny how those things work out :))

  90. Lisa says...

    The Wagon Wheels in our relationship are pictures of the Boston and DC skylines that he took, “edited” to have a yellow tinge (literally the Washington Monument is a true buttercup yellow now), blew up to be 9×12 and framed in flimsy wood frames. They currently live in our bathroom (my olive branch lol) but we are making a cross country in a month and I’m thinking they will probably end up “lost” ;)

  91. Megan Lec says...

    For us, the wagon wheel is a larger than life framed photo of Tim Tebow, the once great University of Florida quarterback. It currently lives in our garage but my husband has been campaigning for months for it to grace our walls. I continuously offer alternatives, “I bet your coworkers would get a kick out of that!” or “It looks great in the garage with your Gator flag!” Maybe I’ll just put it up in the guest room and hope it doesn’t give the grandparents nightmares when they come to visit…

  92. M says...

    My husband and I are both pack rats so we don’t get rid of anything. Ever. We moved literally around the world and got a shipping container to send our stuff over. We also store things in my parents’ barn. Luckily we’ve had no major fights over any of it. My husband is very design-y so I occasionally come home to a new light fixture or robotic vacuum and just go with it.

  93. Connie says...

    Oh my goodness I love these comments. They are so wonderful. I love the idea that all these couples everywhere are dealing with the same thing. :) For us we met in college and married right after, so we both entered with a tiny dorm’s worth of possessions, so there was almost nothing we didn’t choose together. Almost. The thing is, I’m a painter, so my art is probably our Wagon Wheel…he has always said he loves my work, but it is entirely possible that for all these years he has just been kind about it. Just in case that happens to be true, I’ve always been 100% okay with him making our basement den thematic for his favorite sports team. We’re adults, so his collection is definitely as classy as you can be when having a sports team memorabilia themed space…

  94. Bee says...

    What a perfectly timed post! I’m moving in with my boyfriend next month and I am having those same exact fears except I’m on the other side of the proverbial wagon wheel coffee table. Where will my things go? Is there space for me? Will it ever feel like MY or OUR home or just his? How long will it take me to learn where the sugar and duct tape and all those little random things go?

    This is a good reminder that the mixed worry-excitement of moving in together is both different and the same, and clearly felt by all.

  95. Kate says...

    A month and a half ago, I moved in with my then-fiance, now husband, and he brought with him an enormous recliner. The seat and back are a brilliant sort of teal yet forest green (how can it be both!? somehow it can.) and the arms are a dirty beige color. Moving the footrest up requires a set of stick-shift-like maneuvers–kind of a “ga-gung-ga-gung-ga-gung”–and there is some metal part of it that keeps scrapping him in the calf. Saving the best for last, the recliner came from his ex’s mother, who was taking a reupholstery class and inexplicably settled on that color combo.

    Need I say more? He’s open to getting something else, but in the meantime, here we are.

    • Cindy says...

      Kate you have me in tears laughing. “ga-gung-ga-gung-ga-gung”!!! it’s amazing how men will keep something even though it’s hideous and stabs them in the calf…thanks for the laugh!

  96. jdp says...

    um…my husband is a teacher, but he is also…a magician. for real. and we live in a loft. for 15 years i have had to make the most of magical, mystical props in garish colors — and believe me, they are not small. even all those coins and cards and old-timey books start to build up after a while. i have had to basically rope off a calm, neutral, somewhat tasteful zone for myself and anyone over the age of 10 who comes to visit — the rest of our apartment is literally filled with so many feather flowers i sometimes feel like i live in a dr. seuss book. that said, when our kid’s friends come to visit, they sure love it.

  97. jones says...

    Mine ere some framed posters/art that looked like it belonged in a dorm room. We compromised and my now husband put them in our basement when he moved in with me. The line of the exchange in the movie that gets me every time is “I want you to know that I will never want that wagon wheel table.” Carrie Fisher is looking at him with such love when she says it and it just seems so realistic to me.

  98. E says...

    Neither of us brought much into our marriage that one person really liked and the other didn’t (well, neither of us brought many furnishings at all). Although, if any of us has “wagon-wheel” tendencies, it’s me. I like pretty things, but I have extreme frugal/hoarding tendencies and good enough bothers me less.

  99. Madeleine says...

    My wagon wheel table is his lava lamp

    • Alexa says...

      hahahahaha

  100. Eve says...

    A broken motorcycle. We live in a loft and it lives with us. Will it be repaired if we ever have a garage? Hahahaaaa.

  101. M.Y.M says...

    When my husband was single, he had a La-Z-Boy chair. It was comfortable for him, he watched long movies in it, he even took naps in it. When we got married, this chair – huge and awkwardly proportioned, monstrously heavy, and upholstered in a patterned, dusty teal corduroy fabric – found its way into our new home together. He did not want to part with it, not even after we bought a couch and an armchair. I called it his throne. It stayed with us through 17 years of marriage and seven moves all over the country.

    I hated this chair. HATED IT. I had grown to be okay about living with it in our home because I knew my husband loved it, but I did not like this chair one bit. It did not go with anything we had in our home. “Ugly” would have been an understatement. I fantasized about how much better our home would look without it. But still, I lived with it because it was my husband’s favorite chair.

    Then, three years ago when we moved into our current home and were organizing our stuff and arranging furniture, he quietly said “I think I’m ready to get rid of this chair.” My mouth dropped. I was shocked! And guess what? I got teary! It wasn’t because I was so happy to be parting with it. I actually felt sad! I thought, Really? Your throne??? You’re going to get rid of your throne????? What I had not realized was that *I* had somehow gotten attached to it over the years. I still didn’t love it, but I had formed a kind of emotional connection to it, perhaps because what having this chair in our home symbolized. It was about compromising, loving my husband and our marriage including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Oh my gosh.

    Wisely, I did not say “Oh no, let’s keep it!” (Hahaha). I called the Salvation Army and arranged a pick-up date. The morning of the scheduled pick-up, after my husband hauled his long-loved La-Z-Boy chair in front of the garage, I took a picture of it. I have never done that with ANY of our donation items waiting to be picked up, before or since.

    • Alex says...

      You seem very wise. I could learn from this.

    • Rachel says...

      This is what love looks like

    • annie says...

      what a gentle love. i think this is just wonderful.

  102. Laura says...

    Good luck to Caroline and everyone else who commented about an upcoming move-in! When my boyfriend moved in, two things surprised me: 1) we went through soap in the shower SO MUCH FASTER and 2) he stored everything SO HIGH UP (including the soap). I really enjoyed learning these small but funny things about how we both assumed things should work.

    It also makes me laugh to this day, but our “wagon wheel table” was his gigantic, 3 foot tall, wooden decorative fork that he got at a Pottery Barn Outlet and that he found “just too funny” (it is now in his parents basement :-)).

  103. Katie says...

    My husband is a bit of a pack rat (do you really need those seven year old shoes?!). I’ve advised him many times to marie kondo that junk and embrace the beauty of an empty shelf to which he rolls his eyes. Early in our marriage I would donate/throw away his stuff without telling him and when he would ask for it I would say “I’m sure it’s wherever you last left it and also I got you some new socks or a tie.” The deflection worked a couple times but then he caught on. Also, with time I recognized it was hugely disrespectful of me to throw away his stuff without his knowledge. So now I just group his things together so that he can see the madness of 6 flashlights, 80 batteries, 4 mini speakers, and other redundant man electronics …. Whenever friends come over, I offer then a flashlight from our flashlight collection and we all have a little chuckle.

  104. Ashley says...

    Oh, Caroline. I actually teared up when I clicked on the duck fire hydrant link. I have had a long running delusion that — thanks to Instagram and CupofJo–that you are my friend. (Don’t worry, this NOT about to go all stalker-y) And, as a friend, I’ve come to want the very best for you. I’ve cheered your book debut; devoured your book recommendations; and will forever love your lipstick trials. When I saw the duck, I was instantly THRILLED FOR YOU. I felt an overwhelming sense of “This man gets her and wants to make her happy.” That is rare and wonderful.

    • Alison says...

      Oh gosh, ditto!!!

  105. Alexa says...

    When I moved into my then-husband’s very, very small row house, the wagon-wheel table for me was his living room wall color, called “Harvest Mahogany”, best described as a deep poop brown, which did little to make the room feel more spacious. The adjacent kitchen was a kind of country blue color, reminiscent of the hand painted wooden ducks and figurines my mom decorated our home with in the 1980’s. Luckily, he allowed me to guide the painting process and wasn’t too attached to any one piece of furniture so we replaced almost all of them over time.. He would probably say mine was the huge brown “party pit” velour sectional, whose awesomeness he came to appreciate. At least it was in the basement! https://www.chairish.com/product/1403539/70s-vintage-5pc-selig-modular-sectional-sofa-mid-century-modern-baughman

  106. Amanda says...

    Haha, I am absolutely loving reading these!!

    When I moved in with my now-husband, he had a sign hanging over the toilet that said “Colorado Catch of the Day” with several Corona-can fish dangling from the bottom. It made two moves with us before I finally trashed it. It might have stayed in a hidden box somewhere, but once I found out it was a gift from his previous long-term girlfriends’ mother, it was a certain goner!!

    A couple of moves ago, he finally got rid of this large and truly awful painting he found at a thrift store before we were together. I still laugh every time I think about it – it was either a production of an art class or a failed attempt at one of those repro paintings that pop up at a lot of art fairs. It *kind of* looked like Yosemite Falls, painted in mostly pastels, but the mountain that the waterfall came off of was shaped like an enormous, flat-topped pyramid. It was hideous!

    We are now in the middle of our EIGHTH move together in 11 years, and he finally decided to get rid of a framed Hawaii Volcanoes lava poster (for the record, he has never been to Hawaii).

    As for me, I came into the relationship with pretty much nothing, but I have toted around quite a few sentimental boxes with me – newspaper clippings from my glory days of competitive swimming in a small town, cards from family members, etc – but each move those boxes get whittled down!

  107. Elizabeth says...

    Remember the scene from “Ghost” when Demi Moore criticizes Patrick Swayze’s beat-up chair? “It doesn’t go with anything.” “It goes with me,” he replied. I tried to keep that in mind when my husband and I married and I had to live with the lamp he made for high school shop in 1973). It is unbelievably hideous. He won a state prize for it and is very proud of it, which means we’ll never, ever get rid of it.

    To be fair, I love the coffee table (why are coffee tables so often the subject of this debate?) my dad made out of a picture frame. “The frame only cost $10 and they delivered it!” my mother always exclaimed. I really love it but it took about 10 years before my husband admitted that he only tolerated it.

  108. This is when I’m thankful we were totally broke when we got married and moved in together. We both had so little (we slept on a borrowed futon in the living room for the first 6 weeks, before our friends upgraded to a king-size and gave us their old queen bed!). We had to beg, borrow, and Craigslist almost everything in our first apartment. Of course it was still a battle to figure out what to register for, and now, what to spend our money on, but yeah, that’s all part of it!

  109. Annie says...

    When I met my husband, he lived alone in an apartment that was aggressively under-decorated with the exception of one statement piece – a DENIM TABLECLOTH. It offended me to no end and magically disappeared during a move (I swear it wasn’t me, unless I burned it in a rage blackout). Flash forward to five years later, I’m decorating our first house and order a simple grey-blue tablecloth to match the undertones in an area rug. It arrives, I throw it in the wash, and an hour later I hear my husband call from the laundry room “where did you find my old tablecloth?!” To this day I maintain that it is infinitely more stylish than its denim predecessor, but he’s right, it’s basically the same damn thing.

    • Laura G. says...

      hahahaha! this is great.

    • Rachel says...

      This wasn’t an argument over a particular item, but my husband had a meltdown in Bed, Bath & Beyond when we went to register for wedding gifts because he thought that would take 10 minutes (literally, he said that) and was upset to find out it was a much more involved process. The sales associate had to console me in the middle of the store–maybe she’d seen versions of this scene play out with other couples before.

      Once we got past the meltdown, hubs didn’t have particularly strong feelings about what household goods we needed but did complain that I picked out too many blue items (my favorite color) and it would make our future children “depressed” to be surrounded by so much blue.

  110. Artwork! Specifically original pieces he, his father and cousin had done. Ones that, IMHO, are… just OK. We moved in together a smidgen over 9 years ago, and luckily he had almost nothing to his name, so he just kinda showed up and stayed with a few duffel bags… and the paintings.

    Nearly a decade together now, we have amassed quite the selection of artwork that suits both our tastes, yet there that original artwork sits… leaning against a wall because there just isn’t anywhere to hang it. And there, forever, it will likely stay because he will NEVER throw it away. SIGH.

  111. Tori L. says...

    Congratulations on this step, Caroline!! I remember reading your posts (which I now realize were from YEARS ago) about dating struggles and being single, and I was so excited to read when you found a partner who seemed to really complement you. So glad to see your relationship is going well! And I love the duck fire extinguisher :)

  112. Beth says...

    My husband inherited his grandmother’s Beanie Baby collection when she passed away. What bachelor has fifty Beanie Babies?! When we moved in together, they were confined to boxes in the basement, but now that we have two kids (& I have convinced him that they aren’t and won’t be worth anything), the kids each have one of the bigger ones as their special stuffy. Kind of cool that they get to sleep with their Great Grandma’s stuffed animal every night. They love to play with the Beanie Babies and they actually are high quality and have held up well over time. Maybe the collection wasn’t so bad after all… No wait, it was.

  113. Allyson Lawson says...

    A busted, old recliner that was my Husband’s Grandpa’s chair. HOW do I tell him to get rid of his Grandpa’s chair?! I even tried “ooh, for Father’s Day let’s go pick you out a fancy, new, big, WORKING recliner!” No dice.

    • Laura says...

      Ahh, yes. The Husband’s Grandpa’s chair. I know it well.

    • Caroline says...

      This reminds me of the Peppa Pig espisode where they secretely donate papa pig’s horrible chair to a charity fair, and he buys it back, hahaha.

    • Allyson says...

      Caroline! You’re speaking my toddler mama language. You know what’s so weird about Peppa Pig? They call him Daddy Pig at home. And at work, his coworkers call him Daddy Pig, too. Not Joe Pig or Kevin Pig.

  114. Jen M. says...

    The dresser mirror. My husband has this 90s style dresser with an attached trifold mirror that’s as wide as the dresser. It’s horrid. We at least refinished everything so it’s no longer that orangey wood tone that makes it look as dated. But that mirror stays. He loves it. I keep trying to convince him to ditch the mirror and wall-mount our bedroom TV (instead of sitting it on that damn dresser in front of the mirror). I think I’ll win him over, but this has taken too long….

  115. Lee Ann says...

    If you were to ask my husband of 15 years, he would say a shiny black ceramic head gifted to him by an ex-girlfriend. I didn’t hate it, but it certainly wasn’t my style. It was broken when he and my teenage brother we’re moving his stuff to our first shared apartment. Every once in a while, he tries to get me to admit I orchestrated that accident.

  116. Katie says...

    A model of an old-timey car that is also a radio (non-functioning). It lives on his dresser making our room seem like it might belong to a elementary-aged child.

  117. kmarren says...

    My husband has horribly ugly artwork. Like HUGE dark landscape watercolor prints with brown mats and gold frames, badly photographed black and white winter scenes, a church (we are not religious), etc. Another is a print of Denali that his parents gave him when he graduated, again huge, with a bright blue mat and the actual title “Denali” in 3 inch letters at the bottom in case you forgot what it was (we live in Alaska- sheesh). I was able to hide them in his office and unused spaces in our old house, but we downsized a few months ago and they are sitting on the floor with all of our other artwork because I’m afraid once we start hanging my stuff, he’ll insist on hanging all of those in the name of being fair. Oh, we also have a Tibetan robe that is mounted in a frame that’s about 6 feet tall. In theory, a beautiful piece in yet another ugly framing situation (black and gold all over) but where I can put it in my tiny home with 7.5 foot ceilings, I do not know.

    I honestly fantasize about how nice it would be to have my own house to decorate. Terrible.

    • Veronica says...

      I, too, am happily married and imagine what I would decorate my house with if I lived sans husband and child.

  118. Heidi says...

    “I just want you to know… that I will never… want that wagon wheel coffee table.”

    Best movie ever.

    • jones says...

      I just posted below about that line without reading the comments. She looks at him so loving when she says it too. I love When Harry Met Sally so much that I convinced a group to do our group project in a psychology class in college about it. Our theme was whether it was true that men and women could be just friends and people’s thoughts on that subject. We showed clips and used lines from the movie in our presentation.

    • Nancy Preston says...

      Omg, right?? I watch that movie every Christmas.

  119. Liz says...

    What a GEM! I wish my husband tried to see my POV more often when it comes to design. We’ve just completed a cross country move and need to get all new furniture, so I’m a bit scared. When we first moved in together, he had an enormous DVD collection – not a wagon wheel coffee table but definitely cumbersome. He’s since burned them all onto an external drive and got rid of the boxes, so at least they aren’t on display!!

  120. Janet Muschinske says...

    When my husband and I moved in together 32 years ago, he brought with him several hideous items that I just couldn’t live with. They became known as “political” things. Such as a table lamp from the 70’s that was about 3′ tall. He also brought with him an ugly 3′ diameter metal wall hanging (also from the 70’s or possibly the 60’s) that we lovingly referred to as “the dish”. We compromised by keeping “the dish” (only for a couple of years) but got rid of the hideous lamp. We still laugh about it today.

    • Alexandra says...

      Haha, we also have a husband-owned table lamp, the foot of his is made out of solid oak and he made it in woodshop in high school. How can I not love it? I managed to move it to our little storage room, so that it does not have to reside in the living room anymore …

  121. Amanda W. says...

    I would at least invite “Alien” in; it’s a classic! (The sequels are debatable.)

  122. Colleen says...

    OMG thanks for sharing Caroline! I’m moving into my bf’s place at the end of this month so I really needed to read this! He’s lived in his place for 7 years, and we’ve both lived alone for several years now, so it’s a big adjustment for us both. I’m so scared for the merging of the stuff, but also excited to see what we create together and find out how he really feels about my eccentric vintage furniture. Luckily I have an old dog who has frequent accidents, so that’s my excuse for keeping my couch and rug so his stuff doesn’t get ruined… And he’s perfectly compliant when I put it like that. :)

  123. Michaela says...

    My husband and I didn’t really clash when we merged stuff in our first shared apartment because neither of us brought a lot (of physical items!) to the relationship. We’d both been living with roommates and parents post-college, and hadn’t invested in anything nice yet. After a few IKEA runs, and the results of a couple years of cobbling together hand-me-downs and meaningful souvenirs, he basically agreed to hand creative control of the apartment over to me. He has opinions, but he told me something along the lines of “You know how to make our apartment look good and also feel like home, so I trust you.” Melt!

    The one thing we did have trouble with was Kondo’ing shit… I lobbied hard to get him to donate a Razor scooter he hadn’t used in years, which continued to sit in our closet unused for three years before we reassessed our storage space and he came to his own conclusion that maybe he didn’t need a Razor scooter anymore. So, patience!!

    • Olivia says...

      Damn, I would love his razor scooter. Haha

  124. HKW says...

    This is just too funny and a 100% relatable. Things do eventually become mutual and the ones that don’t, one of you finds a way to get the other to relinquish, hide or accept it.

    On the fire extinguisher dilemma, I saw this sleek little innovation at an automotive conference this year-https://elementfire.com/products/element-e50. It was just amazing.

  125. celeste says...

    I’m not picky on furnishings.

    Hubs grew up with not a lot of money, though, and works 60+ hours per week. On the weekends he wants to sleep in and have fun, but when I suggest a contractor refurb our cabinets or powerwash the house, he gets angry. But he won’t do it.

    Any sweet talking suggestions?

    • Karen says...

      Just get it done

    • Bonnie says...

      Ohhh…that’s tough. With that background, it’s often difficult to let hard-earned money go to pay for services for something you can do, even for goods and services like routine restaurant meals! Maybe see if he’s up for a substantial project every 3-4 months, noting how much you’ll save by DIY. I would resent my spouse just spending the money if we disagreed and it was a solid amount. We discuss for a while, agree at some point and then save up for specific large projects…the materials if we’re doing it, or the service if we finally agree it’s out of our ability or tool rental range. Good luck!

  126. I’m a 38 year old male. My last relationship was with someone who made it clear she never wanted to get married and never wanted to cohabitate. I thought these views were crazy but as I go forward I realize it’s probably more realistic for me to admit that my finding someone I’m comfortable with sharing my home with 100% of the time isn’t going to happen.

    So yes I can love someone but not love their stuff. I can also love someone and still want to go home and sleep alone 4 or 5 nights out of 7.

  127. Denise says...

    Your partner is a keeper & that duck fire extinguisher is a cutie. I broke up with a partner once over stuff. It was the right thing to do. Neither of us were good for the other and stuff helped us end it rather quickly. Since then I’ve learned I don’t want to share my space even with my most beloved and that’s okay. We are contemplating being neighbors in the same building but not moving in together. Never that! Moving in is not for me, but congrats to you and yours for taking that leap and loving it.

  128. Lee says...

    My husband and I moved in together at 25, so the only things he really brought into the relationship were camping gear and his djembe (drum). We use the camping gear regularly, but the djembe has been gathering dust for 7 years now! Our apartment is so tiny that we don’t have room for it in a closet, so I have to look at it everyday. And I still can’t get him to get rid of the damn thing.

    Also–my grandparents had a wagon wheel light fixture! No joke. Truly the most horrendous light fixture I’ve ever seen.

  129. Maren says...

    A treadmill. A mammoth, monstrosity of a treadmill, which is the first thing you see when you enter our small apartment. He put it together while I was out of town as a surprise because he wanted to show how committed he is to getting healthier (we’re doing IVF). Honestly, the first time I saw it I cried. He thought it was because I was moved by the gesture. It was not. I love him with all my heart, but not that treadmill, that goddamn whale of a treadmill ;)

    • rose says...

      Gosh though, you’ve gotta love his commitment. Invest in a Peloton? They’re pretty sleek.

    • Bonnie says...

      Good luck with your IVF, Maren!

  130. Iris says...

    I’ve just got to say, Caroline, your writing voice is so pleasant and enjoyable. I love this! My husband’s “wagon wheel” is about 3 drumsets worth of drums and equipment. This wasn’t a huge problem in our first mutual apartment that had a second bedroom (and unneeded closet where the drums lived) but once we had our first baby and that space was needed, the drums have moved and lived and sort of become furniture in our house when they aren’t being used. It has been so long now that I ALMOST don’t see them. Almost.

  131. My 44-year-old husband recently took up fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a Halloween prop designer by making a hobby out of crafting hyper-realistic gory fake skulls on our dining room table. Picture rotting, wounded, corpse skulls displayed alongside a Heath Ceramics vase filled with cafe au lait dahlias. Where dinner is served. Pretty much a visual metaphor for our marriage!

    • Lizzie says...

      Ok, this one wins. And loses, from a design perspective.

    • Louise says...

      Hahahahaha so funny Emily

  132. Ellie says...

    I just watched that movie last week on the plane so this really made me laugh (also THAT APARTMENT!!!). I moved into my now husband’s apartment and spent a lot of time while he was on call replacing wire dry cleaning hangers with slim ones, cleaning out junk, etc but I never get rid of his things behind his back (I would LOSE IT if someone did the same to me!). Instead I try to find creative ways to hide it. But the biggest battle I’ve lost is the CDs. We have two 80″ CD towers from Ikea packed with CDs that he never touches. I’m told there are more in storage at his parents’ too (oy!) haha.

    • Sally says...

      My husband has so many CDs!!!! Our last move together I finally convinced him they don’t belong in the living room but in some back corner of the apartment, but he (we?) still have five overflowing racks of them!

    • Liz says...

      I had this same issue with DVDs!! Ask him to burn them onto an external drive, or put them into a cd binder…or both!

    • Danielle says...

      My husband had paper grocery bags full of empty CD jewel cases. We moved apartments once across the city and I gently suggested getting rid of them. He was very reluctant and so the grocery bags lived in the top, unreachable cupboards in our kitchen for years. Finally faced with a move halfway across the country with very limited room in a trailer he relented and threw them away. I find it rather endearing that he wants to keep stuff sometimes. On the other hand I do occasionally play the “I moved 2,000 miles with only 2 suitcases to live with you”card. I know from experience that you don’t really miss most of that stuff even if you are a sap like me.

  133. Sasha L says...

    We dodged this bullet. My husband and I moved in shortly after we started dating (young, whirlwind, boy next door romance). I had been subletting my cousin’s apartment while she was away, and had no stuff. He had been sleeping on his friend’s couch (next door). When we got a place together, neither of us had anything at all! We collected stuff left on curbs for free, garage sales, moving friends’ cast offs, family members’ donations as they bought nicer stuff. Poor, but in love. At least we had each other. (We’ve never had a coffee table, wagon wheel or otherwise 🤷)

  134. China says...

    Caroline, that fire extinguisher is the best thing I have ever seen! In my relationship I am both the safety conscious one and the one who cares about how things look, so this seriously made my day. I just ordered three – one for me and two as house-warming gifts for good friends who just moved :)

  135. Katie says...

    My wagon wheel coffee table is QUITE LITERALLY a wagon wheel coffee table. It is actually very pretty, and goes well with our things, but I want desperately for a lucite or marble coffee table. For some inexplicable reason though, it is one of my husband’s favorite pieces of furniture, so I will probably have to deal with it for about the next decade until we redo the entire house.

    • E says...

      I babysat for people had a literal wagon wheel coffee table! I often wondered the backstory :)

  136. Louisa says...

    My MIL loves to take photos from a family trip and blow them up to an extraordinary size and have them matted (colored mat to match the photo) and framed. Usually they are somewhat tilted photos (not corrected) with odd images of people we don’t know. There are only so many I can put in the guest room.

    I win, right? Give me a wagon wheel coffee table any day.

    • Amanda says...

      LOL. Louisa, this is incredible. Nora Ephron material for sure.

    • Michaela says...

      Oh my goodness, there’s nothing quite so cringe-inducing for me as being “gifted” a framed photograph I dislike, or some other artwork that is totally out of sync with my style. I may be on an IKEA budget, but artwork is one place where I can get really individual, so it just feels especially awkward to receive art that misses the mark!

    • Denise says...

      O no! I’m glad I read this. I’m that person! I have gifted so much questionable art that I never see on my friends walls. I will cease & desist.

    • Laura says...

      LOL, amazing.
      Gifting artwork is bold in general – it’s so individual!

    • Anu says...

      Yes, artwork is extremely personal and if there are any MILs reading this, please don’t gift people artwork that you then expect them to put up. My MIL gifted us this giant wood engraving, dark brown, completely not my style. The thing was giant and she gifted it to us when we were on vacation in her (Eastern European) country. I hoped desperately that we wouldn’t be able to fit it into the suitcase – but nope, my husband managed to wedge it in their diagonally. It now hangs proudly in my son’s room and I’ve decided that it’s a battle I’m not willing to fight, but boy do I still hate it.

    • Louise says...

      I got a truly awful print of a painting by a well regarded artist from my aunt as a wedding present. There was some script on a page of a book in the picture and it was spelled wrong. There was a kind of Japanese vibe to the art and I’m part Asian. The picture just really offended me visually. Then I broke the glass on it by accident. Then I gave it away. THEN the same aunt gave my sister 1000 Euro in cash as a wedding gift and I think that’s prob what my gift was worth. Such a waste. Please don’t give art as a gift

  137. Robin says...

    How about what piece of furniture a partner refuses to buy? My ex and I kept separate apartments (were we part of the Living Apart Together vanguard?), but one of the only real arguments we had was about his complete LACK OF COUCH. He refused to buy one and deemed a duvet and pillows on the floor an appropriate solution for movie-watching. He was very anti-consumerism, but this was extreme in my opinion. Not the reason we broke up… but I look forward to whoever comes next having, at the very least, a cozy couch.

    • I once dated a man who refused to buy a bed frame… He slept on a mattress on the floor… This wasn’t a struggling artist either, this was a financial data analyst who made twice my salary… His argument was that he might move apartments soon and didn’t want the hassle of moving a bed frame…

    • ANDREA says...

      Robin, you dodged a bullet. There is something so triggering to me about people who live in squalor on purpose. I have a friend who won’t replace her broken dining room chairs (or fix them, if that is even possible at this point), nor create a livable environment for her kids out of some noxious “make do” philosophy. I hate going over to her apartment.

    • Twyla says...

      When my husband was younger and living with roommates – the ‘couch’ in their living room was the backseat of his friend’s Volkswagen Rabbit…

    • Karen says...

      Oof.

      When it verges towards not “adult-ing” – that’s when it is a FLAG.

    • Robin says...

      It’s amazing to hear other voices that resonate with my experience… it can feel so isolating when you’re in the middle of it and feel like you’re the one “asking too much.” Thank you so much <3

  138. congrats on this big step! moving in together is so exciting!

    my now husband and I argued over this hand chair that was so uncomfortable to sit on, it just became this oversized clothes rack/weird sculptural piece that we did not have room for! I know other people may find it cool but it just did not fit in our space!!!

  139. julie says...

    When my now-husband moved into my TINY New York apartment several years back, I was in a near-constant panic about what he would bring and how we would fit it in, how to find some balance. Until finally one night he told me, “I’m bringing my bookshelf and my dresser, and other than that, I’ll just need space for a few hangers.” My response: “That is the the most romantic thing YOU HAVE EVER SAID TO ME.”

    Good luck Caroline, you’ll work it out!

  140. Veronica says...

    For me, the wagon wheel coffee table is my husband’s “collections.” He collects whiskey (which means we have A LOT of unopened bottles), golf gear and attire, and playing cards. He also has a lot more clothing than I do (at least four times, but probably more). Every time we’ve moved, I got bent out of shape out of the inevitable time and effort it took to arrange all of his stuff and find space for it. It usually ends with me hysterically begging him to get rid of some of it. I have bemoaned using the tops of cabinets to store whiskey bottles for three moves now (I hate how it makes our places look like a frat house). However, we agree on furniture purchases almost all the time, so I consider dealing with the collection the price to pay for our larger purchases being easy. Oh, and he’s worth putting up with his stuff for ;)

  141. Kelcey says...

    I’m dying. My husband and I have lived together for coming up on six years, and just moved into our first house. We still have these moments except now I’m trying to convince him that we should buy a proverbial wagon wheel table off craigslist or facebook marketplace. He vetoes 90% of what I show him, but the good new is what we do end up with makes us both happy.

  142. Jamie says...

    LOL, the best scene in the best movie! My husband and I moved in directly after college and accumulated our early, ugly, hand-me-down stuff together, so no first-hand experience. Great post today!

  143. Cate says...

    My husband has a giant movie poster for A River Runs Through It. We just bought our first house, which is very tiny, and he is very insistent that we find somewhere to hang it.

    • Chris says...

      Terrible.

  144. Abbey says...

    This was absolutely me and my (now) husband when we moved in together. Our fire extinguisher was his bucket of mead. When we met, he considered himself an amateur homebrewer, but had stopped doing it quite so much. He had one last batch of mead in a giant white plastic lidded bucket that he kept meaning to bottle. When we moved in together after two years of dating, he still hadn’t bottled it, so the bucket moved in to our tiny NYC apartment, where it lived in the living room because we had no space. Two years after that, we moved to another tiny apartment in Canada, and so did the bucket. I draped a drop cloth over it, used it as a plant stand, and tried my best to pretend it wasn’t there. After three years in Canada, we moved back to the US this summer. I had given up hope of ever parting ways with the bucket, but before we moved he did finally bottle and drink the mead. (All by himself, since after so many years in a bucket it did not taste great). Our new living room is bucket-free and I am SO HAPPY ABOUT IT.

    • Colleen says...

      “Our fire extinguisher was his bucket of mead”

      Lolololol I can’t…….

    • Heather says...

      “Our fire extinguisher was his bucket of mead.”

      This just made me snort laugh

    • Louise says...

      Oh god I just snorted too

  145. Jackie says...

    So happy for you! I think the horse picture in your apartment was a sign that this is the real thing, so I’ve been waiting to hear about the next steps in your lovely relationship. I must admit, when my now-husband moved in, I didn’t let him bring anything other than clothes (which I had already cleaned out pretty thoroughly and restocked with things that fit him much better ;) ). He has veto power over everything we’ve purchased for our successive apartments since then, but I’m still the design maven and he likes that we have a grown up home for our family. I think the duck extinguisher shows that your boyfriend appreciates your home style as an essential part of you – so hopefully you won’t have change much of the awesomeness that you’ve put in place!

  146. Christina says...

    There are so many wagon wheel coffee table items! I had a full-on panic attack among the boxes and boxes and boxes of my boyfriend’s stuff that his mom just kept dropping by. She was ready to get his junk out of her house!!! They just.kept.coming. Finally we reached the end (or he asked her to hit the pause button, I’m not sure which) soon after the panic attack.

    The one piece that really sticks out in my mind is the sofa. He kept telling me he had this “really nice leather sofa, hardly used, practically new” in storage. Mine was pretty old, so I foolishly said, “Ok great, that can be our sofa!” and gave mine to a family in need.

    Reader, IT WAS HORRENDOUS. A loveseat (!) not a sofa, hideous brown leather, basically looked like a La-Z-Boy but didn’t even have the footrest to make it more functional. And not “comfy” leather, slick leather. I immediately started saving up for a new sofa, and finally that monstrosity is out of our lives. Always, always, always ask to see something in person before you commit!

    • Emily S says...

      OMG. My ex had something similar when we moved in together. “I have a love seat” he said. I thought he was saying “I am a late-twenties male who not only knows what a love seat is, but I own one.” I was in awe.
      Then he said “It is a bright red color.” Which I understood as meaning “We can slipcover the thing or reupholster it.”

      Then I saw it. Oh, lovely people of the internet, how wrong we both were. Here I was thinking that my boyfriend was one-of-a-kind for knowing what a loveseat is and owning one, failing to remember that being a foreigner, there were sometimes…translation errors.

      LoveSac. As in the beanbag. He owned a bright red beanbag. Large enough for three people to sit on. It moved in with us too. :(

  147. Kelly Griffith says...

    My husband has the ugliest old chair from when he was a baby 40 years ago. I have tried so hard to get this thing out of my house, and I still have not been victorious. There is not a person on the planet that would find this thing appealing.

  148. ilona says...

    My husband’s dart board and giant orange foam surround. When we first moved in together it lived in the spare room. Fine. When we moved house it was in our bedroom. Not OK. Now we’ve moved again, I just want it gone (it’s currently under the bed) while he’s waiting till the guest room is painted so he can put the hideous thing up on the wall.

    I maintain that I have nothing hideous but I’m sure he’d disagree…

  149. R says...

    Wait. This just happened to me. I have lived alone for 5 years and my boyfriend is about to move in. (Yay! Yikes!) I have a legit wagon wheel table from a thrift store, never loved it but, you know, it worked, inertia, etc… and the other day said bf commented about how much space we could save if we got rid of it. “Plus, you know, it’s kind of ugly.” And then I looked at it again with fresh eyes and you know what? It WAS kind of ugly! And such a poor use of space! How had I not noticed all these years? Off to the thrift store it went. I’ve never seen WHMS and have been wanting to for years, but this is the push I needed. RIP wagon wheel table, I hope you are being unattractive yet perfectly functional in someone else’s home.

    • Bindi says...

      “I hope you are being unattractive yet perfectly functional in someone else’s home!” LOL- I love it!