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Have you ever talked about a washing machine over breakfast with your partner? I have. It took me until about five minutes ago to realize how weird it was. The fact made its way to the front of my brain, because five minutes ago I was researching the washing machine. I spent a whole hour looking at pictures, and comparing things like its water pressure to that of others. Like, when did that ever matter before? Forget the damn washing machine. All it needs to do is wash clothes. Oh, but what about the refrigerator? And the paint for the walls? If you know the difference between ghost white, white smoke, baby powder, snow, ivory, floral white, seashell, and cornsilk, please tell me before my wife comes back expecting an opinion!
Deborah and I just moved into our first unfurnished flat. All the places we’ve lived before have been occupied by someone else’s stuff, so a year and a half into our marriage, we’re finally having our first real moving in experience.
You know what that means! We’re working (together) to create a harmonious environment.
But what does that mean?

1) First and Foremost, It Means We Went to Ikea.

At some point, you and your partner are bound to go to Ikea for a table. Obviously, you start in the food section, because you’ve been hangry at each other for over an hour (pro tip: go to the exit food section instead of the one by the entrance. It’s better and cheaper). The food comes out and you apologize to each other. If you’ve never been to Ikea before this, it’s a place where they have thousands of things you “need”, and every other sentence that comes out of your wife’s mouth is “no, we need this.” And, if your response is anything but “yes, you’re right,” you better pray to God she didn’t hear it.
After going to Ikea, you drive home with that table you needed, but also two chairs you need, a few planters, light bulbs, a rug, some artificial flowers, lots of bowls, a few wine glasses, a new set of silverware to (not) match the one you have at home, and a funny little green picture that’s totally impractical for anything. Oh, and you grab a Christmas tree on the way out, because “it’s such a good deal,” and “it comes with a coupon for money off next time we’re here.” Never mind that the voucher is worth roughly the same as your two train tickets to get there. Anyway, you get home, only to find that Ikea doesn’t include the necessary screwdriver to set up your stuff. You don’t have a screwdriver, so screw you I guess.

2) Working Together Means Your Social Life is On Hold.

“Do you want to go for beer?”
“No.”
“Do you want to go to that concert with me?”
“No sorry, we’re moving.”

3) It Means You Need a Google Home.

Of course you’re going to need one. I mean it’s got “home” right in the name. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s the coolest thing where you can just talk, and it starts billowing out music.

4) A Harmonious Environment Means Matching the Colors of Accessories.

Everything you buy, it has to match. And 
everthing that doesn’t match that you want, you have to hide. Your partner (wife) will find it, and either list it for sale, or throw it away. I’m so glad the Google home matches our flat.

5) Furnishing a Flat Means We Can Finally “Sell Everything to Travel the World”.

You see those people online who say, “we sold everything to travel the world.” Deborah and I travelled the world before we had anything to sell, so now that we’re accumulating crap, we can eventually sell it and be the people who sold everything!

6) Working Together Means Communicating About Your Vision for Each Room.

I just know that Deborah is thinking of turning the front room with all that natural light into my man-cave! She really must love me :).
You might have ten different rooms for each of your individual activities, but we live in London, so we have to compromise.

7) If It’s Harmony You Want, You’re Have to Fight Tooth and Nail to Get It.

Everything is guaranteed to take longer than you think it’s going to. Oh, it only takes you 15 minutes to bring in the biggest things, the couches? You’re basically done, right? Did you remember paint for the walls? Oh, which color is that again? What about the coffee table? Side table? Did you even buy a plant for the window sill? Curve-ball: your partner hates those picture frames you bought. Where are you going to get new ones? Clas Olson? TK Maxx? Asda? Amazon? Try: all of the above. The details take time, and they make the room worth it.

8) Working Together to Create a Harmonious Environment Means Remembering Why.

You’ll get mad at each other, and you will have disagreements. That’s a good sign. It means that you care about the environment around you, as does your partner. It means that you’re both willing to do what it takes for what the best arrangement is. And it means that neither of you is just willing to go along with whatever the other says. Just be sure to keep it civil and constructive, because ultimately, the objective has nothing to do with the actual things around you. The objective is to plant a home; it’s to settle into a life with the people or person you love most in the world.

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