Congrats. You've reached that stage in the relationship where you've done the "we're at each other's places most nights anyway" dance of rationalisation, you've figured you'd rather have a roommate you want to actually see naked and are just over the commute. Not everyone makes it this far. Ditto actually surviving the househunting phase - which is almost as big a challenge as that first trip to Ikea. But you know what? You did it. You found a place and you're about to be able to legitimately use phrases like "co-habitation", "is it so hard to replace the toilet roll" and "what do you mean there's a wrong way to pack a dishwasher." So far, so challenging/exciting right?
True dat. But before you start packing, here are the home decor items she will be cool with, what she may tolerate and those you probably want to donate to the Salvos. Because trust us, that's where they will end up anyway. Pick your battles champ because when it comes to this stoush, she is already way ahead of you.
What to leave behind
Let's start with what's on the walls at your place. No matter how artistic you think that nude photograph of a supermodel is, few women are going to be comfortable dealing with Kate Moss' high-res arse every time they leave the loo. If you happen to have a framed Star Wars/Scarface/Ferrari poster or anything with an affirmation - "Dream. Believe. Achieve" - you're beyond our help. The same goes for any bedlinen you owned before you got into the relationship. You may not realise it but there is a great deal of symbolism involved in moving in together, so a duvet you've been under with ANYONE else is probably not a good idea.
And just quietly, you might want to think twice about anything that may have been labeled "novelty". As in aprons/shot glasses/hamburger phones. The same applies to any sporting equipment you haven't used in a year. That surf safari to Bali just ain't going to happen if you haven't got the board wet since Kim K was single. Deal with it. Don't even get us started on any sporting trophies. Unless you play for a living. And that's it. Wasn't that bad was it?
What you'll most likely get away with
If the previous para was a bit of a downer, we have two words for you: PlayStation and Xbox. As in, yes, bring them along. For a start, they are heaps sleeker and more compact than they used to be. Then - and here's the clincher - you can use them to binge on Netflix or even kick it old school with a Blu-Ray. Sort out your broadband beforehand, hook up a wireless modem and you'll be racking up credits big time. Just keep your games stashed away out of sight as a pile of Death Match Slaughter: Mercy Is For Pussies discs tend to diminish the sophistication of a space.
Framed photos have a great chance of making the cut. Especially if they are landscapes or feature you as a kid. Stick to no more than three of your mum. Now, let's talk appliances. If it's made of brushed metal, most likely it will pass muster. Ditto those retro kettles and KitchenAid mixers (because you'll be cooking your fair share of meals, right?).
What to definitely bring
Cushions, any cushions (as long as they are in decent shape and clean). There is no such thing as too many. There will be days when trying to find your bed will be like playing a game of Tetris. Also be sure to pack your barbecue and any lamps that could be described as "industrial". Because what you're going for in the new space is a balance of feminine and masculine, however these may fall in your specific viewpoints.
If you are one of those men who enjoys mixing a martini, deffo wrap up the shakers, stirrers and fancy bottles. These add an element of 007 savoir faire to any space. Except the bedroom - here they're just weird. Those super-pricey chef-quality knives are also non-negotiable because, like we said, you will be doing quite a bit of cooking. Books are vital too. Especially those which have had an impact on who you are. Be prepared for them to be arranged by the colour of their spines at some point, but trust us it looks spectacular.
5 masculine pieces she'll love
1. Cowhide rug, $149.95, zannui.com.au
2. James King #10 - 99 Miles From La print, $600, beckerminty.com.au
3. Tom Dixon Plum Serving Tray, $335, au.amara.com
4. Replica Eames lounge chair and ottoman, $1,995, mattblatt.com.au
5. West Elm Mid-Century Bar Cart, $599, westelm.com.au