It’s a sad day when you and your cohabitator decide to part ways – that the time has come for you to strike out on your own and learn to zip that dress up solo. But what about all of the stuff you bought together? What happens to it? Who gets it? If you didn’t stake claim on anything during move-in, this method may help ease any tension over who gets the futon.
Divide and Conquer
When you are packing your life into boxes and suitcases, think of packing in three piles: Mine, Ours, Free for All.
Mine: all items you bought with your money, were gifted to you, or initially brought into the living space with you.
Ours: should contain any and all items co-purchased.
Free for All: leftover items that neither of you want. Help say goodbye to great memories by hosting a yard sale, and then use the earned money to buy yourselves a much deserved drink.
The “our” pile will evoke the most tension since items here were bought together. This is a great chance to evaluate together and talk about who really needs/wants what. Maybe your sister is giving you a couch as a move-in present for your new place; give your partial ownership of the futon up to the roomie as a gesture of goodwill. This will initiate the bartering stage. In return your roommie should assess what they do not need for his or her new space. That microwave was never their favorite and they know you don’t have one. Since you gave up your stake in the futon, ask if they will give up their stake in the microwave.
How to Avoid in the Future
This is where planning ahead will save you a huge headache in the future. Let’s go back to the first day the two of you signed the lease and moved in. The dining area was missing a table. You didn’t have enough money to buy one on your own, so your roommate offered to give you half the money if they could help pick the design. After you agreed upon a table and brought it home, make an effort to have a talk about the possibility of who would get to keep it down the road.
Assure the other person that you are not planning on moving out tomorrow, and explain that you only want to avoid arguments on a very stressful day in the future. Maybe your roommate agrees that you can have the table when you move out, but you would owe them the money they put up for it. Then take out your post-it note pad, write your name is large caps letter, and tape the baby on the bottom of the table (with the note of the owed money). This way come move-out day no discussion is needed because the ownership has already been decided.
Why not utilize a roommate agreement as well? Online forms, such as SpaceSplitter, can put your discussion in writing. And who will argue with what they wrote?