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Gear Prudence: I’m in a great relationship and it’s starting to get serious. My boyfriend just asked me to move in with him and I’m excited. Except for the fact that he has a small apartment and it’s currently filled with eight bikes. He doesn’t have any desire to get rid of them (and I would never want to ask him to!), but I’m worried that there won’t be any room for me and my stuff. I’m really conflicted—what should I do? —Could Living United Together Terminate Emerging Relationship

Dear CLUTTER: Congratulations on your relationship and your boyfriend’s offer. Not everyone is so lucky as to be given the chance to live with eight bikes. That he’s willing to share this amazing opportunity with you shows how much he genuinely cares. Each time you have to push a bike out of the way to get to the toilet in the middle of the night or rotate a handlebar in order to reach your clothes or trip over a pedal while pouring coffee in the morning, you’ll be able to mutter your gratitude (amidst your other mutterings). Be sure to add your own bike(s) to the mess. Add enough bikes and eventually you’ll get featured on one of those hoarding shows. Having your new lifestyle broadcast on cable television for your friends and family to see will make for a really fun lead-up to an awkward Thanksgiving conversation when the aunt you barely see cryptically inquires if you’re “doing OK” given your “current situation.”

Basically, what GP is saying is that there’s no downside to getting rid of all of your own stuff (especially the sentimental things you really care about) and sleeping atop a pile of unused bike tires. You and your boyfriend are in a great relationship, and this is what getting serious is all about. 

It’s a simple problem. Apartments are a fixed size and bikes are a fixed size, and eight bikes are going to take up a lot of space no matter what. It’s not really about your boyfriend or bikes or whether he loves them more than he loves you (he does). GP understands your reticence about approaching your boyfriend on the conundrum of “so, where’s my stuff going to go?” but certainly if he’s any degree serious about your moving in, he must’ve considered that. Maybe (maybe?) he has a plan.

Whether or not he plans to shed a bike or two or four, any scenario in which you combine households is going to require some give and take. And if he’s unwilling to make room or if he expects you to live in a manner where you don’t feel comfortable, cohabitating isn’t really the way to go. But if it really must be, here’s an idea: Move in together, but into a new, bigger apartment. —GP

Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email gearprudence@washcp.com.