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Decluttering Divorce

So you can move forward invigorated, empowered and ready to embrace the new

A major life change, like divorce, presents the perfect chance to clear out all the stuff that no longer serves or lights you up. Of course, this can be physical “stuff” but there may also be less tangible things in your life you will want or need to declutter.

So… where do you start this dramatic divorce declutter?

Is it his/hers? It’s G-O-N-E! Anything he or she leaves behind after you’ve agreed and divided your property / assets, needs purging. Of course, give your ex every opportunity to do this for themselves but, if they leaves you with the last few things… box them up, place them out where they can safely collect them and give them a time frame by which this needs to be done. After this – BIN IT! (or, if it’s of value, sell it! See below)

Was it SHARED? Does it have good memories attached? Is it something useful, beautiful that will light and life you up? Keep. Does it cause you pain to look at or use? Gone.

Consider the things of value you’ve collected over the course of your relationship. What PURPOSE will each of these serve in your new, solo life? Does it still (did it ever) bring you joy? If the answer to that is a resounding “YES!” by all means keep it. If you waver, store it away where you can’t see it for a period of time while you decide. If you can clearly answer “NO, NO, NO” to the joy question – get rid of it. Sell it. Donate it. Bin it. Burn it. 

I’m not a keen advocate of bin or burn as options for things you once loved, so if you DO choose this option, be certain it’s right. You can’t unburn that gorgeous, expensive piece of art you bought together in Venice or Paris. But you CAN use the money from selling it in a way that lights you up.

So, back to the “stuff” and some considerations for decluttering.

1. Bed & Bedding – if you can, get rid of that bed. You could, in fact, suggest your ex takes the old bed with them to their new space. Definitely get rid of the bedding / linen and buy yourself something new – something that feels right for your solo life (mine is pastel pink washed linen); that is just for you. 

2. Jewels – most obvious of course is your wedding and engagement rings. You may choose to keep, or give to someone (your daughter?) now or in the future, or sell it. Whatever you choose, consider buying a NEW one, even for a different finger. I asked my kids (and yes, my ex helped them and even paid for it…) for a ring for the first Christmas after we separated. Funny, it’s also “pink” – rose gold with a pink sapphire. For me, it represents my life as a single Mum; a single, independent, empowered woman. I also bought myself a necklace when the three of us – me and my kids – were on holiday not long after the divorce. It represents the three of us – a tight, powerful unit. I wear it almost every day, especially on those days I need a little lift for my soul or my heart.

3. Sleepwear & Lingerie (for the ladies!) – do you sleep in one of his old T-Shirts? And does it still smell of him? GET RID OF IT! Go and buy yourself some new PJ’s or even just a big, soft lovely t-shirt to wrap yourself in to sleep. Lingerie he bought or that you bought to wear especially for him? Think about ditching. At the very least, go and buy yourself something NEW. Not necessarily, at this stage to flaunt for a new partner (although go for it if it feels right!), more, for YOU. To re-connect with your inner goddess; your sexy, beautiful, sensual solo self. Simply because you deserve it. 

4. Sex Toys – GET RID OF THEM, at least any that you shared with your ex. Get yourself something NEW. Solo life doesn’t have to mean no fun. If you’ve never HAD sex toys in the past, now is a PERFECT time to explore.

5. Photos – you don’t necessarily have to burn or bin them, but you most certainly don’t need to be seeing that huge poster sized print of your wedding day each time you walk into the house. I created a file on my computer (a few years after our separation) called “not all bad” for some of the digital files of our relationship, and a box in the cupboard for other photos. I did keep a few on our photo wall of my kids with their Dad after all, they weren’t divorcing him, I was. Change your screen saver and lock screen images on your phone.

6. Family & Friends – while you don’t have to be brutal in the way you go about it, divorce means YOU get to choose who to keep and who to release. Your toxic mother-in-law? Yep. You don’t have to deal with her on Christmas Day any more. His sister, who you love dearly, it’s OK to maintain your connection and friendship with her. Friends… some will make the decision for you, declaring a “side”. Others, you may wish to let go of… Divorce is tough. You need people on your team who love, support and uplift you. Yes, they can still be friends with your ex-partner too but, if they’re not loving, supporting and lifting you up above the shit storm that divorce can be, gently and gracefully LET THEM GO.

7. Social Media – divorce gives you a free licence to declutter your social media accounts. Unfriend. Unfollow. Block. Anyone or any account that does not make your heart SING. Actively seek out sites / people who love, lift and support you. 

Divorce is a rough and rocky ride. Decluttering your life and freeing yourself of anything that doesn’t bring you joy can ease the ride. So, keep it simple. Let go of anything that feels like it’s weighing you down – physical stuff, people, memories, mindset – and, move forward invigorated, empowered and ready to embrace the new.

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Sallyanne Hartnell

Sallyanne is the founder of Reflect Coaching. She offers a supported journey through separation, divorce and beyond assisting clients to overcome the overwhelm, make clear decisions, leading you to the most positive outcome achievable – the “best” possible divorce.