Ring. Wedding dress. Photos. Video. China. Crystal. You have nicely acquired these special keepsakes on the day of your wedding. But what happens after divorce? What do you purge and what do you keep? As a Professional Organizer and divorced single mom I know how to declutter after divorce, and I’ve got 4 great tips to help get your house put together in no time flat.
Think half. Yes, most times you get half of the stuff. But from my experience one of you most always ends up with the house full of stuff while the other carries on and starts fresh.
What I Have Learned
Here is what I learned during my 10 years of marriage, and let’s not forget the 6 years of dating before that, which equals 16 years of acquiring memories and possessions, and that’s a LOT of stuff! Even though when you get a divorce, you usually get half the stuff, you most always end up with a house full of stuff that you have collected over your life, just like I did.
Hanging on to stuff will drain your energy and be a constant reminder of your marriage. For instance, I am proud to say that after 8 years I most recently consigned the last two Denby bowls that I kept from my marriage because they cost so much money. It felt so great to hand those bowls over and after all these years they were worth something, not just for my wallet, but also for my mental state as well.
As a Professional Organizer I know that a clean slate is the best return on your healing power! I am an expert at helping our clients declutter and start fresh so they can walk into their homes with a renewed sense of hope and happiness and make new memories.
4 Tips to Declutter After Divorce
Tip #1 The first tip to decluttering after divorce is to figure out how much space you can afford to house your stuff. More often this works out to about half the square footage you had together. This grabs and shakes the emotion right out of your new current situation so that you can have ‘stuff’ perspective!
The best way to do this is to make a list of all the possessions you own together. Go through the home and put bright blue stickers on the things he is keeping. This will give you a visual image of what stays and what is going.
Tip #2 The Family House. Once you know your square footage, decide where and what you will live in, within that house. My separation agreement provided us with one year of living in the matrimonial home which gave me time to prepare my plan. Yes, we shared the home together! Don’t get mislead that you can keep the family home. It is very difficult to maintain the space on your own. You also won’t move forward much. Some keep the family home so the children are least disrupted. Hello? Their parents are divorcing. It is a great first lesson in letting go of an object, ‘the house’, to go forward. This will serve as a great life lesson for them later on.
Tip #3 What to do with the wedding dress? NO, your daughter will not want your wedding dress one day. It is only an excuse we use to hang on to it for our own purpose. Sell, donate or shred it.
Tip #4 Lace Keepsake Wedding Album? Take out photos and make a nice little pile for your children and shred the rest. Finding any reason to keep the whole album for your children means you are hanging on to not moving forward. We had a client who wanted to keep everything from her wedding so she could show her children how much their parents loved each other. As a Professional, we would ask that client to keep a few and your words to your child will be more trusted than the ‘stuff’. If you believe they were created out of love and you share that with them one day it will mean more than a box full of wedding memories.
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