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The Divorce Papers Are Signed - Start Cleaning and Decluttering “that Stuff” and Regain Your Life 

Early in my divorce process I envisioned throwing a huge celebratory party once my divorce was final. What sounded fun and invigorating was slowing chipped away along with my energy, positive mindset and pocketbook.  By the time my divorce was settled my reaction wasn’t celebratory, it was anticlimactic.   


When my attorney emailed me my final divorce agreement, I was on an airplane with my daughter waiting to take off to the Dominican Republic for a much needed winter holiday break filled with warm, sunny and fun days. It afforded me some time to start to clear my head. 


I wish I could say that I actually cleared my head. Instead my mind went racing, filled with a lot questions and thoughts about what to literally do next, especially with “all the stuff” I was going to facing when returned home. “That stuff” was full of memories and things we bought and collected during the course of my marriage.


First, I can tell you that I DID NOT DEAL with “all that stuff” immediately. I was too emotionally drained. BUT I did think through how I was best going to approach tacking “the stuff” and within a few weeks start making the house feel like my and my daughter’s home. 


Over the course of the next weeks and months I put my plan into action. The decisions on what to keep, what to purge, and big question mark items really helped me not only clear the clutter, but start to heal, refresh and reclaim my personal space and life.


Ready to get started? Here are four suggestions to get your post-divorce  clean and declutter home project underway.

Do it when you are ready

Some experts recommend starting the clean and declutter process quickly because it will help move you forward faster and you will rid yourself of negative energy and reminders of your married life. While this is true, not everyone is immediately ready. So if there is no hard deadline because you are moving, go at your own pace. If you are like me, your emotions run high and low, so try to “attack the stuff”” when you are not too emotionally fired up or down, because you may throw something out that you will later regret.

Prioritize and Start with the Least Stressful Areas

Make a list of the areas in your home that need to be decluttered and cleaned and when you are ready start with the areas and spaces that are easiest and even may take the least amount of emotional energy and brainpower. You could even decide it is just a few drawers in your kitchen or den. And you could even set aside times or days when you are going to declutter and clean. The list will help you stay organized and feel less stressed and overwhelmed. And as you get going, you might find that working the home area list to be very therapeutic and help with your post divorce healing process. If you are not quite sure where or how to begin, pick up Simple Shui for Every Day by Amanda Gibby Peters. She takes the Feng Shui practice that prioritizes the energy of our surroundings in specific ways and show you how to renew the positive energy and balance in your home, with one inspiring prompt each day. Think of it as home improvement-meets-self empowerment!

Let the Decluttering Begin: Keep, Purge, Not Sure

Before you get started, head over to Home Depot, Target, Walmart or The Container Store and pick up a few plastic bins that are protective, sturdy, stackable and easily moveable and large and medium sized sticky notes. Then label some of the bins Purge and Not Sure. Proceed to then move through the room and determine which items you will Keep, Purge or question and start sorting and boxing those that can go in boxes. Put all the Not Sure boxes in your basement, attic, or spare closet so they are out of sight and mind until you are ready to tackle them. In due time you may be ready to make decisions on whether or not keep, sell, or donate. If the items in questions are of value, put those in a safe deposit box or your home safe. If you don’t have space in your home for a few boxes, consider asking a dear friend or family member to store them for you.

Donating or Selling? Decide What to Do with Purged Items

If you are a garage sale, Facebook Marketing Place or Ebay type seller, decide how much time you want to invest selling your unwanted items. Then put time aside to take your photos, price and post or organize and hold your garage sale. If you are not the reselling type consider these non-profit organizations for donating your furniture, household, toys and other items: Following your divorce, creating a healthy living space is critical to your overall well being, and can be beneficial to your mood rather than bring you down. With less clutter and all of your ex’s things gone, you’re setting yourself up to refresh and move forward in your life. This can be symbolic of new beginnings in your life and leaving the past behind you.