Whether your last relationship was a brief affair or years in the making, breakups are always tough to handle. For many of us, the five stages of grief include sulking, series binging on your favorite TV shows, drowning your sorrows with multiple pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and staunch avoidance. Still surrounded by mementos of your ex and your relationship, sometimes the easiest response to your emotional state is to sit on the couch and do nothing at all. That is, until your best friend comes over to deliver a much-needed pep talk and finds you buried beneath a pile of post-relationship clutter.
With a little push, you admit that it’s time to get organized and get on with your life. To help guide the process of cleaning up after the breakup, here are five simple tips for excising your ex and all his/her stuff from your home:
1. Reflect: Being in a relationship means you’ve given extra consideration to another person. Now you have the freedom to do exactly what you want with your space. It’s time to think hard about tossing items that you no longer use, things that are in the way, and items that no longer make you happy. Maybe they remind you of your former partner or maybe they’re things you’ve been meaning to get rid of. Either way, it’s time for them to go (much like your ex).
2. Reassess: Since your environment is a reflection of you, it’s time to figure out who you want to be now that you’re single again. Will your home become party central or do you want to create a quiet haven? Think about adding a new splash of color or recovering the chair your ex regularly sat in.
3. Reclaim: After you’ve moved out the old items, it’s time to reclaim your space. Should you rearrange your furniture to create a more efficient system in your home office? Does your closet need an organizational update now that you’re going back to the gym or spending more nights out with the girls? Make a date with yourself to organize those spots in your apartment that may have been neglected during your relationship. If you used to eat out all the time with your ex and now you’re cooking at home, then it’s time to reclaim your kitchen.
4. Renew: Once you’ve reclaimed your space, it’s time to create a sense of organization in your lifestyle. Physical clutter can often be a manifestation of emotional clutter. Think about your habits or outlook on things: do they get in the way of being organized? How can you make minor adjustments with major impact? If you’re too tired after work to sit at your desk and pay bills, the paperwork can quickly pile up. Maybe it’s worth changing your routine of getting up early for the gym just one morning a week. One day with a little extra sleep might give you enough energy to tackle tasks after work. Enjoy this sense of renewal and try to be flexible with yourself. New habits need time to grow.
5. Relax: It’s important to remember that, like every transition, a breakup can take a little time for recovery. Give yourself a break! All the emotional healing and reorganizing don’t have to happen in a day. Take the time you need to reflect, reclaim and renew your space and lifestyle, and you just might find the change invigorating. It might be enough to motivate you to start dating again! But first you have to climb off the couch and out from under that pile of clutter.
Amelia Meena is owner of the NYC-based company Appleshine, Lifestyle Organization. As a professional organizer for a range of clients including Fortune 500 managers, lawyers, investment bankers, artists and stay at home moms, she helps people clear clutter and establish efficiency and order in their homes and their lives. Check out AppleshineNYC for more organization tips, videos and even some ideas on how to responsible reuse or recycle your unwanted items.
[Image of a messy apartment via Shutterstock]