In my recent post Separation: the End is the Start of the Beginning, I shared that I’d started going through my house and clearing it out again. The events of the last year have really changed my mind on things. They’re not easily explained in a short blog (though maybe I write another post about changing my mental views and ambition), but the result is that I’m doing a massive clean up.
The main items I’m getting rid of are things which were my husband’s, which he brought into our relationship and house.
Our marriage ended a few years ago, but some of these things were kept because I was using them.
Despite well-meaning friends and family suggesting that I get rid of everything which was left of my marriage, I chose not to. I didn’t do a clean sweep because, at the time, I couldn’t afford to replace things which I still used, JUST because he’d bought them, or we’d had them together.
Anyone can just throw out things but you can’t just have an empty house- sooner or later, you need plates to eat off, towels to dry your body with. Therefore, it’s not just a matter of throwing out anything that reminds you of someone. I believe that anyone who thinks they can do that, either has a lot of money, or is stalling dealing with the separation and is due for a fall sometime down the track.
Objects of Life
I can detach myself from most things, and make them just things, things that I use as I live my life.
It’s a coping mechanism I employed in the early days of trying to move on. I also weighed up the other end of getting rid of everything, and that was the action of going shopping to replace everything. I don’t think I would have emotionally coped with all of that. Even if I’d had the money, that wasn‘t the time to be making any more huge decisions. I’d made the biggest decision of my life, and when it came to making more, I was spent.
Thus, the decision to get rid of some things, and keep others, was made. But then it became practical, and a way of living.
Then it got to a point where I looked around and saw more of the old life than the new. And as I was taking strides to move forward in other areas, I realised that my house was an essential aspect of the strategy.
Finances still dictate decisions, and thus, changes don’t need to involve money.
I’m not about to get rid of big items, such as appliances or my couches, but I did bring back my old bed from storage. Beds are a big expense, and my ex husband and I bought our bed together, and slept in it together. I wanted to leave that in the past, and enable physicalities of new relationships to have a life of their own. And now I have a spare bedroom set up for friends and family to use when they sleep over- complete with our marital bed.
Nowadays, I sleep in my old bed, which I bought with my own money in my younger days, when I was planning for my future. It reminds me of how independent I once was, and it spurs me on to bring back that former self, with some timely updates, and to continue living the life I’ve chosen for myself.
Boxing up, and Shipping Out
I know of people who keep their house like a shrine to their ex, that’s not me. We split up for a reason (well, plenty of them), so keeping it all here, and having to spend time dusting around his stuff makes no sense to me. Plus, it’s not going to help me to move on.
When he left, my ex took very little with him. Though we had two of lots of things (two fridges, couches, free standing wardrobes), he moved in to a place which was fully furnished, so he didn’t need to take anything big. Other than a suitcase or two of clothes, and the coffee machine, he left everything.
That means he left a lot of clothes, games, dvds, books, mementos- heaps!
We were on fairly good terms as we wanted to keep it that way, and had a year before we could officially file for divorce, and decide about the house.
When I started clearing out the house, I boxed up some of the things I thought he actually would want, but hadn’t been able to take with him. He’d moved here from overseas before we’d met and there were keepsakes he’d brought from home that I thought he’d like. In the end, my shed was half full of boxes for him.
In addition to those, I started packing things that I didn’t think he’d want, and that I also didn’t want around- not all his, some of it was mine.
I sold some things on eBay, and buy, swap and sell, and my friends and I had a stall at a local fete. But there was still so much! I was also clearing out my things, for the life I was building for myself.
And, in the end, I just wanted it gone! So I boxed things up, and took it to the op shop. All ELEVEN boxes of it. And some of those boxes were big! It took me two trips to get them all out of my house and to that shop. But, coming home and seeing that pile of boxes gone was amazing. So cathartic!!
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
It’s amazing how good it can feel to see an empty space in your house. These days, I go through phases where I just want to open a cupboard and see it empty. It doesn’t signify poverty to me. It signifies choices I’ve made, steps I’ve taken and a life I’ve moved on from, and one I’m moving on toward. They’re all good things!
It doesn’t have to be as sad as the lyrics from Les Miserables sound. It can be a good thing to clear out the demons from your life, and make way for the future you’re planning for yourself, and one for which you’ve sacrificed so much.
Keeping the past around won’t help that. Nor will keeping one foot in both worlds. Do it in your own time, and at your own pace, but do it.
It’s okay to do it over a year or more. You don’t have to do it straight away, or all at once when you do start. Your friends and family will have lots of advice for you, but if they haven’t been in that situation, they can’t know how difficult it is for you, how you’re feeling in your very being, and ultimately, what’s best for you. Only you do. Hold strong and don’t be pushed into doing anything before you’re ready.
And so, now and then, I do it again. What I wasn’t ready to part with the last time, I’m ready to see the back of now. It’s a slow process for me, but it’s the way I’m comfortable doing it, and it’s working. I feel good about parting with these objects from my past, whereas if I’d forced myself to give them away a few years ago, I would have regretted it. I know that because I did it with some things, and did regret it. See? Always learning lessons.
Stay tuned for more tips on clearing out old goods from your house, and what to do with them. I have big plans for helping you to style your life.
Split, separated or divorcing and need an ear or guide? You can book a conversation with me. Our situations might not be exactly the same, but you can see, I’ve been where you are, and can help.