Dealing with a breakup is never easy — especially when you have to figure out how to live in the home, you shared after the relationship ends. While it’s healthy to grieve and even be angry, living where everything reminds you of your ex-partner is not. This guide will help you reclaim your space and make it home again.
The urge to make personal changes when life gets rough is natural. This urge to declutter after a breakup can help you purge and remove painful reminders through deep cleaning.
The entire home may hold little things that remind you of your former partner, but the bedroom is where intimacy is shared, so memories created here may hurt the most. Decluttering your bedroom doesn’t just involve removing the small personal items or photos that trigger memories, although that’s still part of the process. It also includes changing the way your bed looks by changing your bedding, more than simply putting a clean set of linens on the bed. You might consider buying new blankets and sheets to change the entire look of the bed. If you can buy a completely new bed, that’s even better. At the end of the process, your bedroom should have a clean, fresh look to welcome your new era. If your ex doesn’t want the old things, consider donating them so someone else can benefit from them.
The bathroom isn’t a prominent place for personal memories. Still, skin care, hygiene products, and perfumes or colognes have scents that become associated with the person you used to share a home with. Fortunately, decluttering a post-breakup bathroom is easy. Start by removing all the products that belonged to your ex, and think about investing in new towels and bathmats. It’s worth noting that homeless shelters often appreciate donations of items like these, even if they aren’t new or full.
From the cupboards to the refrigerator, a breakup impacts virtually every part of the kitchen. Whether one of you did all the cooking or you both shared the task, the kitchen will need a hearty cleansing to make it yours. Start in the refrigerator and cupboards. If your ex had particular tastes you didn’t share, donating unopened items to a food bank or giving them to your friends or family is a great way to declutter and do some good. If switching out your dishes for new ones isn’t an option, you can consider using no-bake food-safe ceramic paint to give them a fun makeover.
Mementos hold memories of things you both did together and places you visited. It’s important to remember that while these memories may be painful right now, these experiences helped create your personal story. You did those things and visited those places, too. To preserve that side of things, consider storing these mementos instead of getting rid of them entirely.
Reclaiming your space
Your space is integral to your sense of well-being, but if it holds too much of the past to allow you to move forward, a profound change may be needed. If you own the home, you don’t need to move after a breakup. Sometimes, changing the space flows— and how you engage with it — is enough.
Here are some ways you and your home can move forward after a breakup:
- Rethink your space. Sometimes, the best thing to do with your home after a breakup is to rethink how you engage with each room. What’s that room’s function? How does it make you feel? Changing your partner’s workspace to a reading nook, for example, can profoundly affect how the space feels to you.
- Reclaim your belongings. Items around your home hold memories of your partner, which may be painful for you. You can reclaim your belongings by reframing what they mean to you. For example, if you and your partner loved to cook together, consider rearranging your kitchen in a way that makes sense to you.
- Design for the future. A breakup changes the path your life will take. Your home should reflect who you are and the person you want to become.
- Change the energy in the home. Burning a white sage smudge stick in each area of the home is a traditional way to purge negative energy and bless the space in the process. Changing the energy in your home can go a long way toward reclaiming the space after a breakup.
- Change the furniture. Changing all the furniture in the home may not be in your budget, but changing a few key pieces can introduce a little bit of your style to make the space feel better. You can visit thrift stores or browse online markets to save money.
- Add lighting. Adding extra lighting is a subtle way of changing a space’s appearance. Lamps or other lighting can add a dash of style to a room. Plus, extra light can also improve the way a room feels.
- Add indoor plants. If you’ve got a green thumb, adding a few plants to your home is a nice, inexpensive way to change the look and feel of your space. As a bonus, they can help improve indoor air quality.
- Redecorate your space. Change the entire look and feel of your home so no trace of a breakup is left.
- Do what you want to do. Not everybody likes the same things, and a shared home is always full of things one person likes that the other doesn’t. After the breakup, put up that picture, get the kind of pet you’ve always wanted, or paint that room the best color you like. It’s your space now. Do what you want with it.
Reclaiming your space means making changes. Change is a good thing, in this case, and it can be as small or as big as you want it to be. When moving on after a breakup, you may be inclined to turn some of your home-reclaiming into DIY projects. You can complete these projects yourself if you want, but why not bring in some friends and make it fun? This way, you purge your space of painful memories and replace them with new ones.
The will and desire to change your personal space may be stronger than your ability. If this is the case, consider hiring a handyman to bring your vision to life. There’s certainly no harm in asking for help when life gets overwhelming.
The importance of self-care
When your life gets turned upside down by a breakup, self-care often falls by the wayside. All your efforts go into getting through the day and healing your broken heart. The things that make you feel grounded and healthy just don’t seem as important. Taking care of yourself can be hard to remember, but it’s probably the most important thing you can do after a breakup. When your life has been thrown into upheaval, even if the breakup was amicable, little bits of happiness where you find them are the key to getting through it.
There are many ways to indulge in a little self-care, and they don’t have to be profound. Why not try some of the following?
- Let yourself grieve. Grieving a breakup is natural and healthy, so don’t suppress it. Vent your grief when you need to – you’ll be better for it in the long run.
- Express your feelings. We tend to think that communication only happens between two or more people, but communicating your thoughts and feelings to yourself can help you express them in a healthy way. Maybe it’ll even help you put things into perspective.
- Don’t get stuck. It’s too easy to get stuck in your negative emotions, such that it becomes self-destructive. Airing out your feelings is healthy, but those negative feelings will only slow the healing process if you feed them.
- Make self-care a priority. When you’ve recently gone through a breakup, self-care is like taking vitamin C when you’re sick: it helps boost your ability to bounce back and be well again.
- Do those forgotten things you enjoy. Sometimes people who are part of a committed relationship let go of the things they enjoy doing, especially if their partners don’t share that interest. After a breakup, why not remind yourself of all the hobbies that fell by the wayside?
- Don’t be impulsive. There’s always a time and place for being impulsive, but after a breakup is not it. Being impulsive in this circumstance might feel positive at the time, but it leads to bad choices that will make you feel worse.
- Use your support system. Good friends are worth their weight in gold. During a breakup, they’re a valuable source of emotional support. When your heart breaks with a space where your partner used to be, a good support system can help put you back together. So, share your feelings, go out and have fun, enjoy a long chat, or do whatever else you need to feel like yourself again.
- Don’t rebound. It’s hard to be on your own after living with a committed partner, and the temptation to jump right back into the dating scene can seem pretty overwhelming. Although it depends on how the breakup went down, how long the relationship was, and any other considerations, you’ll need some time to heal after a breakup. Also, dating while still getting over a relationship isn’t fair to your next partner.
No matter how you define “self-care” and whatever form it takes, indulging in some quality “you-time” can make an emotionally overwhelming situation more bearable.
When life throws you a curveball, decluttering after a breakup and making changes can help ease the healing process. Whether your self-care involves going to the gym, getting a manicure, grabbing a soothing cup of tea, or eating at your favorite restaurant, go easy on yourself. Breakups are tough, but you’ll get through it.