Breaking Up with Stuff








Break ups, splits, getting dumped, divorce, moving out, moving on brings some of the worst emotional pain imaginable. I’ve been there and have done it three times in the last three years. I’d choose a broken ankle or the swine flu any day of the week if it could prevent my heart from feeling like it’s been torn in half. It makes me say that I’ll never let anyone in ever again. I don’t think I could survive more emotional pain because there’s no cure for it, only waiting for time to pass.

You might be wondering how this has anything to do with organizing. Here’s my point. Breaking up with stuff after breaking up with a person has to happen.  Allowing stuff to remain around us that reminds us of the person is a recipe for disaster. It drags us down, paralyzes us and leaves us stuck.  When I encounter people that have been through hurt and loss in relationships, the amount of freedom they find when we ditch the ex’s stuff cannot be expressed in words.  They find permission to move on and let go. For one client, it was furniture that her ex left behind. Once the furniture was sold on Craig’s List, it was as if she could breathe again. She wasn’t aware of the hold it had on her emotions until I encouraged her to get rid of his stuff.

Pictures are also an obstacle. Get them off your phone by downloading them onto your computer. Then drag all of the ex’s photos into one folder. Organize them into one place and you’ll never have to look at them again until you can stomach it. Or you’ll end up deleting them at some point. Regardless, don’t have them floating around your computer or electronic devices to make you sad anytime you see one pop up. Be swift, thorough, and diligent to get this task done. Social media such as Facebook or Instagram would be trickier. Delete them on the feed. Bury them quickly by posting new feed or go off of social media for a little while.

Where ever you are at in your break up journey , consider what is left behind that affecting your heart and mind. How can you lessen the blow and begin to heal. There’s no right or wrong way of doing things but removing items is the first step.

The way I handle ex’s stuff is it gets thrown into bins or bags and I toss it in my crawl space under my house. Yes, I would never recommend that typically as an organizer because most people would never revisit the stuff and it would sit there for years. However, I have a method to my madness. You see I pack up all the stuff, get it out of my sight and then later after time has passed I pitch the stuff with a fury. How much time? That answer all depends on how fast I can heal and get over the person. My most recent breakup is the hardest to figure out.  I can’t fit a ladder and fourteen pots of flowers from my deck into my crawl space. He planted a million beautiful flowers for me and every day I pass them on my deck and it drives me nuts looking at them. I thought about not watering them and letting them die a long slow death, but I’m still debating that one.

Happy healing to you (& me) !

Amber Kostelny

Amber’s Organizing, LLC

7401 W. Howard St.

Chicago, IL 60631

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One Response to Breaking Up with Stuff

  1. Mike

    I feel your pain Amber. I love reading your blogs. In the event of having to get rid of stuff left behind by an ex I would suggest hiring professional movers to disassemble their old stuff and move it out to a goodwill. Or arrange for it to be brought to the ex’s place directly.

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