What to Take to Your First Post Divorce Apartment or House

Moving out anytime soon? Well, if you are in the process of getting divorced or separated and are not as they say, “getting the house,” then you have an enormous task ahead of you, unless you were planning on taking the clothes on your back and nothing else. Let’s face it, if you have spent a large chunk of your adulthood in that house or apartment, and perhaps raised a family there, you are not likely to leave things behind that are important to you. The question is, just what’s important and what can be left behind for another day, another woman or even your children. Yes, yes, your soon to be ex-spouse may deserve to keep some of those mementos, and by the way, with just a little adjustment this advice can help mover-outers of both genders.

You have to start somewhere, so just pick an area of the house. The attic is filled with mementos? Perhaps this is a good place to begin. In many an attic you will find old and outgrown children and baby clothes you were saving for who knows who. Get a box for each child, choose a couple of seriously sentimental items, and not the bibs with banana stains on them, and place each item in the appropriate box. Exactly what you are going to do with these boxes I’m not quite sure, but you won’t feel right leaving without something of your children’s childhood. Throw a favorite toy you saved in, or favorite book or two. You’re done. Everything else, leave. You heard me! You do not need the giraffe coat hangers or every set of onesies. If there is an heirloom crib or bassinet collecting dust up there, go ahead and take it, if you have the space in your new digs.

The remainder of the attic junk, I mean stuff, leave behind. Basically, if you haven’t used it in over a year and be brutally honest, you don’t need it. What you don’t need, leave. OK, OK, you can grab your grandmothers wedding album.

Upstairs closets? That same if you haven’t used it in over a year rule applies. Sorry. Clothes that don’t fit or are out of date don’t have a place in your new bachelorette pad! Same goes for bedroom furniture, and anything else that is non-essential. A new bedroom, decorated in your colors and in your style, is a perk of this move, don’t blow it with old memories.

So, we’ve worked our way downstairs to the more substantial areas, living room, kitchen, dining and family rooms. My gut reaction is to tell you to grab your clothes and ignore the rest, but instead I’ll be more realistic. Take nothing from the kitchen except your favorite dishes and pots if you have them. In the family room, grab your personal computer the books you’ve had forever and before you had any idea your things would become so enmeshed with someone else’s. If you have young children, or teenagers that are moving with you, have them choose what to take with them. If they are grown and still either live there or return frequently, leave that stuff behind. Their relationship with your soon to be ex is their own. Photo albums? Just take half and be done with it. OK, snatch up your mom’s afghan. The same goes for the living room. Your favorite this or that, books, and if you must your chair. Probably the hardest room will be the dining room. Surprised?

China? Think hard and long about the china. Pause and ask yourself if it was given mutually to you as a couple or was it yours. If it was yours and you love it, take it. If not, sorry but do you really want it? Think about that carefully because you may not get back in this house. Make a decision and stick with it. Linens? Only if they are heirloom. Crystal? See the china explanation. Knick knacks? Honestly, they create dust and worse than that, memories that unless this is a very friendly divorce may be better off left behind. If you can’t live without the table or the hutch or the antique area rug, grab and go.

People have a tendency to think they need more than they do, too much baggage is never a good thing, but there are better reasons to leave so much behind. Your spouse hated the color mauve, well now is your chance to go hog wild in mauve if you choose. That collection of sea shells that never saw the light of day can become a focal point wherever you want, assuming you remembered to grab them. So here you come Bed Bath and Beyond, your favorite furniture store, the mattress store ( Yes! One that you find comfortable). You have a new life! Enjoy.

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