Getting Rid Of The Ex's Stuff: A Breakup Guide To Spring Cleaning

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When seeing your ex's abandoned sweater plunges you into an emotional pit, it's time for a spring cleaning. (Shutterstock)
When seeing your ex's abandoned sweater plunges you into an emotional pit, it's time for a spring cleaning. (Shutterstock)

Breakups are messy -- especially when your ex leaves belongings behind.

If his sweaters, books, DVDs, gifts and love letters have cluttered your closet for weeks after the split, sending you into a downward spiral whenever you see them, perhaps some spring cleaning will help you recover, says Dr. Cheryl Fraser, psychologist and passion coach.

“It’s always important to get rid of your ex’s stuff because if you’ve got it hanging around, you’re still psychologically clinging onto the past," she says. "By getting rid of it, you create space for now, either for the relationship you’re currently in, or to get into another relationship without hanging onto what used to be.”

That's easier said that done, as sometimes we're tempted to cling to a former flame's stuff, notes Debra Macleod, marriage and divorce mediator, and relationship expert.

"Sometimes people will hang onto things as an excuse to bring that person back," she says.

Some exes don't make things easier, as they often leave belongings behind “either as an excuse to come back, or it’s some form of control,” Macleod warns.

But at some point, it's essential to say good riddance to bad rubbish -- both the stuff and the dysfunctional relationship. You can give the stuff back, sell it, donate it, trash it, shred it, burn it, turn it into something new, or hell, even make a voodoo doll out of it, like Macleod's sister.

“When she broke up with her ex, she ended up making a voodoo doll out of his shirts, so we would routinely stab that and that was a lot of fun. Be really creative, think outside the box,” she says, mentioning that you should consult property laws beforehand.

Vindictive? Mean-spirited? Dramatic? Maybe, but if it helps with moving on, and doesn't actually hurt anyone, do what you must. So grab some boxes or trash bags (maybe even some pins and needles?) and purge your ex from your home with these spring cleaning tips.

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