Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Breakin’ Up Is Hard to Do

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom


Are you hanging on to old boyfriend /old  girlfriend / ex-wife / ex-husband clutter? Breakin’ up is hard to do, and breaking’ up with the ex’s stuff can be even harder.

Some of the things you may have that remind you of him or her:

  • fancy underclothes
  • photos
  • greeting cards and letters
  • jewelry
  • vacation souvenirs
  • music (what do they call mix-tapes in the days of CDs and iTunes?)
  • toiletries
  • food that he/she preferred
  • debt from outings or vacation that you took together or from his/her bad spending habits.
  • a phone or texting bill that went way over your minutes
  • a hobby you no longer enjoy

I once bought a card that said, “Your ex is like Thanksgiving leftovers. You’re better off when the turkey’s gone.” The same with the stuff that is physically or emotionally burdening you. When you encounter one of these emotional triggers, it may cause feelings of embarrassment, shame, longing or regret. Those are all emotions you don’t need in your life. As hard as it is, you need to tackle those things scattered throughout your home that cause disturbing feelings and firmly invite them to live somewhere else. If you have a whole box of items – or more than one box – that causes you to swerve away from it like a bag full of stink every time you get near, then throw the whole thing away without opening it, or get a friend to help you make your way through*. Negative emotional baggage is clutter that none of us need, and if it’s physically in your home as a reminder of true love gone wrong, it needs to go. The sooner, the better.

* “A bag full of stink” was my husband’s contribution to this post. I thought it exactly captured what I meant to say. Thanks Hon.

Today’s Declutter Item

I am finally getting to the bottom of the Snoopy clutter. I figured these are never going to sell on ebay and sent them packing to the thrift store. Goodbye McDonald’s toy clutter.

Snoopy Snoopy and more Snoopy

Something I Am Grateful For Today

This message that my daughter posted on facebook on the weekend. She is extremely gifted in writing lovely heartfelt messages. All true of course. 😉

Not a single woman in the world could ever hope to be as incredible as my beautiful mum! I could only hope to be half the woman she is. I love you mum! Happy birthday!!!

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. It’s not just their clutter, but if you have a journal or cards, it may not be best to have them passed on to your posterity.

  2. Well, that reminds me Spendwisemom, if you’ve taken an questionable photos or videos, you want them back in your possession and destroyed. That’s the sort of shenanigans that can really come back to haunt you, and who needs that?

  3. HAPPY (slightly belated) BIRTHDAY COLLEEN!
    And Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.

  4. Yeah, happy Birthday Colleen. Did I overlook it buried in my (de)clutter?

  5. Great post Cindy. I have a friend who has been divorced for about 16 years. She has never taken her Ex’s things out of the house even though he is remarried. She still pines for him. She even has their pictures on the wall. I think it’s almost a sickness.

    • Oh that is really sad Deb J. With that kind of baggage, there’s no way for her to move on either. If you’re good enough friends, maybe you could suggest holding their photos at your house, and she could try living without them. If she hates it, give ’em back without a fuss. Then maybe in another year she could try again. Oh, that is so sad.

      • Cindy, I know longer live in the same city with my friend. It is very sad because she is not moving on. When we lived in the same city I offerend to come over and help her get rid of it all or whatever she wanted. She said no. She said that as long as she didn’t deal with it she didn’t have to deal with their divorce and stuff. Just makes you really, really sad.

  6. Flylady says, “If you don’t love it, and it makes you SAD not happy, get rid of it.” I would add, ‘If it annoys you, dump it.’

  7. Happy Birthday, a bit late, Colleen! Hope you have a wonderful year ahead, and many more.

    Great post, Cindy. This must be especially hard after the breakup of a long marriage. Even the house and furniture would be a reminder of the ex. I suppose the extreme solution would be to sell it all and start over, but that’s not always possible. Maybe at least rearranging the furniture might help, maybe new paint in a few rooms? I am grateful I haven’t been in this position, but many folks are.

    • You’re right Jo. If you’re the one who continues living in the house, everything could be a reminder.

      After a divorce, my friend’s aunt moved out of the master bedroom and into another room for at least a year. In the meantime, my friend used it. There was a big ceremony (and fresh paint and new bedding) when she moved back in to HER bedroom. Eventually, though, she sold the house.

    • Thanks Jo.

    • Well I have some experience of this and it’s very hard – especially if there are kids, because they don’t always appreciate your need to start again with a “clean slate”. And it’s not always financially possible to get rid of everything and start again either. I got rid of a fair number of things that had bad memories attached to them, but some have had to stay for one reason or another.

      Now this may sound a bit “new age”, but the way forward for me has been to actually have a conversation out loud with the items (mostly furniture) and “forgive” them for their unfortunate association with my ex. After all it’s not their fault they got involved. Somehow this seems to “clear the air” around the item and I can go forward without thinking about the bad times when I see it.

      • My daughters, particularly the eldest, would not be pleased about getting rid a lot of items if my husband and I were divorced. I think if forgiving the furniture worked for you, good. It’s no different than my friend’s aunt moving out then later moving back into the master bedroom.

  8. Funny, Cindy, after 31 years (24 of them happily married), I finally tackled this one about a week ago. Handmade leatherware – too useful to get rid of, too encumbered with negativity to use (go figure), and unrecognised as such by my husband, so no discomfort there. Off they went to hospice shop, someone else can enjoy them without the extra baggage!

    And happy birthday belatedly, Colleen. I hope they made a fuss of you.

  9. I never understood hanging on to ex’s stuff. They are ex’s for a reason & it’s not because they were so gosh darn wonderful!
    Unless there are specific things that off-spring of that ex might need or want, I can’t imagine hanging on to anything of the ex’s.
    From what I can tell, this whole FaceBook epidemic hasn’t helped a lot a people in getting over their ex’s either.
    I’m very anti-FaceBook so I obviously don’t have a FB account, but I know of 2 different friends who reconnected with their ex’s for “old times sake” on FB & now both have stirred up a hornets nest with their current spouses/lives. 1 of those friends is probably not gonna be able to save her current marriage because of this. So sad.

  10. I love FB, but it can definitely be a danger zone. I am extremely restrictive about the people I “friend.” They have to be my TRUE friends, my relatives, or my immediate neighbors with whom I regularly talk.

  11. On a random tangent (as I do the ceremonial ‘give back’ at the end of a relationship, or donate. Letters etc are boxed away though…), I dropped in donations (rather than in a bin like usual) got a thankyou, then bought two fantastic items – a jug (on the needs list) and a lamp (also on the to buy list, but not a need!). And the lovely lady gave me a loyalty card, dropped the price on the lamp (she realised it was IKEA), and she wanted me to be happy with the price and come back. They had so much stuff, she was eager to sell me more! They took my number so they can tell me when more stuff I might like comes in – awesome!

    • Fantastic Snosie! Just make sure that you’re buying what you need and not just what’s on a great special.

  12. My mother insisted on keeping one of those HUGE birthday cards (the foot high ones) my ex-boyfriend gave me for my 21st birthday. We broke up not long afterwards, but she adored him and hung onto the card. It annoyed me no end for over 20 years, even though it wasn’t even in MY house! It gave me great pleasure to rip it up when I decluttered her house 🙂 What a waste of emotion for all that time. Grrr.

    • How fantastically annoying Loretta!

    • Wow that is harsh Loretta. My parents jokingly offered one guy, no even a boyfriend, $10,000 to marry me. I say jokingly but I am pretty sure they were forever disappointed that he didn’t take them up on the offer. Needless to say they didn’t give the $10,000 to my husband. 25 years later I still have him, I am nothing if not a rebel. Ha ha!