So, you are getting a divorce.
While you are moving forward with your life, first you must sort out the life you had with your spouse. This means taking stock before you move out of the home you shared with your spouse. There are so many hard emotional decisions to be made, most importantly helping your children process this loss. It is very hard to think with a level head in the midst of the storm. Depression and anger do not help people make rational and thoughtful decisions.
As a home organizer and Moving specialist, I have supported and assisted many of clients in the throes of divorce and loss. In general, when they reach out to me, they are in a state of paralysis as well as under a time-sensitive ticking clock to vacate the home they shared with their spouse.When you are overwhelmed, hiring an Organizational professional to help plan and map out your move may just be the support that you need. Here are a few guidelines to help you start the process:
Start with the easy stuff
The easy stuff is your possessions. That is to say, the things that belong to you as an individual, not a couple. These include the things you never use, or have been hidden from you under a mounting pile of stuff and no longer serve a purpose in your life. Wires, cables, VHS tapes, etc. Take this opportunity to downsize your things as a meditation to fill your life with the things that matter the most: Friends, creativity and yes silence. Starting with the "easy stuff," which is less emotionally charged, helps to create an energy and feeling of hope that you can get through this process. I am here to tell you that you can do this! When you are ready to tackle the harder things take a deep breath and always ask yourself am making this decision because of hurt or anger or am I centered and calm? Later on this.
Create an inventory of what was shared and purchased together
You will, of course, negotiate these items together or with the help of a mediator. But on your own, you can take an inventory. I recommend clients take photographs as well. You can use this inventory in multiple ways but most importantly from an organizing and moving viewpoint, you can use this list to take stock how much you need and can realistically maintain and display in your new space. Keep in mind that couples often are selling their homes and moving to a much smaller space. It may only be a transitional living space. You do not want to be drowning in stuff! You want a place to rest, recover and begin anew.
Divorce and children
You are now creating one and perhaps 2 new homes for your child. My best advice is to incorporate their objects that let them know some things will stay the same and make them feel safe. You may want new things and a blank canvas but your child needs familiarity. If your child is old enough make them a part of the decision process when it comes designing and decorating their new room. Most importantly set up their room first seeing photos and family. Playing with their favorite toys will give great comfort and reassurance during a stressful transition.
It is very important to take stock of and make copies of important documents. Deeds to a house, mortgage, wills, health insurance, Life insurance, investments, and banking. Take this as an opportunity to shred what you no longer need. Taxes and other paperwork may be outdated. Dealing with paperwork is anxiety-inducing for most of my clients but it is even more during a divorce especially if one spouse was more involved in the bill paying a paper organizational systems to start.
Your new home
Create a space that allows you to think, breath and re-create yourself. Rent a storage unit with an expiration date to cancel it when you are feeling grounded again. Being on your own again does not mean you are alone. You have a golden opportunity to re-invent and or re-discover parts of yourself that have been dormant because of time and raising children or that you were too afraid to express. Many of my clients are writers, artists, and musicians. When thinking about your new space, project the person you are into your new home and start a new project. It will help you get over the hurdle of being alone and apart from your children. Most importantly it will give you energy and hope during the healing process.