A Separation Spring Cleaning!
We all have stuff. Sometimes, this stuff is helpful―but sometimes it weighs us down. Sometimes, we even wonder who we are without it.
Stuff really comes to the forefront of our lives in a separation. Who does our stuff actually belong to? How do we divide mutually-owned possessions? And what do we keep from our old life when we are striking out to build a new one?
A separation is a good time for separating yourself from excess baggage. You have drawn a line in the sand and disconnected from your old life; now, you get to decide what is coming with you on your new journey. This is an appropriate time to let go of objects that no longer “fit” you, and lighten your load both physically and emotionally.
By tidying up and cleaning out your surroundings, you will create new space in your head, in your heart, and in the radiant future you’re inviting. More, it will create a connection between your busy mind and your true feelings.
Here are just a few reasons why a Spring Cleaning is a great idea (right now, and at any time of year):
It gives you a sense of structure, calm, and space. When you reorganize your stuff and get rid of what you no longer need, you create structure and space in your living environment.
It helps you get rid of emotional baggage. It’s hard to fully disconnect from your old life if you are still hanging on to all of your old stuff! The objects around you are probably associated with emotions and feelings. In dealing with these objects, you are also dealing with past emotions and events in your life.
Cleaning is an essential basis for a new start. Creating extra space and transparency (physically and emotionally) gives you the courage, clarity, and self-confidence to greet your new life with open arms.
When you’re ready to start cleaning and clearing, follow this formula to engage with the process in an efficient and directed way that will leave you feeling great!
Step 1: Prepare
Give back whatever belongs to your ex-partner within two weeks. This step alone will help you avoid a great deal of negativity. Remember to consider books, clothing, music, photographs, furniture, paintings, equipment, memorabilia, and administrative records, as well as objects obtained from your ex-partner’s parents, family, friends, or work. Be decisive: what is not yours must be returned. Objects you refuse to let go of (whether out of sentimentality, revenge, or as a bargaining chip in the legal negotiations) always carry negative energy.
Identify and evaluate every object that reminds you of your past relationship. Carefully inspect all the objects in your home that belong to you but are associated in your mind and heart with your broken relationship―in particular, those objects that immediately make you feel angry, sad, weak, or lonely. Store these out of sight for a few months, or ask friends and family to hold on to them for a while; you can choose whether to discard them in a few months’ time. In particular, don’t keep items that remind you of your ex-partner in your bedroom, living room, hallway, or study. These rooms should contain only objects that reflect your own energy, past and future.
Step 2: Sort
Keep objects that have positive emotional energy. If you feel happy, satisfied, or comforted when you see or hold an object, it’s a good idea to keep it.
Discard objects with negative emotional energy. Often, you don’t even realize that certain objects, including simple things that you feel attached to, can have a negative effect on you. If you see or hold an object and it brings back bad memories, elicits a sigh, places a claim on you, makes you feel guilty for any reason, or brings up a sense of unwanted obligation, you’ve found an object with a negative emotional charge.
Discard objects that you haven’t used in more than two years. If you haven’t used something in more than two years, it’s just taking up space―so why keep it? As they say, out with the old, and in with the new!
Step 3: The Cleanup
Cleaning up is something you should do in a well-planned fashion. Don’t be too ambitious. You don’t need to collect everything in one evening and put it out with the garbage. You don’t even need to finish the process in a week, or two, or three. Take small, well-considered steps according to a plan that is appropriate to your current schedule and energy level.
Before starting any cleaning project, make sure you have enough boxes, garbage bags, cleaning products, and storage space. That way, you can make fast and efficient progress. If possible, keep the windows open during the cleanup to allow fresh air and energy to circulate.
Next, divide your stuff into six different piles:
Donate to charity
Give to friends and family
Once you’ve divided your objects up, make concrete plans to sort and store items you’ll keep, and to discard, donate, or give away other objects within a week. Revisit your question marks in 7 days’ time, and make a firm choice at that point. Remember, doubts only drain your energy and willpower―so make a decision, and stick with it!
Step 4: Relax
After a hard day of cleaning and sorting, open some windows, light a candle or incense, take a long, hot shower, and eat a lovely dinner at home or with friends. Pick some wildflowers or buy a plant to brighten up your space. This will help you release any clinging energy and feel refreshed and light!
Choose a Star Action as a
Gift to Yourself Today!
The Star Actions are part of my Positive Separation Method and give you a positive boost in the direction of happiness. These are some fun Star Actions you can do around clearing up your stuff and giving yourself more breathing room! Learn more about Star Actions in this post.
Mini Spring Cleaning: Do this today or tomorrow, to get you in the mood for the big purge. Choose one shelf or one small cupboard in your house or at work. Get a wet and a dry cloth. Remove all items from the chosen area, and sort them according to the process above. Put back only the items that will be accompanying you into your new, happy future. When you’re done, sit for five minutes to appreciate your work and hold on to the feeling of accomplishment.
Make Your Bed Your Peaceful Place: I love this one; it’s perfect to do this weekend. Start with cleaning/decluttering under and next to your bed. Vacuum your bed, mattress, and throw pillows. Get out clean bedsheets (or, if your budget allows, buy new ones). If possible, change the position of your bed, or even choose another bedroom in the house to make your own. Finish off your bed makeover with a clean duvet, and a pretty new blanket (or even a big scarf) that adds a splash of color. With a new perspective and a clean, peaceful sleeping area, you are ready to start dreaming new dreams!
Create a ‘Love Me’ Altar: This is a great way to offer love to yourself! Walk through your house, gathering 5-10 of your favorite items (a happy photo of you, a candle, a stone or talisman, flowers, a piece of fruit, a favorite book, positive quotes, etc.). Clean a shelf or tabletop in your living room or kitchen and arrange the items in a loving way. When you need an extra boost of energy in the coming weeks, come and sit in front of your altar to feel great comfort!
Eveline Jurry is the creator of the Positive Separation Method™ and the author of three books, including ‘Happy Again! The Art of Positive Separation’. From her home base in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, she teaches people how to create a happy future during and after divorce or separation.