When my husband moved out of our house, days after our separation, I wanted anything and everything that reminded me of him GONE. I didn’t want to sleep in our bed. I didn’t want to have to deal with his ‘stuff’ any more than I wanted to deal with him. I didn’t want to look at the empty space on the wall where the TV and couch he took used to be. I knew that I needed to change some things in my home to make it feel like my space, since he no longer lived there. I also knew that I couldn’t do too much, since we were only at the beginning of the divorce process and I wasn’t sure I would be staying there long-term. I didn’t want to make huge changes, spend lots of money, and then have to sell and move out.
So, I concentrated on small, inexpensive, but substantial changes that would make me feel good. One of my big expenses was to replace furniture he took, so that my kids didn’t have to see empty spaces everywhere in our home. But the rest were relatively inexpensive things I could do myself. My goal: to make the space surrounding me to be fun, calm, peaceful, and MINE.
If you are now living alone [and with your kids] in your marital home, the energy there can be draining. The divorce process is draining enough without all that old, negative energy lurking around every corner. Changing up your home by doing small things can do wonders for how you feel when you are there.
Here are some things I did that worked for me:
- Change your bedroom. Buy yourself a new set of sheets and duvet that have never touched your ex’s body. Buy extra throw pillows. In pink [haha]. Get the stuff that you love but you never got because you knew your ex would never have gone along with it. I bought a new mattress and bed frame and do not regret it one bit. The feeling of that most intimate space being all yours is amazing and will do wonders for your quality of sleep, which you need right now!
- Paint. Paint is inexpensive and can completely transform a space. No need to redo your whole house [unless you want to!]–your bedroom or bathroom, or office space can serve as a refresh. Personally, I painted my bedroom the colors I always wanted it to be, that my then-husband said he didn’t want. There’s a lot of freedom in making your space your own, without having to consult with anyone else about what you want. Enjoy that.
- Rearrange furniture. Don’t want to spend money on new stuff and paint? Fine! How about moving your furniture around in a way you never had it when your ex lived there? Put the bed in a different spot, or the couch on an opposite wall. The possibilities are endless and it’s an easy way to change up the energy of the space.
- Fix things. Are there things around your house that were on the ‘honey-do’ list that never got done? Well, sister, do them now. Yourself. When the garage door opener keypad on the outside of my garage stopped working, and I mentioned to my ex that I was going to replace it, he laughed at me and told me I couldn’t. He said it was hard-wired and I would never be able to do that by myself. So guess what? It wasn’t hard-wired. And I did it. By myself. After that, I felt so powerful! There’s an amazing feeling that comes with fixing something yourself that you always relied on someone else to do. Find those little things and get ‘em done.
- Change area rugs. If you have area rugs in your home, you can change the look and feel of a room by simply changing the area rugs. There are online stores that sell home furnishings at a discount that make this an affordable option. Choose a style that YOU like, that you either didn’t or wouldn’t choose because your ex didn’t like it. It’s all about you now.
- Change your wall decor. I did a lot of this when my ex moved out. Partially, because I had painted a couple rooms and I had to take existing things down in order to paint, but I also rearranged things in other rooms too. Move artwork around to a different place in your house. Get some prints of you and your kids done, put them in inexpensive frames and hang those. Find inspirational quotes and hang those where you see them every day. I have two huge posters framed over my headboard. One says ‘Sweet’ and the other, ‘Dreams’. Manifesting, baby.
- Do a deep clean. Really get in there and get ALL the cobwebs and junk out. Mop the floors, vacuum under the bed, clean out your closet. Remove all the things that belonged to or were considered your ex’s, but keep them somewhere tucked away rather than throwing them out. Divorce is messy enough without getting in trouble for throwing away your ex’s things. Then, arrange your closet as you like. Add things YOU love to your space. Create a calm, inviting space for yourself and your kids that feels like your own.
Divorce is hard. Living in a place with reminders of your ex all over the space where you live makes it even harder. Changing it up can be a fun, practical way to make your home feel like yours. There’s no need to do it all at once, either. Focus on the places in your house that are most meaningful for you to change. Choose a room or an area of your home, get it changed up, and enjoy it. Continue making changes until you feel more comfortable at home. Your home.
Check out my guide on 7 Ways to Rebuild Your Confidence During Divorce, with real, practical tips on how to start taking control of your story and create the life you have been dreaming about!