Downsizing after Divorce: Ways to Simplify Your Life

Simplicity is on-trend these days. Minimalism means decluttering everything, from your living space to your headspace. From Marie Kondo organization to podcasts dedicated to a minimalist, downsized lifestyle, it’s all about ridding our lives of the “stuff” that weighs us down. 

Divorce can downsize your life in both negative and positive ways. It can trigger all sorts of physical and emotional baggage. Healing can be just as much about tossing the physical stuff as moving beyond the emotional stuff. 

You don’t have to do a complete home renovation or remodel now that you’re reevaluating and reshaping your life, but it can help to declutter your physical space. Less clutter equals more room for mental clarity, contentment, and a fresh perspective.

Why downsize after divorce?

You may have kept the family home, its rooms full of furnishings, mementos, and belongings that hold pleasant – and not-so-pleasant – memories. But does this space still make you feel at home? Does it still represent the person you want to be in your new life? 

Your life has changed. You have changed. And you deserve a fresh start on your own terms. You deserve to make life beautiful in every way you can, including your home.

Purging and downsizing post-divorce is like peeling away the many layers that no longer serve you. Downsizing is about moving on, and your surroundings should represent what makes you feel strong, comfortable, and at peace.

Evaluate your new needs

As a newly single person, your needs are not the same as that of a married person. What do you really need in your new life? What represents “old stuff” you no longer want to cling to?

Rid yourself of unwanted pieces

Maybe you had a large, ornate dining room table while married. Maybe you had a large modular seating area or a super sofa. These visuals represent then vs. now. Your new place may not have space for them, and anyway, it should reflect your new life, new dreams, and the positivity of your next chapter.

Donating or selling unwanted furniture or pieces that hold negative memories can be extremely freeing.  

What if you’re not quite ready to purge some of these things yet?

Don’t put pressure on yourself if you’re not ready to get rid of certain items. If you’re not prepared to make permanent decisions about old belongings just yet, consider renting a temporary storage space until you are. 

Allowing yourself time to get beyond the emotional attachment to your stuff – positive or negative – ensures that you don’t make rash decisions you might regret later. 

Buying or selling real estate amid your divorce? Check out our free home equity split calculator.

Downsize your living space

Your living space is for living, but now, it’s on your own terms. You may have argued with your ex over who got the living room furniture or certain pieces of home decor. But now, you may realize it wasn’t about the stuff at all. You’ve moved beyond the push and pull. Now, you  get to decide what to keep, what to purge, and how you want to live going forward.

Give yourself time to settle in, and then take inventory. That puffy recliner in the family room? If you hated it from day one, get rid of it now. The same goes for the stadium-sized TV that became the focal point of every Sunday afternoon. Maybe you thought it was too loud and too huge

Dump the stuff that cluttered your life for so long. Paint the walls a color that feels like home to you. Sell or donate the furniture. Use the proceeds to buy high-quality things that remind you of your strength and competence. Even better, find furnishings and home goods little by little that make your heart sing every time you see them.

Downsize your home office

If you work from home, you probably spend more time in your office than any other area of your home. Your office should represent the new you. 

Embrace multifunctional furniture to optimize your workspace. Use vertical spaces by investing in some under-desk storage and wall-mounted shelves. Transition to all digital records, and scan photos and important paperwork to the cloud so you don’t need those clumsy file cabinets or old photo albums that have collected dust.

Downsize your keepsakes

If you believe things have energy, you’ll want to be very discerning about what you keep from your marriage. Your ring? Your wedding dress? Wedding photos? Gifts from your ex? Unless you have good reasons to keep these things, ask yourself if they enhance your life going forward.

You might decide to sell the rings. Donate or sell the dress. After all, you don’t want to hang on to relics of the past that weigh you down. Instead, you can use the money to enhance your new life. 

Your keepsakes should not drag you down a rabbit hole of anger and hurt. Holding on to these things can keep you stuck, and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to create a future. 

Hire a professional

People attach meaning, memories, and importance to many of their worldly belongings. Ridding your life of emotional stuff can feel overwhelming. You know your old items can keep you stuck in the past, but pulling things out in an attempt to organize and purge can suck you down into an emotional abyss.

Maybe it’s time to hire a professional. Because they have no emotional attachment to your stuff, they can keep you on task, challenging your “need” to hold on to certain belongings. Seeing your items from another perspective can help you weed through the emotional turmoil and allow you to take a more detached approach to downsizing. 

Divorce creates a profound shift in anyone’s life. Downsizing, purging, and reorganizing after divorce can help you find a renewed sense of self and trust your inner strength. It can be downright cathartic. 

At Hello Divorce, we are here to support you, whether it’s with affordable online divorce plans and flat-rate legal and professional services or other resources that can help guide you on your post-divorce way. Let us help. Schedule a free phone call with our team of friendly account coordinators to learn more. 

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.