Saving Mementos vs Starting Over After Divorce

When you and your spouse part ways, it is not uncommon to take all of your shared property and split it accordingly. One spouse will take the couch and the appliances, the other— the bedroom set and the rug, and so on. After you’ve divided your belongings, you’ll pack them up and take them to your new home. Sure, you’re closer to having a furnished home— but should you be saving mementos, or starting over when you’re trying to move on?

Starting Over vs Saving Mementos

Letting go can be therapeutic

Think about it— every time you walk into your new home, you’ll be reminded of your old one. The memories attached to a simple painting, or a bedroom set, are pretty visceral. And when you’re trying to move on and let go— these little things can set you back. Buying things for yourself, and replacing old memories, can be incredibly therapeutic. The thing you need right now is a fresh start for yourself. Choosing to purge these belongings, if you can help it financially, might be the way to go for letting go. 

If you can’t purge— paint

Take that coffee table, sand it down, and re-stain it. Take the dresser, and paint it a color you’ve always wanted to paint it. If you can’t afford to replace everything right now— make it new in a different way. Make it fun, make it yours. Finding small ways to attach new memories to these pieces can be helpful in moving on. The toughest part of moving on is detaching your emotions from those memories, so literally, and figuratively, paint over them with exciting and new ones. So, let your kids help! Make changes, and have a good time with it, make new memories.

On the other hand, those mementos might be beneficial to your kids

Your children are in a period of adjustment too. Everything they’ve known is being shaken up, and those familiar pieces might help them to feel comfortable during the time of change. So, even if you decide to make changes to yours— let them decide where they go from here with what they’ve got. Some children might find it fun to re-do everything, or paint what they have. Other children, might want these few things to remain the same. With either reaction, respect their choice.

Wanting to start over is a completely natural reaction

You’re starting over in an emotional sense. So, wanting to do the same in your life physically is a likely response. No one wants to look at a painting and remember the entire day they spent looking for it with their former spouse. Saving mementos saves the memories we associate them with. Maybe that’s helpful for you, and maybe it’s not. The key is doing what makes you most comfortable as you make changes in your life.

Finally, remember that there is no right way to do it. And there is no person who can tell you which route to take. Purge those things, keep them forever— do. what. you. need. to. do. to. heal. Make the best of this situation in whatever way you need to do so.