Downsizing After a Divorce – The Ultimate Guide
Divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can experience in their lifetime, even if you get a quick divorce online. Going through a divorce means adapting to a new lifestyle, and downsizing is usually a part that comes with this transition. But downsizing after a divorce doesn’t only apply to your home. It spreads to other areas of your life that have become too big after separating from your spouse.
It can all be quite overwhelming but don’t worry; we’re here to help by giving you advice on which areas to downsize and how.
Downsize your obligations and belongings
Going through a divorce gives you an excuse to declutter. Not only your material things but your emotions and obligations, too.
If you feel overexerted, and many of us do, it’s time to let go of some obligations. When you truly think about them, you’ll see that most of them are self-imposed. Divorce gives you a perfect opportunity to learn to say no and get rid of all those excess commitments.
Take your time and think about everything you are committing yourself to do. Do those obligations still serve you and your new lifestyle? Do they still fit? If your answer is no – release them. It’s time to reinforce your boundaries and stop putting additional weight on yourself.
One of the most useful parts of divorce is that it reveals who your true friends are. It’s always easy to be there for someone when everything is going well. If you feel that some of your friends make you feel lousy or anxious, it’s time to let them go.
Emotional cleansing through decluttering
When it comes to material stuff, they tend to accumulate over time. You probably have so many things in your closets and storage that you have completely forgotten about. The time you’re getting your life back on track is perfect for getting your things in order, too. Decluttering is a way of cleansing yourself, so you’re bound to feel much better once you do it.
The best way to start decluttering is to make three piles:
- Keep – As you will probably be downsizing your home, make sure to keep only the things you need. You might not have enough storage space. If there are still plenty of things you want to hold on to, think about renting a storage unit.
- Toss – There is no use in keeping things that are broken, stained, or no longer can’t be used.
- Give, donate, or sell – If you have things that are in good condition, but don’t need them anymore, don’t throw them away. A good idea is to make a yard sale and earn some money in the process.
If you are still going through the divorce process, before decluttering, consult with your attorney. There could be things you are legally still not allowed to sell or give away.
Downsize your living space
After filing for a divorce, your definition of home will massively change. Many people make a mistake and insist on keeping the family home after splitting up, not thinking about various financial and time-consuming commitments they will put on themselves. As this is one of the biggest changes you’ll experience during a divorce, this article will mostly talk about home downsizing.
Benefits of having a smaller home
To take care of a large home on your own, you need a large amount of energy and a big bank account. During and after this difficult process, you might lack both. On top of that, staying in your family home can evoke memories and affect your emotional state. Having all the above in mind, the most logical step is downsizing after a divorce.
A smaller home means a cheaper mortgage and lower utility bills. Given that you’ll rely on your income, you might not be able to afford your previous lifestyle, and if you continue living in the same house, you might even generate debt.
Taking care of a large home requires a lot of time and energy, too. Perhaps you and your ex-spouse used to share the chores. However, all the tasks will be left solely to you. You will have more empty space you will have to keep clean, repair, and pay bills for.
By downsizing your home, you will be able to experience a fresh start without having constant reminders around you. You can decorate and fix your new place according to your needs and preferences while saving money and time in the process.
MANAGING YOUR FINANCES POST-DIVORCE
Financial restructuring is a crucial step to consider when downsizing after a divorce. Many individuals are caught off-guard by the sudden change in their economic landscape. Couples often share responsibilities like mortgages, car
payments, and joint accounts. Once separated, understanding your new financial position is paramount. Start by setting up an individual bank account if you haven’t already. Creating a
budget that reflects your new income and expenses is essential. Avoid making any major purchases right away. Instead, give yourself a few months to stabilize and understand where you stand financially. This also means reconsidering
subscriptions, memberships, or any other commitments that might now be superfluous in your solo life.
What to do with excess stuff?
As you are used to living in a bigger space, lack of storage might be a big problem when you downsize. If you have a lot of excess stuff, renting a storage unit is a great solution to put away everything you don’t use often.
There could be things that you still want to hold on to as they have sentimental value, but you are still not ready to look at them every day. You can safely put them away in a storage unit and access them when you feel that you’re ready to.
REBUILDING YOUR IDENTITY
Divorce can sometimes feel like losing a part of yourself, especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time. Therefore, post-divorce is an opportunity
to rediscover who you are outside of the marriage. Downsizing isn’t only about letting go but also about welcoming new experiences, hobbies, and even
friendships. Join new clubs or groups, start a new hobby, or even take a solo trip. These experiences can be therapeutic and help redefine your identity outside of your
marital status. Embrace this chapter as a rebirth of sorts, a chance to reshape and rebuild.
Your kids and downsizing
When you have kids, downsizing can get slightly more difficult. You already went through the hardest part – telling your kids about the divorce. However, they now must prepare for another change, and they might need more time to adjust to it. It all depends on your kids’ age. If you have a baby or a toddler, the transition is that much easier. Things tend to get more complicated with older kids.
Regardless of if your kids are going to live with you or your ex-spouse, make sure that your new home has enough room for them. The key thing to think about is the location. Try to find a home relatively close to your old neighborhood so your kids can still see their old friends. You should also be mindful of closeness to their schools. By involving your kids in the decision, everything will be a whole lot easier for everyone.
If you don’t have kids, you might consider moving to an apartment or even renting a room until you financially recover from the divorce. This is a perfect time to focus on yourself and your needs. Leaving the place full of reminders of your old life can make you feel empowered and confident.
SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP
Navigating life after divorce can be complex. It’s crucial to remember that seeking professional help isn’t a sign of weakness but a step towards healing. Therapists
or counselors specializing in divorce can provide strategies to cope with the emotional rollercoaster and offer guidance on restructuring life post-separation. Furthermore, a financial advisor can be invaluable in helping you adjust to your
new economic reality. They can assist in setting up a budget, managing debts, and advising on investments tailored to your current situation.
Amidst the chaos of downsizing and decluttering, self-care can sometimes take a backseat. It’s essential to allocate time for yourself, ensuring that you’re mentally
and physically in a good place. Whether it’s reading a book, attending a yoga class, or simply taking a walk in the park, these small moments can be
grounding. Establishing a self-care routine is about pampering yourself and healing and finding peace amidst the storm. Surround yourself with positive affirmations and
take active steps to prioritize your well-being. Remember, the path to rediscovery starts with the self.
Divorce is never easy. Even if you are able to finalize everything quickly through divorce mediation, you still might feel fear, pain, sadness, and even anger. A good way to make yourself feel better and ease your way through this transition is to downsize many aspects of your life. You will feel much happier and ready to start a new chapter of your life.