Divorce is a heartbreaking struggle, no matter how you slice it. No one gets married assuming they’re going to get divorced later. Whether you were together for a year or you shared the same living space for over 20 years, one of the hardest parts of going through a divorce is trying to figure out who you are as an individual after it’s over. That’s why it can be helpful to turn over a new leaf and reinvent your space after divorce.
If you were able to keep the home you shared with your former spouse, it can be a relief knowing you have a safe place to live. But, after you’ve signed your name on that dotted line and you come home to an empty house or apartment, it can start to feel overwhelming. It’s easy for memories to come flooding back.
Whether you want to get rid of those memories, or you want to reinvent yourself as well as your living space, altering your home is a healthy and productive way to get through the grieving process of a divorce. Your home should provide you comfort. Reinventing it in a way that reflects the next chapter in your journey will make it feel more like a safe haven, and less like the space you shared with your spouse. Furthermore, when you’re able to explore your own identity (one that isn’t attached to your ex), you can start to let go of the hurt, resentment, and even bitterness the divorce might have caused.
Here’s how to reinvent your space after divorce.
Cut the Clutter
If you’re staying in your marital home, one of the first things you can do to make it feel more like your own space is to get rid of the clutter and unnecessary things weighing you (and the home) down.
There’s a good chance your space will be filled with items that have some kind of sentimental value, especially if you have children. Decide which things you’re going to keep, and what purpose they deserve. Maybe you don’t have a particular attachment to something like a picture, an heirloom, or a gift from your spouse. But, would your children like to hold on to it? Would they appreciate it one day when they’re older? Don’t automatically throw things away because they bring up bad memories for you. Those memories might change one day, and you can look back on this process as a learning experience.
Don’t hold onto everything, though. Decluttering and reorganizing in an effective way can give you a completely different perspective on your space. If getting started seems overwhelming, keep these tips in mind:
- Start small
- Work on one room at a time
- Think about what you want each room to look like
- Think about the things you use the most
- Create an organizational system
When things feel clean and new after your divorce, you can start over with a blank slate. This will make it easier for the home you shared with your former spouse to feel more like a place you can call your own.
Paint, Decor, and More!
Once you have that clean slate to work with, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how to reflect your personality and style in your home. One of the best ways to make things look different right away is by painting.
If you’ve never painted before, it’s important to choose the right kind of paint for your walls, and make sure you have all the proper tools. There are certain colors that are more difficult to paint over than others. So, be sure to do your research when it comes to the color scheme you’re looking for. You don’t want your painting project to turn into something stressful. Keep in mind that certain colors can also bring out certain feelings. You can completely change the energy or feel of a room depending on its color. If you’re struggling to get through your divorce, avoid colors that will bring you down or make a room feel gloomy.
Once you have your rooms painted, it’s time to redecorate! This is the fun part because it really lets you bring your personality into your space.
Again, choose pieces of decor that make you happy or content, instead of pieces that will bring up bad memories. It’s okay to keep some things the way they were before, but introducing new pieces of wall decor or furniture can give your space a fresh look without having to change too much. If you really want to make your new space feel homier, try some of these quick tips:
- Introduce candles to your decor
- Go with natural finishes on furniture, rather than artificial colors
- Choose the right shutters
- Hang art that speaks to you
- Fill your home with fragrances that evoke positive feelings
Starting from Scratch
In some cases, you might find yourself having to purchase or rent a new home after a divorce. That can feel overwhelming at the time, but it also eliminates the need to “cover up” your old space and try to make it feel more like your own. A new home is truly a blank slate to work with and a great way to reinvent yourself.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re choosing the perfect new place. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is your budget. You’re working with one paycheck now, so create a budget for yourself that includes the purchase of a home/apartment, as well as living expenses, potential emergencies, etc. If you’re a single parent, you may be entitled to certain grants or other types of assistance to help you with the cost of living.
If you’re living on your own, you might also want to concern yourself with security. Whether you have kids or you’re alone, picking a home in a safe community will make you feel better in an otherwise overwhelming situation. On top of that, it’s a good idea to invest in security equipment like a camera. Nowadays, there are plenty of security cameras that can sync with your smartphone to let you know what’s going on while you’re away.
Reinventing your space after divorce is an important part of the healing process. Don’t let it overwhelm you if you feel like you’re starting from the ground up. Instead, embrace the opportunity to create a safe space of your own, and use it as the first step on the journey through the next chapter of your life.
Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.