When I was going through my divorce, it seemed like there were endless moving parts, some intertwined, all confusing and overwhelming. I knew I needed help with the legal, financial, and mental health aspects of divorce, but what about my home, all the stuff we had accumulated over the years, the daunting task of building new routines with our kids, and how to easily schedule everything going forward?
Feeling that overwhelm inspired me to turn my professional organizing business into a divorce-focused endeavor, to help divorcing and divorced families deal with the division of belongings, rearranging living spaces, and calendaring the kids.
Staying Organized During & After Divorce
Just like the new year and spring, divorce is an opportune time to take inventory and get rid of remnants of the past. This makes room to fill our homes with things that represent where we are today. How we organize and decorate post-divorce creates a foundation for the lives we and our children are stepping into.
Wherever you are in your divorce process, these steps may help you feel more in control and confident about what comes next.
Step 1: Make a Plan
You may want to dive right into going through all that stuff in the basement you’ve been dying to get rid of for years. I hear you but hang on. First, make a list of the spaces in your home you need to comb through and assign time frames to each project…then double it. (It always takes longer than you think!) Overwhelm and fatigue can cause burnout. If you can do the sorting with your soon-to-be-ex, go for it. If not, designate separate times for each of you to go through stuff on your own. If you feel anxiety about even getting started, bring in a neutral third party to facilitate the dividing and keep you focused on the goal.
Step 2: Designate a Calm Oasis
The ups and downs of divorce require staying clear to navigate everything thrown at you. Your physical environment can do wonders for your emotional well-being and also your children! Designate one personal space and one family space where you can relax and keep calm to stay grounded and connected as a family. In those spaces, clear clutter off the floor and surfaces. Choose a few items that evoke feelings of happiness and calm – fresh flowers or candles, a favorite blanket, game, or book, as examples. By doing this, you are creating a warm, inviting retreat where you can relax regardless of what is happening in your life.
Step 3: Set Aside Time Daily to Communicate with Your Children
I was so anxious to tell my kids about the divorce. I remember my daughter’s first question, “where will we live?” – which made me feel even worse! In our well-intentioned efforts to protect our children from uncomfortable feelings, we can shield them too much. It is essential to keep lines of communication open and let kids know you are there to answer any questions about the imminent changes. Take time every day to be with your children with no distractions. Listen to their concerns and share plans that will affect them. When kids know what to expect, they feel less stressed and more secure. Speak to them about a new home if that is in your plan and ask for their input in decorating their own spaces.