Preparing to Divorce? Here’s Why Organizing your Home and Planning the Move is Essential.

If you are divorcing in San Diego, getting your house in order is essential for your mental health and a wise decision financially.  Here are some tips  to organize your home and divide belongings saving your sanity and time.
Amidst the 2020 election results and the generally “icky” feeling I’d been having, I hired my own company, Silver Linings Transitions, to organize my pantry.  It had become a bit unruly during the pandemic, and my life just felt out of balance.  As someone with ADHD, I am unable to look at my space the same way someone who is “organized” can envision it, so for me, outsourcing made perfect sense.

Having an organized pantry inspired me to begin organizing the rest of my home.  If you’ve ever lived in a disorderly home, or walked into a space consumed with clutter, you’ve likely been overwhelmed with that anxious feeling that a mess can bring. I know first-hand what a difference my company can make for people.

For many of the divorcing clients we work with here in San Diego, their homes have become the physical manifestation of a marriage that is unraveling.  They have likely been walking on eggshells for some time, feeling depressed and anxious about their current situation so it’s very common to let go of their health, and their homes.

If you are unhappily married, or are still living in the marital home with your estranged spouse, taking steps to control and organize your environment will make a HUGE difference in your health, and your outlook for the future.  There are plenty of articles to be found supporting this idea, including this one from WebMD.

If you plan to put your home on the market, staging is important
Neutralizing your current space is an important consideration when selling your home. You don’t want buyers to take advantage of your circumstances, and you don’t want your home perceived as a stigmatized house. Staging your home to reflect a life that someone would aspire to have is the best way to set yourself up for success.  For example here in San Diego where outdoor living is a benefit, accentuate your outdoor space setting a table and allowing buyers to picture themselves entertaining.

If one party has already moved out, it’s important to stage “his and hers”.  Leaving or gathering enough items to look like both parties live there happily will prolong the “fantasy” for potential buyers. Remember, real estate is all about “marketing”.

If you are selling a home and want FREE move services, we partner with Realtor, Bryan Devore, who is certified in Real Estate Divorce and specially trained to work with divorcing couples. 

Decide on a family historian
Depending on the age of your children, you’ll need to decide who will keep the sentimental items like artwork, favorite childhood toys and momentos, and photo albums.  If your children are adults, it would be appropriate to pass along these items to them now.  Many keepsakes like artwork can be photographed so both parents can keep a copy.

When my daughter was getting ready to leave for college, I asked her to go through her room and pare her favorite keepsakes to a large storage bin which could easily be kept for her until she settles into her own space.

Separating belongings when there are younger children
Consider allowing your children to select the toys they’d like to keep in both homes.  It’s important to guide them and encourage them to consider having a balance of favorites in both homes.

I’ve had success with divorcing couples flipping a coin, leaving one bedroom intact for each parent, and each child getting one new room.  Personally, when I left the marital home, I left my children’s rooms as they were, and my ex helped pay for the furnishings in my new place.

Dividing Belongings
We consider this a four-step process from start to finish, centered around the goal of making this as easy as possible – remember you aren’t really fighting about the “stuff”.

1. Sticker only the belongings you really want. 
If both parties claim an item in the house, flip a coin and decide who goes first.  You can then take turns picking items. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, consider hiring a third party who specializes in successfully dividing belongings—like Silver Linings Transitions.  Our services are more affordable than mediation, and as a neutral third party, we can help make decisions quicker with minimizing disputes.

2. Order packing supplies:
In San Diego, Uhaul is a great place to pick up boxes and packing supplies.  I recommend ordering in bundles to save money.  You can always return boxes.  It’s also important to use stickers or some other way to delineate “spouse A” and “spouse B”.

3. Start purging items that will end up in the trash
Purging can seem overwhelming for many people. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time and patience to complete this task. Start with the trusted method of dividing into three: trash, keep, donate. We recommend completing this process in small bite-size pieces. Set your timer for 10 minute increments and have lots of trash bags on-hand. Reward yourself after 10 minutes. Don’t push yourself to do more in a day than you can realistically handle—you don’t want to burn out and lose motivation only halfway in.

Start with your bathrooms and then move on to the kitchen.

As you make your way throughout the house room-by-room, purge the easy things first. You can immediately throw out anything that has expired. Be sure to plan around your trash pick up days so that your bins are not overflowing.

4. Organize your donations.
If your item still has some life left in it, we highly recommend reducing and recycling. On our website you can find a host of charities who will pick up your donations hassle-free.

We know the process of divorce can be daunting—organizing, selling and moving shouldn’t have to be. If you’ve made the decision to divorce you are facing multiple stressors simultaneously.  When it comes to selling your house and moving to new homes, Silver Lining Transitions and the Devore Realty Group can help you organize and move on with ease. Give us a call at (760) 522-1624 or send an email to info@silverliningstranstions.com  and start eliminating your house stress today.