Starting over after a relationship ends can be rough. One way to start the painful healing process is to declutter and organize your space: out with the old, in with the new.


My client, Mr. Divorce, was holding on to the past. Every attempt he made to go forward was sabotaged because he had not dealt with “stuff” left behind.


He renovated his small kitchen, adding a washer and dryer, which used up valuable pantry storage and counter space. He relocated the laundry facilities for $25,000 because he couldn’t bear going to the basement to pass the mountains of old boxes filled with emotional clutter. (Learn from his mistakes — always declutter and organize your space before renovating or decorating.)


He procrastinated getting help for months. When he finally called me, Mr. Divorce said he would never have the courage to deal with those boxes on his own.

Our biggest challenge with him was to limit and downsize his mementos from 30 boxes to five. He was able to do this by sorting each of the boxes, redistributing viable items throughout the house.

Then, he had to determine the monetary and/or emotional attachment of each item — in other words, was that particular item worth storing? As always, we started in the room with the biggest mess. In his case it was the basement, followed by the garage, then the office. Keeping to the complete-one-room-at-a-time method will keep you focused. Keep the momentum high by always starting with an area that will give the biggest before-and-after impact.

Another tip for success in dealing with emotional clutter is to use the buddy system. Call over a nonjudgmental friend or hire an organizing coach to get you through it.

So now, Mr. Divorce’s space has been transformed from disastrous to divine. Moreover, this experience dramatically changed his demeanor, and he’s now a happy, confident man. And that’s just how the ladies like them.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Tuesday in Metro, in the home fashion section. For more tips and ideas, visit www.organizedzone.comor call 416-665-2165. Brenda has organized hundreds of homes and says, “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”