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Want a happy and healthy new start? It’s time to clear house.

They say breaking up is hard to do, but actually that’s the easy part: the really tough stuff comes later, when the dreaded divvying up sessions begin.

 

Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee, if you were together for a relatively short time or for years and no matter how bitter or sweet the terms of your break-up, there will always be baggage. And not in the metaphorical sense; we’re talking actual physical stuff that demands a new home – even if that’s in a landfill.

 

So where to begin? Well, after the dust has settled a little but not before things get too weird, it’s best to make like an accountant and start taking inventory: what’s yours, what’s his or hers, and what neither one of you should retain for any reason whatsoever.

 

If you’ve ever been through a split, you know what I’m talking about here. It’s different for everyone, but there are certain things that should not carry on after you’ve parted ways. Regrets, anger, doubts, questions – sure, it’s good to cast off all those philosophical things. But what really needs to go is the sentimental stuff that is going to inhibit healthy relationships with future partners.

 

Whether or not you want to believe that wizened doyenne of bad love matches, the inimitable Cher, there actually is life after love. So buck up, Sad Sack, and start chucking out the heartfelt love letters, the tacky tat from your first seaside trip together, the items of clothing permeated with meaning and some funky odour. If it’s not outright gross, it’s still going to spell doom when you go forth and hook up again. Keep one picture for posterity sake, but only if your hair looks really good in it.

 

Next it’s out with the old and in with the new. Don’t fight over who has rights to the Netflix or which one of you paid for the mattress, just wash your hands of them. You’re never going to watch those movies again and when all’s said and done, you will be grateful for a room full of stuff that’s yours and yours alone. Trust me. You’ve heard of a fresh start? What it looks like is some nice clean towels, a bedroom that’s not a stinky man-cave and a houseplant called Gary (unless your ex was called Gary, in which case you’ve dodged a lifetime of disappointment and ennui.)

 

Better yet, find a good home for anything valuable, chuck out the rest and take some time off. Go travelling. Have new experiences, untethered and unencumbered. Do things your ex would have hated, including having meaningless, hasty flings with unsuitable people. Unless those flings are with a friend or relative of your ex, in which case give it a wide berth. That is an experience not worth having, whether it’s new and especially if it’s not.

 

Clean house in the digital sense, too. Sappy, loved-up emails have no place in your new, carefree life. What are you going to do, sit there in the cold, blue light of your screen wishing it had all been different? Pah! Good riddance. The same goes for other content online, but especially for anything naughty. No matter how tempting, do not spring that video on the world. You are not Paris Hilton, a Kardashian or Rob Lowe. No good can come of that kind of full disclosure.

 

While we’re talking techie stuff, do you really want to stay connected with your ex on social media? Do you actually want them to see what you’re up to? I mean, actually? Because chances are, it’s pretty transparent and embarrassing and it’s no way to start afresh. Nor should you stalk them or maintain some kind of cheerful fallacy that you can stay friends just because you’re no longer sharing memory sticks and portals. Oh no. Clean break,  champ. Over and out.

 

So there you have it. No matter what the future holds, you have a promising new life ahead with Gary the potted palm and many experiences that will be exciting, rewarding and memorable. I just hope it doesn’t take too long to get that Cher song out of your head.