After a breakup, it's the worst when you keep coming across items that remind you of your ex -- a sweatshirt mixed in with your laundry, a scrapbook in the drawer, or the toothbrush that's stashed in your bathroom. They may just be things, but getting rid of certain items is about as thrilling as a root canal, and having them around can sometimes feel the same way. I recently came across a box of items from an ex whom I dated when I was younger, then again years later. I apparently threw the box in the back of my closet and left it there after we broke up. There's not many options for what to do with your ex's stuff after a breakup, but what exactly is the best course of action to take?
Return the items
The most popular option is to return the items after a breakup -- boxes of items are exchanged and each person does inventory to see what's missing. Your ex may want certain items back, but will probably tell you to do what you want with the rest, especially the gifts. Even if you don't want to, consider returning the items anyway; throw them in a bag and put it on the porch or mail it if you have to. There are additional ways of dealing with any gifts or items your ex says to keep.
Burn the items
It's a gesture said to symbolize getting rid of the old and starting anew, and if it makes you feel better, go for it. However, I would recommend forgoing burning the items, writing your ex a letter filled with a lot of cursing, angry comments, and insults, then burning that instead. You get all of that negative energy out when you don't want to say it to the person directly and your ex won't ever have to see it. It'll likely make you feel much better than burning a pile of clothes that were left at your place.
Sell the items
One of my favorite options -- you get rid of the reminders and make some extra money in the process. I sold some of the items my ex gave me and used the money to get a couple of martinis and treat myself to a massage -- all very useful after dealing with stress. There's more than enough ways to make money off the items, including having a garage sale, selling them online, or selling them to a shop.
Donating the items is another of my favorite options; you create some good from an otherwise bad situation. My ex gave me his expensive jacket to use one night and told me to keep it since I liked it. After we broke up it was the first thing to go into the donation box. I figured I could sell it, but the organization would benefit from it more than I would. Depending on what you donate and where you donate it to, it may also count as a tax deduction.
Publicly detail ridding the items
Getting rid of the items is one thing, detailing the information where your ex and a bunch of other people see it is another. You probably already have Facebook, so if you want to take a dig or two at your ex, post about how you got rid of the items. It's not exactly the most rational decision, but there are quite a few people who have done it and said the satisfaction of aggravating the ex in that manner was cathartic. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it; I think it just makes an already bad situation even worse.
Keep certain items
So you may be wondering why you should keep gifts or anything of your ex's. I have a few items from three different ex's; I only kept some notes and cards. After each breakup, those items reminded me of how things once were. Rather than stay angry and upset for an extended period of time, they actually helped me heal more quickly by allowing me to focus on the good rather than get jaded because of the bad. Now, they're just positive reminders of what once was as well as reminders of why I should never look back. If you want to save anything, opt for only a few special items and get rid of the rest.
Regardless of what you do with your ex's things, don't do it when you're in a mood to throw the box over the person's head. Don't rush to burn the notes, sell off the necklace or dump the clothes in a dirty puddle. As difficult as it may be, hold off and wait until you can actually make a rational decision.
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