What to Do with Your Ex’s Stuff

photo via Tag-Art

As you clean out the garage one day, you come face to face with a large cardboard box.  Hastily written on the side in marker is “THEIR JUNK.”  You’re then faced with the ultimate dilemma: keep, return or throw into the river and watch it float out of your life for once and all.  What’s the right decision?  When the time comes to ask “What do I do with my ex’s belongings/presents they got me/things we shared?”, you may need guidance in dealing with this potentially mentally Sisyphean task.

To simplify this, there are 3 essential categories that each item can fit into.

To be thrown out and ne’er thought of again:

Any present that you never really thought was all that great to begin with.  This includes ill-fitting garments, tacky lingerie, imitation ______, and basically anything without a whole lot of thought attached to it (i.e. – things obviously purchased ten minutes before your birthday party).

Also in this garbage bound grouping are things that smell like your ex.  This may sound a bit weird, but our olfactory senses are more developed than we think, and holding on to an old shirt that bears your ex’s natural odor is a way of subconsciously not letting go of them.  This also obviously applies to any perfumes, lotions, deodorants or eau d’toilets that bring them to mind.

In general, when in doubt, toss it out.

To be saved (in a secure, but hidden place):

In a fit of anger it may actually seem cathartic to collect all of your ex’s things, throw them in a huge pile outside and toss a lit match on top.  Yet the reality is that, down the road when you’re not feeling quite so emotional, you may want to fondly reflect on the memories associated with some items.  That is, once you’ve fully moved on, it can be nice to recall aspects of your past relationship; sometimes even to just remember what you learned from the overall experience.  The items in question would include photographs, letters, cards and anything that bears a fond personalized expression of your ex.

A more obvious inclusion to this list is anything that is of significant monetary value.  Tales of people “throwing their wedding ring into the ocean” come up time and again, but let’s face it: this just isn’t smart.  You may not want to deal with it right after the fact, but eventually selling any post-relationship items that will help you out financially is the way to go.  Even if you really don’t need the money, you can always donate it to a charity and feel good about the fact that at least something positive came out of your uncoupling.

To be (sigh) returned to your ex:

If the relationship ended on especially bad terms this can be the most challenging one on this list.  Yet if you somehow ended up with your ex’s most cherished collection of CDs, their childhood ‘blankie,’ pet hamster “Squiggles” or anything that holds true emotional significance to them, you need to give it back (just mail it if you really don’t want to see their face again.)  Ultimately you will feel good about doing the right thing.

Of course, there is also the *slightly* selfish aspect to consider: by making the effort to give your ex back their beloved objects, you will put yourself in their good graces.  This could prove invaluable if you need a favor from them one day (watching the kids when it’s not their turn, a lift from the airport, coming over to catch a raccoon, etc.).

The one place where this gets a little hazy is the engagement ring.  Schools of thought on this topic are all across the board (while the law actually stipulates that once the ring is given, it falls under the “gift” category, and its ownership is transferred to the recipient.)  However, most people feel that, ethically, the person who broke things off shouldn’t get the ring.  The one circumstance that seems universally accepted though, is that if the ring is a family heirloom, it should be returned to the family.

Regardless of who does indeed end up with the engagement ring, it really never can be worn again without an acrimonious air hanging overhead.  The best thing to do with it is to sell it, and use the money to begin creating new memories.  Diamond Lighthouse has experts not just in diamond evaluation and sales, but in making the selling process as painless as possible.  Helping people to get the most money for their diamonds, in a sensitive and considerate way, is what they are all about.  Find out more here.


-Joe Leone 


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