When faced with a separation, breakup or divorce, deciding what to do with your stuff is the least of your concerns. Here are some short-term solutions to making your new space entirely your own.

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If you’ve recently been through a divorce or a separation, you might look around your home and feel like you only have half of what you need. Important items may go to your spouse, and you may not be sure you want to keep what you’re left with. It takes some time to rebuild your home after a separation or a divorce, but the following solutions should help, especially if you have a limited budget.

Tackle the Bedroom

“The most fun I had after my divorce was turning our bedroom into MY bedroom,” writes Cathy Meyer, founding editor of DivorcedMoms.com. “Getting rid of any evidence of him in the most personal space you shared together can be your first step toward ridding yourself of him emotionally, altogether and for good.”

You don’t have to break the bank to give your bedroom a post-divorce makeover. Start with new bedding that reflects your personality. Choose a paint color that complements the bedding you’ve chosen and will make the room feel new again. Finally, decorate it the way you want. Changing a lampshade or adding a new piece of art, both of which can be found second-hand, can really change the dynamic of the room.

Throw Out and Replace

Remove photos of you and your ex, and sift through the items you received as wedding gifts. If they have painful memories attached to them, get them out of the house. If you’re not ready to toss these items just yet, put them in a box and put them in a storage unit so you don’t have the constant reminder of your failed marriage. “After I finally got around to making those changes, I realized I should have made them a lot sooner,” offers Jennifer Cullen in her piece “10 Things to Replace After Your Divorce.” “Because they stopped me from looking around the house and seeing memories of my failed marriage. Instead, I looked around and was able to see my bright future.”

When those items are removed from the home, go from room to room and take a quick inventory. If your ex-wife took the pots and pans, you’ll need a new set. If you need furniture in your home, browse websites and ask friends if they have used sets for sale. Determine what items are missing and what your budget is, then make a plan to replace what you need. It doesn’t all have to be done at once.

Make It Your Own

After his divorce, Gordon Baxter went through the house he shares with his kids and added his own decorative touch. “Baxter picked out new artwork and framed some of his son’s paintings, which now have a place of honor on the walls. And Baxter also brought many of his mementos out of storage and put them on display, including his mother’s antique sewing table, old family photos, his childhood piggy bank and a huge mounted trout, caught by his father,” explains Kim Palmer, writer for The Seattle Times. “For me, it’s nice to have that reconnection with my life prior,” Baxter says.

Whether it’s pulling old mementos out of storage or adding floral curtains and a pink chair to the living room, every change that helps make your living space your own is a good one. Even a change like swapping light fixtures can make a big impact. “Don’t forget that small changes can make a dramatic difference to the way you feel,” writes Gregory Allan Cramer in First Wives World. “Everyone has a different idea about interior design. My own belief has always been to make my clients feel comfortable and at home in their own space, regardless of the size or the budget.” 

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