Breaking-up with your partner is never easy, especially if you shared a home. The one that moves out usually leaves a lot of stuff, leaving the other one with the questions like "How long do I need to keep my ex's stuff?" and "Can I throw my ex's stuff away?"

As the emotional cleansing isn't enough, you're probably wondering how to deal with the home clean-up. And you're right to wonder, as you can't just throw or give someone else's stuff away.

If you have a pending court divorce in the UK, you can't throw away your ex's stuff. You will probably have to pay up for that.

The only way to legally get rid of your ex's stuff is:

  1. Send a valid document to your ex in which you inform him/her you'll dispose of his/her belongings after a specific date. Usually, the given deadline is three months from the letter date.
  2. Keep the items until the date you stated in the notice.
  3. Get rid of the things and throw a party.
Getting rid of your ex's stuff
To be extra cautious make a list of all of the things that belong to your ex
Photo: Karolina Grabowska Pexels

This is the worst-case scenario. If you're lucky enough to have a civilized break-up, maybe there's something else you can do.

After break-up cleaning advice

Try to talk it out

One of the first things you can do is try to have a civil conversation with your ex about the matter. Discuss your plans about cleaning up your home and trying to convince them to take out their stuff by a certain time. Try to be reasonable by giving them a reasonable deadline to pick everything up.

No talking, no throwing

No matter how much you may want to clear out your home after a breakup or divorce, you must still respect your ex’s belongings. Thus, you should not throw out or give away any of his or her things without prior notification. If you are currently going through the court divorce process, then acting on impulse and without notifying your ex can cost you money.

Box in silence

Once you have notified your ex about your plans and next steps, you can then clear out his or her stuff and put them in boxes. In a way, you can think of this as a time to gradually get rid of the baggage and clutter, so you can be greeted with a clean space that can signal a new beginning for you.

How to get the boxes full of your ex’s stuff out of your sight?

If you're in a position you have to keep your ex's stuff, but you really can't stand to watch them, you only have a few options.

Make your ex collect them

Moving after a break up
The ideal case scenario is when your ex packs everything and goes away (and not so common) Photo: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

The quickest and most convenient way, on your part, will be to have your ex come over to pick up the boxes. However, this option may be more difficult if you are not in good terms or currently not speaking with each other.

Send the boxes over the post

If it is difficult to make arrangements for your ex to collect the boxes on his or her own, you can also send the boxes over the post. Postage costs in the United Kingdom will vary based on the courier you choose and your package's weight. Generally, costs can be as low as £2 to £3, but this price will likely apply for small items like books or stationery with a maximum weight of 1kg. Imagine the cost of sending all the things left behind! Also, your ex could refuse to take the parcels.

Place the boxes in storage

The last and the best option for getting rid of your ex's stuff is to put them in a storage unit. Storage businesses, one of the top industries today, deliver free boxes with a capacity of up to 25kg and will collect the boxes from your home once they are ready for pick-up. These boxes will then be stored in their facility, which is monitored 24/7 with security and alarm systems, so you can be sure that the items will stay safe.

Whenever your ex is ready to get his or her things back, you can book a return date with the storage business to have them delivered to their address. This option is highly flexible as you can also schedule the delivery one box at a time if your ex needs time to sort the things out, but you do not need to leave the boxes lying around at home.

And when you clean up, your life is getting a new beginning. Sounds easy, right?