A breakup coach on 5 things to toss ASAP after a split

Ditch these things fast to recover sooner.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The (once) love of your life is (now) out of your life – but that doesn't mean they don't linger. There's work to do if you want to make a clean break.

Indeed, with breakups come the inevitable purge of "things that remind you of your ex." And according to Natalia Juarez, a Toronto breakup coach, tossing the painful, physical reminders of your ex is the first step to the first step to mending a broken heart.

"It will accelerate your healing and recovery," said Juarez. "(You're) clearing out the old to make room for the new." Innocuous toiletries and pieces of clothing can stir up upsetting feelings for you, not to mention disturb your next romantic partner, she said. Imagine dating someone with old photos of their ex hanging on the walls. A definite non-starter.

However, you don't want to act rashly, only to regret throwing out items later. To avoid purger's remorse, Juarez recommends putting valuable or emotionally charged items into a box that you'll sort through at a later date.

Here are the five things Juarez recommends broken-hearted people toss, or toss into that box, after a breakup.


Immediately wash and change your sheets, said Juarez. During the first 48 hours after a breakup, you will be in "survival mode," and changing sheets will at least remove one layer of connection to your ex, she said. Then, when you've settled into your new life, buy a new set of sheets to mark the new, positive changes to come.


If you have jewelry gifted to you by your ex, it's probably now lost its lustre. You have two options: hide it away until you're ready to wear it again or sell it, said Juarez. If you're going the selling route, try Never Liked it Anyway, a buy-and-sell marketplace where people post items from soured relationships. Think of it as the land of misfit gifts from relationships past.


Take down old photos of your ex as soon as possible, said Juarez. Put them in the box to go through later when you're more emotionally stable – you may want to save some... or burn some. As for digital photos and those on social media, Juarez recommends removing the most intimate photos, or all photos if you think that's necessary, for you to move on.

Toiletries and food

Liberate your bathroom and your kitchen. If you dated for a while, chances are your ex kept a toothbrush at your place. Toss it, said Juarez, you don't need that reminder of your ex. As for food, toss or donate food they left behind, said Juarez. You're sure to feel a cathartic release dumping their favourite snacks in the trash!

Sex Toys

Toys you used with your former partner can stir up particularly painful feelings about the intimacy you once shared. "If you can, I say throw it out," said Juarez. "I know sex toys can be expensive but there's nothing more empowering than going out and buying yourself a really awesome… sexy new toy that's just for you."

Katrina Clarke is a Vancouver- and Toronto-based journalist who writes about relationships, health, technology and social trends. You can find her on Twitter at @KatrinaAClarke.