How to divide your stuff after a breakup or divorce and does it matter?

How to divide your stuff after a breakup or divorce and does it matter?

Moving Box

The last time I seriously considered breaking up with my boyfriend (now husband and partner of 15 years) was when we were moving from a spacious three story house to a cozy 2.5 bedroom house in San Francisco. Something about moving boxes and furniture, and debating about downsizing can bring up the worst in people. I have frequently assisted in moving and packing tasks on the assignment platform Task Rabbit, and it is no wonder that one of their prominent billboard advertisements says “Moving sucks…the life out of you” with a tagline to suggest hiring a Tasker from Task Rabbit.

So how do you properly move out of a shared home with a partner of many years? What is the fairest solution when it comes to dividing up furniture that one partner paid for, but the other partner will need more due to their lower income? If you are married and seeking a divorce, there are laws by state, but if you are unmarried, or not so litigious, things can be messier.

Before allowing what was once a relationship seeming so solid you decided to live together to devolve into a petty tit for tat argument consider the following questions:

Who needs valuable co-owned belongings?
Do you have to make decisions now?
What benefit will you get from effort spent selling, shipping and packing your furniture?
Who is best suited to help you with the moving process?

During our last move, we rotated having our friends and family help with the moving and cleaning process, and even with help it was grueling. We were low-income students at the time, but it might have helped keep us on our best behavior if we had instead spent a couple hundred dollars hiring a neutral third party.
While we attempted to slowly sell some of our excess furniture on Craigslist, time was of the essence and we eventually donated most of it. We could have used the extra cash from selling more of our furniture, but after waiting for people who didn’t show to look at our furniture, we gave up and got the job done.
I recently learned of a new service to assist in the process: Move Loot. Move Loot has a new model for smoothly buying and selling furniture. They pick up, store and photograph your furniture for no extra cost. They keep it in their warehouse for up to 60 days if it doesn’t sell. Proceeds from your sold furniture can be divided amongst two accounts. I asked them if they had an breakup stories, and they said they did and that breaking up couples had used the ability to divide proceeds into two accounts.

Remember that belongings are meant to enhance the quality of our lives not hinder them. Don’t fight a battle that isn’t worth winning by squabbling over how you paid more for the furniture just the way you pay for everything. This relationship is over so there won’t be a future of making purchases together unless you invest in rebuilding your broken relationship.

Some Resources For Resolving Splitting Your Belongings

City Share, Getaround (rent vans by the hour; might be comparable to Uhaul) moving sale (neighborhood website→ more geographically targeted than Craigslist) (hire people to move and pack up your belongings)

Local San Francisco Resources For Donating

Community Thrift (you may choose which charities will benefit from the proceeds of your belongings and when you make purchases your receipt lists where the proceeds went to; they have dozens of reputable, diverse organizations) (recycle textiles such as socks and torn t-shirts that have no resale value; serach by zipcode throughout the US)

Local San Francisco Resources for Discarding

Recology SF
-You get up to three free bulky item pickups for garbage that won’t fit in the trash

Paper Rush Company
-Bring your flattened cardboard here 7 days/week

1 Response

  1. Bonus tip: if you are having someone else help you move put different colored post it notes on each partners’ belongings, so that helpers know which items go in which person’s boxes.

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