Surviving divorce: less finance, more fairy lights

divorceI met communications entrepreneur Sarah Rice years ago, just before she married the man she talks about here. I was sorry to hear about her pain, because she really is a very nice, kind, smart, funny, sincere woman. She’s also very strong, as she reveals in her blog about coping with divorce on a tight budget. There’s no hint of bitterness about her break-up – only positive thinking and determination to move forward. – JC 

By Sarah Rice*

New homes often come with new life-stages. So how does a recently divorced mother of two manage a move? With fairy lights, refugee styling, and the kindness of friends.

Moving house is never a joy. Moving house because of the break up of a marriage is even less so. On top of the emotional stuff (lots) and costs (many), there is the physical stuff (not as much as before.)

Dividing a home into two is startling. First I realised how much we had accumulated over the past 14 years, and then I realised how very little of it was nice. (I blame the kids. They are educated, clothed and happy, which means I have a pretty crappy dining room table.)

Sarah Rice blogs about moving home after divorce.

Moving with half the stuff meant there were glaring gaps in the furniture and kitchen department. So once I moved, I needed to figure how to cost-effectively fill my house with homey things like curtains, cupboards and coffee mugs.

The big challenge for me was that I wanted to feel grown up and in control – a capable, independent woman. My budget was a little more in line with the ‘just left home and my mom gave me this fridge’ phase of life.

There was only one thing for it. Enter Refugee Chic! I have embraced the words eclectic, boho and throw.

My theory is that nothing can’t be improved by tossing a piece of fabric over it and stringing up some fairy lights. And I mean nothing! If it’s got a mandala on in – even better. My house looks like a crazed mixture between ‘Canal Walk Christmas’ and ‘Monsoon Wedding.”

I have been gifted the most amazing bits of furniture, from an old couch to a new television that wasn’t needed. I have found cupboards on Gumtree and convinced my long-suffering sister to sew bright pink shwe-shwe fabric onto ‘value’ plain white curtains to add what I like to call a colour-accent, but what is in fact a panel to make the curtains fit the windows.

My new motto: there is nothing that a bit of paint can’t fix. It’s loud, colourful, and bright and has a kind of giddy tossed-salad quality to it. It’s definitely the home of a woman redefining her worldview.  But it’s mine, and that makes all the difference.

* In the process of making this home I have learnt some very important things.

* It doesn’t matter what table you sit around. It matters what conversations you have.

* Your friends don’t care what they sit on.

* Fairy lights really do make it better!

* Always call a professional to hang your curtain rails.

* Home is more than stuff. But make sure you have enough wine glasses.

* Sarah Rice is a technology communications specialist with over a decade’s worth of experience. She is with Batstone.

* This piece first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.

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