Why Redecorating Post Breakup Will Help You Get Lucky at MTV GuyCode

“Redecorate” isn’t a word in most guys’ lexicons, mostly because “decorate” isn’t either. Aside from taping a couple Bob Marley posters to the walls, and maybe throwing bedsheets over the windows in lieu of curtains, we generally don’t care about home furnishings. Who needs bathmats when there are perfectly good dirty underwear on the floor?

When a girlfriend moves in, though, our apartments fill up with everything from end tables to étagères. (That’s a shelf unit that goes over your toilet, son.) It’s cool to have a bunch of nice stuff, but cohabitation presents an extra challenge if the relationship ends: You and your ex have to decide who keeps what.

That’s a nightmare for most, but it’s a career for lifestyle organization expert Amelia Meena, who helps newly single guys put their lives in order. We asked her for tips on dividing shared possessions and making your place presentable for new girls, who might not enjoy your natural habitat of hoarder-like squalor.


Short of sawing a couch in two, what’s the best way for a couple to split their stuff?
Large furniture items are tough. People will say, “We bought this together, we both paid for half — why should you get it?” But the couch isn’t worth what you paid for it new in the store. You paid $1,000, but it doesn’t make sense to write [your ex] a check for $500. If someone’s keeping the apartment, it’s a pain in the ass to move the couch or bed, so whoever stays should maybe take it.

The best way is to divvy up into categories. Does one person do most of the cooking? Then it makes sense for them to get the pots and pans and kitchenware, not “you take this pan and I’ll take this pan.” Half a set of dishes doesn’t do anyone any good.

What’s the first thing a guy should do, in terms of reorganizing, after a girl moves out?
The first thing I ask them to consider is whether their ex-girlfriend gave them anything that might be awkward to explain to a new girl, like a picture frame or apple-berry hand soap in the bathroom. Girls are very aware of that and will be like, “Where did you get this? That’s odd, why do you still have this? Why are you holding on to things from your ex-girlfriend?” Guys will keep it because, “Why not? It’s soap.” A new female in your life will see it differently.

Also, anything stained, ripped or smelly has gotta go, from clothes to towels to bed linens to pieces of furniture. All your clothes from high school should go, except for your favorite sweatshirt.

Isn’t the best part of being single that we can have all those stained, ripped, smelly things?
Some people are really proud of the money they’ve spent on items, and think it’d be financially wasteful to get rid of them, but the $200 jeans you bought 10 years ago aren’t worth that now, they’re not in style now, they’re whitewashed! We as a society are very aware of the concept of expiration — you have to get a haircut, or eventually throw out food — but we don’t translate that into physical materials like a chair you bought when you lived in a dorm.

You don’t have to hold on to something because you feel guilty about getting rid of it — but people do feel guilty, especially when it’s from family. I don’t judge, but I ask the hard questions: When’s the last time you used it? Are you keeping it because you love it, or you feel like you should? Things should be around because they inspire us and make us feel good about ourselves.

What kind of guy goes to a “lifestyle organization expert,” by the way?
A lot of single males between the ages of late 20s to early 40s. They’re men who are usually pretty savvy, anywhere from investment bankers to lawyers, but also a lot of social media and tech guys — they are all the type of men who make a decent amount of money…but they don’t necessarily have the domestic touch. Ultimately, it’s all about sex. They always come to me when they’re right out of a breakup or they just started dating someone.

Can you please elaborate on this “sex” of which you speak?
A female is going to be way more impressed if she walks into a male’s apartment and he has new linens and a matching dish set than if he has paper plates, plastic cups and sheets thrown together on a mattress with no box spring. These are things women pay attention to, and ultimately that is the main motivator for why men want to get organized — and do a lot of other stuff in life.

What advice do you have for guys in their early 20s without as much cash?
Some guys, coming out of school, get stuck in that transition between dorm room college living and adult living. Instead of cycling through seven crap towels, just get two good towels — quantity doesn’t equal quality. You can go to Bed Bath & Beyond, it doesn’t have to be Bloomingdale’s. . . . You don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy a basic dish set. Even IKEA has good stuff.


March 11, 2014
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