Purging for me was both freeing and terrifying. I was trained from very early days to never touch "her stuff". After she left and I was packing I could only do so much before I would start shaking and have to stop. And there was sooo much of it (you may recall the freezer stories) and that was only a minor portion.
She's been gone 2 years now and I only got rid of the (almost) last of the stuff last weekend. It did feel good to toss that moth-eaten green chair that she used to pile her clothes on into the landfill. But it took an effort. I still have a spare kitchen table that I'm trying to sell.
One side effect of this though is that I also purged a lot of my own stuff like kml mentions. I got rid of roughly 1/3 of the clothes I had and a bunch of stuff from the workshop and garden shed.
Other than what got boxed up for my ex, the bulk of it went to charity, some was set on the side of the street with a "free" sign on it. Theoretically I could have sorted / pre-purged stuff for her but I just couldn't bring myself to sort "her" stuff or make what I figured would be wrong decisions so it all got tossed into boxes. As I wrote to her, I packed things I didn't want around me in a life without her.
There were some laughs like when I found lovely embroidered pillow cases mixed in with a large pile of pickle dishes. D26 remarked "well isn't that where everyone keeps spare pillow cases?" And finding ancient paint brushes in the freezer was amusing too.
We tell people here to purge and make the home "their's" but for some of us even beyond saying goodbye to the memories, there's more to struggle through.
As I tell people, I didn't know I was living under a cloud until I walked in the sunshine.
I remarked to my lawyer that even to me it seemed odd. Me, a moderately successful professional. Nearly 6' tall. Outwardly confident. Her - 4'11" and dumpy - outwardly meek and overwhelmed. But she had power over me and I was terrified of her disapproval. My lawyer said that she'd seen this dynamic before although until my ex blew up during the last meeting about how she felt she wasn't getting enough respect I don't think she believed it.
SIL1 was visiting last week and she remarked that there are pretty much no feminine touches left in the house. It's not a "man-cave" - but to me - it feels like home 'cuz that's what it is.
On BD H52, W50 T27, M26 S21, D23 BD-9-Mar-16 D-15-Jan-18 Final-19-Apr-18 I am a storyteller. The story may do you no good. But a story is never for the listener. It is always for the one who tells