By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 23rd, 2021

If you were in a relationship, particularly a long term one, chances are you and your ex lived together or at least accumulated stuff together by staying at each other’s houses.

Now, what happens to all that stuff after your breakup?

You’ll probably want at least some of it back.

But there are definitely some dos and dont’s for that interaction.

Today, we’re going to talk about the correct way to get your stuff back from your ex and how to pivot that to improving your chances with your ex.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Here’s The Correct Way To Get Your Stuff Back From Your Ex

Navigating the conversation and meetup of getting your stuff back can be tricky and a lot of variables can come into play here so let’s break it down into specific circumstances:

What should you do if you’re in the middle of a no contact rule?

First things first, what exactly is the no contact rule?

The no contact rule is when you’re ignoring your ex for let’s say 30 days on purpose with the intent of making them miss you and also cultivating your personal life in the process.

What do you do if it’s day 15 of the no contact rule and your ex hits you up asking you to get your stuff or asking for some of their stuff?

Well, if they do that, then your hand is essentially forced and you are allowed to break the no contact rule for one specific meeting. While you don’t decide when or how that meeting happens, you should have a very specific goal for it which well get to in a bit.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin first – what if you wanna see your ex and you want your stuff back?

According to my years of experience, you should ONLY reach out to your ex to get items back that are very valuable or important to you.

I say this because reaching out to your ex to get something like a car title or family heirloom back is NOT the same as trying to get a toothbrush back. The toothbrush excuse is just that – an excuse to see your ex before you’re ready.

Here’s a rule of thumb – if you can get it at a convenience store, don’t ask for it back.

Prematurely ending a no contact rule almost never ends well and you’d have to start all over again so do not try to meet up unless it’s absolutely necessary.

What Should The Goal Of Exchanging Items With Your Ex Be? 

Let’s say you’re in one of the two situations – your ex forcing you to give their items back or when you need something really important – where you HAVE to meet your ex, how do you approach it?

What’s the overall goal for this exchange and how can we play this correctly?

The overall goal for such an exchange is to leave a lasting impression on your ex so he constantly thinks about you after the interaction.

This may seem straightforward but its really not, especially because such interactions can be pretty awkward at times.

To simplify this I’ve broken this goal down into three smaller goals;

  1. External
  2. Internal
  3. Philosophical

Let’s dive in.

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The External Goal

Your external goal is essentially something outside of yourself, disconnected with what you think of believe.

Think of this like the most superficial goal, and the manifestation of this in such an exchange is quite simple – look really really good.

I know it might sound shallow but looks DO matter. They don’t matter as much as you’d think but anything that gives you an air of confidence is a step in the right direction to being memorable.

The Internal Goal

The internal goal is the exact opposite of the external goal and is centered on what you’re thinking and what you’re going to be talking about.

This goal revolves around actually having something interesting to say to your ex so they get engaged in the conversation and remember you.

Generally, you have different types of conversations including small talk, sharing stories, sharing opinions, virgin ground, and sharing feelings.

Which of those work best for this item exchange?

You’re gonna want to focus on these three types of conversations: small talk, sharing stories, and sharing opinions. Out of these three, sharing stories can be the most impactful so I’d highly recommend having a super intriguing story ready to share with your ex.

Now when I say you should have a story ready I don’t mean having every single line planned out, I mean having a general idea of the story you want to tell. That way, you can organically weave the story into the conversation without sounding like a pre-rehearsed robot.

The best kind of story for this situation is one about how awesome your life has been without them. Bonus points if you’ve done a cool and exciting activity that they’d never expect from you.

The goal is to tell a story SO good, they can’t help but wonder and ask: What happens next?

I highly recommend going over your story a couple of times with a close friend so you have a generic idea of how you want to tell it to your ex.

Philosophical Goal

I think I’ve made my thoughts on “philosophical goals” pretty clear.

The philosophical goal is about what you believe and embody. This circles back to something I talk about all the time – having an Ungettable mindset.

Having an Ungettable mindset is essentially striving to be the very best version of yourself that you can be and living every day in the never-ending pursuit of perfection.

Most people allow their breakup to break them so they never realize their full potentials.

That’s why I always teach people to look at their breakups as a growing opportunity. It’s your chance to work on yourself and become that Ungettable woman who your ex (and everyone else) wants but can’t have.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Now you can do this in a lot of ways but the main thing to remember is show, don’t tell. A great way to approach this is to find ways to live your life in a secure way.

You must own your insecurities and show your ex that you accept and love yourself the way you are.

This idea comes from a conversation I had with an amazing psychologist named Antia Boyd. We were talking about how people should interact when they have insecurities and her main conclusion was to own and embrace your insecurities.

When you come to terms with the fact that you’re not perfect (just like everyone else!), you will have such a stark mindset change, and trust me, your ex will notice. Your breakup was probably shrouded in all your insecurities and that’s what your ex remembers so seeing you in this new light will make them realize that you’re a changed woman.

They’ll even think about your newfound confidence after the meeting and that’s exactly what you want – them thinking about you even after the interaction. Now that you have a goal for the interaction, let’s talk about how long the whole exchange should be.

How Long Should This Interaction Of Exchanging Items With Your Ex Be?

Well, generally speaking, I think it’s best to keep things short and sweet.

The shorter it is, the fewer chances of screwing up or having the conversation turn into a long drawn out lul of awkward silence.

In a perfect world, you’d meet your ex to exchange stuff, talk a little bit and plant the seeds of whatever he’s going to be thinking about later. That would lead him to text you and wonder what you’re up to.

But we don’t live in a perfect world and people almost always overstay their welcome in such situations. I mean, if you have all the conversation when you’re there, why would they think about you or want to talk to you again?

So the goal is to engage your ex in a great conversation and then end it on a high note, sort of like a cliff hanger at the end of the episode. That way your ex has something to think about.

You need to have a really good strong discipline and a really good strong gut feeling of knowing when to leave the conversation.

You’ve probably heard me talk about the “Zeigarnik effect” before but if not, here’s a quick refresher.

The Zeigarnik effect describes how people remember interrupted or incomplete tasks better than completed ones.

So essentially, you need to end a conversation before it hits its natural end to have the biggest impact possible on your ex. Otherwise, the conversation will fall into awkward long silences where neither party knows what to do or say.

As a general guideline, these interactions should only last between 30 to 45 minutes.
You should set this goal for yourself so you can get the full impact of the Zeigarnik effect while you meet your three external, internal, and philosophical goals.


While you should never unnecessarily put yourself in this situation, especially during the no contact rule, if you find yourself in one your goal should always be to say something that makes your ex think of you after the conversation has ended. This goal can be best achieved by looking good, having an engaging story to tell, and owning all your insecurities so your ex sees you as a confident new woman!

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20 thoughts on “How To Get Your Stuff Back From Your Ex”

  1. Jill

    October 31, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    What if after only a week he packed up all my stuff and was planning on putting it into storage. I found out and he arranged with me the next week to send it all in a van to my parents house.
    Weve been broken up 2 weeks and a few days and limited contact. Hes made no eye contact with me and no reach out.
    Are my chances gone? We have a job together soon.

    1. Coach Shaunna

      November 9, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      Hi Jill, read up the limited no contact so that you are sure that you are sticking to the rules correctly. It does not mean your chances are gone he is clearly just attempting to avoid any conflict with you and that goes for eye contact too. Stick with a 45 days LNC so that you have more time for him to process his own emotions before attempting to reconnect again.

  2. Caitlin

    September 18, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    Hi, my ex and I were living together, and I tried to do no contact but he reached out and I did respond (I had been confused and didn’t realize that no contact included not RESPONDING; I thought it only lasted until the dumper broke no contact). He moved out 43 days ago and we have had 12 conversations since then, 9 of which were initiated by him, including one phone call initiated by him, and the conversations had been increasing in length and frequency over the past two weeks. We have not hung out in person yet. Then, this past week (Wednesday), I received a big Amazon package for him to my address; the shipping date was over a month ago so it must have arrived late. I texted him to tell him I had a package for him (and a bunch of other mail too that had been gathering, including important mail from his employer) and he seemed weird and shorter in the conversation. He then texted me the next day (Thursday) about something completely unrelated, and we had a brief convo but the retrieval of his stuff never came up. I was at a vintage rummage sale on Saturday and found a set of rare sports photos of his favorite athlete for only $1/each, so I bought them, and later that day texted (with a picture of the photos and unopened package), “Was at a flea market today, saw these for only a dollar each, and couldn’t resist! 🙂 So maybe when I give (or send/bring/mail/etc) you your package and other mail, I’ll slip these in there too if I’m feeling generous ;)”. He did not respond for the rest of the night. He has NEVER not responded since the breakup, and I am panicking. I know the next step is to go into no contact (or at least not to reach out again until he contacts me, and to keep my responses short, sweet, and delayed), but I am freaking out. It seemed like things were going in the right direction. Did I ruin things?! Did I push him away?! Can I bounce back from this and get us back on the track that we were on by going no-contact/minimal response? I am so worried that I was on a good track for things to keep moving in the right direction and that I messed it up. Is this a major setback? How do I recover whatever my previous chances were before this blunder? Is it even possible to do so? Please help.

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      December 15, 2022 at 7:59 pm

      Hey Caitlin so as you did not do a correct NC my advice would be to use this as your excuse to start now. The fact your ex reached out so many times was him not coping with the break up and being away from you, possibly even easing his guilt that “she is still talking to me so it’s okay”. I would say that a 30 day NC needs to be done where you solely focus on yourself and that includes not replying to him if he reaches out to you, other than for mail / shared responsibilities.

  3. Claire

    September 1, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    After returning his stuff do I start no contact over from day 1 or continue where I was. I’m on day 18 by the way

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      September 2, 2022 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Claire, if you return his items and DO NOT speak about the break up, beg him back, discuss future etc then you can keep going with your NC from day 18. If you get emotional you must start again.

  4. Lifan

    December 17, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    What if she asks if you want your stuff back the. Ghosts after you text back yes?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      December 17, 2021 at 8:50 pm

      Hey Lifan, you can reply and agree to meet to exchange belongings, keep the meeting short and positive do not discuss the relationship or breakup. Look good and leave as soon as you can without it looking unnatural.

  5. V

    November 21, 2021 at 2:43 am

    I dated a guy for a couple of months before we broke up bout 2 weeks ago. We texted for a few days after but I eventually stopped and went into NC last week. However, I was over at his friend’s to catch up and bumped into him. He misunderstood the situation and got pissed off. I clarified the misunderstanding up (i think). However, we agreed to meet up this weekend to pick up my stuff from his over some drinks. I intend to go back into NC after this. Am I doing this wrong?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      January 16, 2022 at 9:25 pm

      Hey V, so collecting your belongings is fine, but the stopping for a drink is not part of NC if you do this then you would need to start again from day 1 of your NC after you have had drinks with him.

  6. Julia

    September 22, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Hi. My ex and I dated for 5 years and broken really suddenly right before moving in together. After 30 days no contact I tried to text him for the first time and was blocked (only on the phone not on social media). After 6 weeks I realized I needed things back and nothing was progressing and I didn’t want to start bothering him on socials, so our friend reached out to him and asked if I could get my stuff back. He said yes and unblocked me to send him a list and coordinate. We chose a day and he said the stuff would be dropped off and I did not have to get it which I thought was weird, but fine and I just thanked him. Then he told me his sister would be dropping off my things. This makes me uncomfortable and sad because I feel like once she drops the stuff off everything is officially over because it is pretty clear he is not ready to text or be around each other yet. I feel like I messed up by asking for the stuff in the first place even though I needed it.

  7. CE

    September 15, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Hi, I really don’t know what to do, my BF had a huge family problem in a trip that went all wrong for both of us, extremely stressed the relationship and a few weeks after the trip he says he needs some time, (2 weeks); 3 weeks passed and nothing, no messages at all even after I sent some asking how he was. One day I asked him for my stuff so to end up because this situation it was causing me a lot of anxiety. I went to pick up my stuff and he couldn’t even look at me in the eyes, just saying please “forgive me, forgive me” and well, he said he didn’t want to be with me anymore. He said that I still have some of his stuff in my house, but one week has passed and he hasn’t write or anything about that. I feel he really doesn’t want to see me again in his life, so it’s easier for him to lose his stuff that seeing me. I am doing the no contact rule. So… I was thinking just send him a message asking if he wants the stuff otherwise I need to move on…. What’s your advice ?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      December 27, 2021 at 8:35 pm

      Hey CE, so I would suggest that you keep with your NC for 30 days before you discuss exchanging belongings unless your ex asks before the 30 days are up. I would also suggest that in this time that you work on yourself, specifically reading the Ungettable Girl information.

  8. Chelsea

    September 6, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    I broke it off with my ex about 3 weeks ago and got to 14 days no contact when I realised I needed something important.

    He was happy to drop it off to me despite my place being a good 40 min round trip for him, and I was going to follow your advice and use the meeting to leave a lasting impression. However then said that he would rather drop it off during the day (when I’m at work) to avoid traffic.

    He dropped it off yesterday and even fixed it up for me. I said thanks and left it at that.
    Should I restart the full 30 days no contact now or just continue on for another 15 days??


    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 9, 2021 at 10:17 pm

      Hey Chelsea, no that doesn’t need you to re start- just be sure to stick with it for the rest of the time now and work on yourself.

  9. Eve

    February 19, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Me and my ex split about a month ago. We were together for three years and the break up was really sudden. We are currently in a period of no contact and when it is over I want to message to get my stuff.

    Whilst we have been on no contact I have noticed that his previous girl friend before me is back on the scene via social media. They split about a year before we got together and their break up was sudden as well. I’m really anxious about collecting my things and hearing what the situation is.

    Should I be worried about his previous girlfriend? Should I get my belongings at the end of no contact or before?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 19, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Eve, if you can do without those belongings during your No Contact period then wait a while. If they are essential to you then ask for them back but stick to the conversation just being about exchanging things and nothing else to do with your break up.

  10. Stephanie

    October 12, 2020 at 7:25 am

    Your site is very help full and I have a lot of questions needed to be answered.

  11. M

    October 5, 2020 at 9:20 am

    Hi, I pick up my things from my ex during 3rd week of no contact. It went really well, I looked good, i was smiling, joking, I think I was pretty confident 🙂 whereas my ex was pretty nervous. Later when I came back to my place I has massive breakdown, I really cried my eyes out (i guess its because of the stress) . And so I’m wondering, should I extend my NC to 5 weeks?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 22, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Hey M it sounds as if you handled it really well! I wouldn’t say that you need to extend if you did not speak about your relationship or the break up you can carry on as planned.