If there's anything more awkward after a breakup, especially if it wasn't an amicable one, is having to go back to their place to collect your stuff. Or them having to come over to remove their crap from your place. It doesn't have to be a pain, here are some tips for dealing with this sticky situation.

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Remember: no matter how ugly the break up was, keep your composure and be mature about it.
Wait for the rage to subside.
One of the biggest mistakes people make after a breakup is storming over to demand their stuff back as a way to either hurt or get back together with their ex Give yourself some time to chill out for awhile.

One exception to this rule is if you're already at the ex's house when the breakup happens. Just grab your most crucial items before you head out the door and don't look back. Try to be civil about it, and don't leave it looking like a tornado just went through the place.

But don't wait too long.
The cooling-off period does have a time limit, so don't draw it out for more than two weeks. Having a bunch of their stuff at either one's place can have a way of hanging over your head.

Decide what you actually need.
Ask yourself if you really need back the stuff at their place. Unless it's something sentimental like a family heirloom, it's best to just let it go along with your relationship.

Send a text.
Once you've determined that you need some of your stuff back (or your ex does), and enough time has passed that you're no longer going to murder one another, it's time to make contact. Stick to texting, since it's most conducive to quick and practical communication. Here's an example of what to type:

"Hey there, just realized I need to get my stuff from your place. If I send you a list in a little while, can you put everything in a box for me to pick up? I would appreciate it. Thanks and hope all's well."

Get in, get out.
Only you know your (former) relationship best, and you can probably gauge whether this is a breakup that calls for the box at the door, or whether an in-person meeting will be a nice gesture of good faith.

Once you're ready, stick to the plan and don't divert from your orginal goal. Just get your stuff and avoid any problematic live interaction (i.e., looking at his face longingly, fighting, break-up sex, make-up sex). If possible, arrange for them to leave the box outside his door for you to grab and go. If your ex happens to have a doorman, then get them to leave the box in the lobby.

Keep gifts, return heirlooms.
A general rule after a breakup is that you're under no obligation to return gifts your ex gave you. Of course, this all depends on the circumstances surrounding the breakup.

An exception to this rule would be the family heirloom - a grandparent's watch, a mother's ring, a family quilt, etc. It's fair to ask for it to be returned if you did the giving, and it's kind to return it if you were the recipient."

If your ex demands a gift back, take the high road.
If your ex demands a non-heirloom gift back from you, say something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way. That gift meant a lot to me, and I'd like to keep it as a memory of the good times. But if you feel really strongly, I'll be happy to return it to you." And if they still insist, pat yourself on the back for ditching that cheap/tacky asshole.

Find a good place for anything left over.
Even if everything's sorted out, you may have some remnants left behind that they might have left behind anyways.  Ultimately, your ex is gone now, so you need to decide what to do with all that stuff. The best thing to do is just put away everything you ex ever gave you in a box, so you're not staring at constant reminders of the past. Some women have a trunk filled with ex-boyfriend memorabilia. Others have ritual bonfires to exorcise their exes out of their lives. Some keep a few photos and souvenirs hidden away in a drawer. All of those are fine ways to deal with the spoils of a relationship as long as you're not stuck in the past. Remember, out of sight, out of mind!