03/07/2013 12:38 pm ET Updated May 07, 2013

7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Toxic Mating Habits


According to every single woman's magazine on newsstands today, it's spring cleaning time. If I see another article on de-cluttering, I'm gonna go crazy. I won't deny, however, that the hints of fresh spring breezes wafting through my window does invite some kind of a REFRESH. My mess of a closet, for one thing -- and with that wardrobe change comes the inevitable metaphor of tidying up the wintry wreckage of worn-out mating habits. Below are seven essential tips for spring cleaning:

Tip #1. Check those Expiration Labels
You've been talking about moving in together for six months and it's still a no-go? Going on 11 months and you still haven't heard the "L" word? Has anyone actually DTR'd (Defined the Relationship, darling, keep up)? Seven years -- you've been ready for the ring for a while now, and he's still not going for it? Check the expiration dates, dolls, 'cause I think you know his time is up. TOSS HIM!

Tip #2. Audit that Closet
The key to closet organization is assessing what you have and throwing out all the shit you don't use. Same here, sisters! Are you holding on to a lover you really don't like or give a damn about because they're... familiar? What about your phone? Are your contacts filled with your dusty past? How many of those have you not bothered texting, emailing or phoning (enthusiastically) in months? Ladies, it's like a ratty old pair of slippers... DUMP THEM... and make some room for the new.

Tip #3. Clean out the Psychic Fridge
Now, this can be a daunting undertaking. Let's take it step by step, shall we?

A. Wipe up spills immediately so your surface won't become stained. Try to go with the flow more and not take everything so... personally. You gotta leave your ego at the door with adventures like Internet dating or it'll kill you. Lighten up!

B. Throw out old food: Chuck the blames and recriminations from the last relationship. That old story is weighing you down and dulling the prospects of a new, rich love life, and it's stinking up your psychic fridge, girl!

C. Wash the interior: This is the toughest one, but it has to be done. Use a toothbrush to scrub the nooks and crannies of your psyche. Consider meditation or yoga. How 'bout stretching yourself -- spiritually, mentally, creatively? Cleanse yourself. Use a squeegee.

Tip #4. Replace Batteries
You need to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months, so why not your vibrators, chicas? As Martha says, "use the day you set your clocks back as a reminder." Excellent advice!

Tip #5. Restock Inventory Supplies
Stock up on lovers -- don't go without. It's one thing if you have a REAL romance going on, but if you're newly out there and just met somebody "special" on OK Stupid... well, take some time to be on your own and explore. Have NO agenda. Relax. Enjoy meeting new folks. Keep your options open... and your pantry packed.

Tip #6. Tame, Name and Reclaim
This one's right out of Martha. It helped me greatly to create a file after my big breakup that was called "The (asshole's name here) Calamity." Within this file were all his letters, pictures and promises. There was something so "rank and file" about the process of tucking it away neatly that, in time, it very much helped me reclaim ME. Do it. I refused to call this section "De-clutter." Tame, Name and Reclaim 'cause it's all about taming the anger, naming the fear and reclaiming YOU. Now, Martha probably has a nice calamity box with her accountant's name on it, but that's another story for another day.

Tip #7. Rethink Your Underwear Drawer
Think of your panty drawer as a bouquet of flowers. Screw the dust bunnies, you gotta have the fresh flowers to feel springlike. Audit the unmatched, banish the beloved tattered thongs and the lifeless bras and keep only the hot stuff that make you feel like a Victoria's Secret model. And girl, dump your ex's boxers. That's an order. There is not enough Tide in the universe to get that stink out of his shorts. To the bin!

OK, now you've got a tidy mind. Hire someone else to clean your actual home. You've done a lot of work here, lady. Time to smile and put your feet up with a glass of prosecco, pronto!

Maryjane Fahey is the coauthor with Caryn Beth Rosenthal of DUMPED, a breakup bible for women to get off their asses and over their exes in record time. AVAILABLE NOW. Find, tweet, facebook, whatever them... they're very friendly.