AHWATUKEE, Ariz.- A woman used her sense of humor and the power of Facebook to put a positive spin on what could have been a traumatic experience.
After 17 years of marriage, Paula Fosbinder sifted through memory after memory, preparing to empty the house her husband and two sons once lived in.
Fosbinder and her husband were divorced May of last year. Her ex-husband continued to live in the house for another year and planned on selling it. Fosbinder said her ex only took the items he wanted when he moved out last month and left everything else for her.
"'Gee thanks!' I thought," Fosbinder said.
After looking at all the items left in the house, Fosbinder decided to have an estate sale.
Woman has divorce estate sale: 'Starting over doesn't have to be depressing'
“I’m always LOL-ing,” Fosbinder said. “Always!” She said it was her sense of humor, along with her friends, that made the estate sale possible.
While sorting through items, Fosbinder asked who she calls her “go-to girls” for help. Together, they had the idea to take photos of Fosbinder in her wedding dress and post them to Facebook to promote the sale.
Cue the hundreds Facebook reactions.
Fosbinder said the most important thing to her was seeing that her post helped changed people’s perspective on divorce. She said she sees her divorce as an opportunity to start a new chapter in her life.
“Starting over doesn’t have to be depressing,” Fosbinder said.
As for the Facebook responses? Fosbinder said she had no idea her post would generate so many reactions.
“I drew strength from [the comments] more than anything,” Fosbinder said.
A comment from a divorce attorney struck Fosbinder’s attention, she said. The attorney commented that it was refreshing to such an outcome following a divorce.
Fosbinder said the divorce was amicable and that her ex thought the Facebook post and the sale were funny. She said she hopes when her children look back at the divorce years from now, they can say their parents did it with dignity.
Fosbinder said she is happy to help other women organize a divorce estate sale too. She said her go-to girls were instrumental during this process and she’d love to be someone else’s go-to girl in return.
“I can’t imagine going through this alone,” she said. “I think I would have just walked away, shut the door and left everything.”
The estate sale served more purpose than just a way for Fosbinder to get rid of stuff. Some of the proceeds were donated to a girl in the neighborhood who recently suffered from a brain aneurysm.
Lastly, to answer one of your burning questions: No, she did not sell the wedding dress.
Instead, Fosbinder will be donating the dress to Angel Gowns, an organization that repurposes wedding dresses and makes them into gowns for babies who die in the intensive care nursery.