There are many reasons to pass on wardrobe items. They can wear out, stretch out, shrink, discolour, develop holes and tears, become uncomfortable over time, itch over time, malfunction in an unexpected way that is annoying, become a bad fit due to weight loss or gain, or perhaps they were simply a purchasing mistake to begin with.

We can also be done with a wardrobe item when our style preferences, climates, and lifestyles change. A change in hair colour can cause us to pass on items that are no longer flattering with our complexion. And sometimes, items become associated with unpleasant events or moments in our lives and we’d rather not keep them.

I see a wide range of emotions when I help clients edit and streamline their wardrobes. Everything from guilt, reluctance, annoyance, disappointment, and some sadness, right through to ease, enthusiasm, happiness, and relief. That said, there is almost always a feeling of contentment and satisfaction when the edit is complete, storage places are tidy and organized, and a shopping and outfit creation plan is in hand. This tends to offset the negative emotions some clients feel during the editing process.

I am understanding when clients are reluctant and sad to let items go. I never force the issue, and we chat about the emotions they are feeling. I try to find a win-win solution. We begin by creating a holding zone so that items that should go are out of sight, but nearby and can therefore be retrieved at any time. Usually, half way through the edit, the reluctance and guilt eases up and clients take it upon themselves to readdress their holding zones and pass on items.

There is disappointment and annoyance when the quality of wardrobe items doesn’t hold out as well as clients had hoped. Or when items don’t function, look, and fit as fably as they had hoped. There is sadness when workhorses and favourites are well past their prime and need to go.

Some of my clients get an enormous buzz from editing their wardrobes. They are highly motivated to streamline and get rid of stuff. So much so, that there can be a tendency to pass items on too quickly. That’s when I gently suggest that they hold onto more of their wardrobe so that they aren’t re-purchasing what they let go a year or two from now.

Generally, I edit my own wardrobe with ease and enthusiasm, and don’t feel much guilt when I let go of wardrobe items. I love a streamlined and organized wardrobe. So far, I’m not in the habit of over-editing either. I do feel annoyance and disappointment when the quality of something does not hold up as expected, or when I thought relatively new shoes would be comfortable and go the distance, but they aren’t and don’t. Occasionally I am very reluctant and sad to let items go because they are sentimental, unique, or special, like my twelve-year-old citron trench that was looking shabby. Or comfortable shoes that are worn and scruffy, but make my feet happy. It’s hard for me to let these types of items go, and I hang onto them for longer than I should.

Over to you. What types of emotions do you feel when you let go of wardrobe items?