My packed closet was starting to weigh me down. I had clothes from my previous work life which involved corporate meetings and fancy events. I decided it was time to update my closet to reflect the updated “ME.”

As an organizer, I was familiar with how to do this with clients – as I tackled my own clothes, I was surprised how emotional it was to let go of clothes that represented my former self.

Before I started, I did some research as to the psychological aspect of reviewing my wardrobe. Here are a few points that I learned and experienced regarding the psychology of choosing what clothes to keep.

Identity and Self-Expression

Clothes are not just fabric; they can represent aspects of your identity and self-expression. Certain items may hold deep personal meaning and reflect who you are or who you were at different times in your life. I want my clothes to reflect who am I now. How good would it feel to open my closet and have it reflect my current version of me? And clothes I would/could actually wear rather than trophy pieces like the skinny jeans and boxy blazers that I wore way back when.

Emotional Attachment

Some of my clothes were linked to specific memories, experiences or stages in life. I remembered wearing my collection of suits at trade shows where I would meet colleagues and friends. I tried to remind myself that the memories are in ME, not in my clothes.

Balancing Sentimentality with Practicality

While it’s important to honor and respect the emotional significance of your clothes, it’s also essential to strike a balance between sentimentality and practicality. I decided to choose a few select items to keep just for this purpose and for decor while space permits. I could find other ways to pay homage to my past self—even hang photos of me in my favorite outfit or at a significant event.

Ultimately, the decision of what clothes to keep is a personal and introspective one, shaped by individual experiences and emotions. It’s okay to have things truly just for sentimental and identity reasons. The key is that you don’t have so much that it impedes the ability to get dressed every day.

The process was definitely challenging and long overdue. In the end, having a closet of clothes that I actually wear today makes getting dressed easier. Now when I look at my closet, I see the present and not the past. I am relieved that I did it and I have z-e-r-o regrets!