Are you the type who tries to edit down your closet, but can’t get rid of anything? Those jeans will fit someday. Or, do you know how much I paid for this? Or, I’m sure that outfit will come back in style.

This kind of rationalizing can also apply to furniture. People in transition, whether they’re becoming empty nesters, going through a divorce or simply need to downsize, have a hard time letting go of furniture. I can relate. I find myself in the same situation.


Over the years I’ve collected tons of items to stage homes and commercial spaces. I’ve also purchased lots of brand-new pieces for my furniture store, reStyle Hawaii. Now, with reStyle losing its lease and closing at the end of August, I’m going through my own mourning process.

Here are my top five reasons for letting go of furniture. This will be a healthy, cathartic process for me, too.

1. If it doesn’t fit, it is just not going to fit. Don’t overcrowd your space. Look on the bright side: The clean, minimalist look is in.

2. If it’s not in line with the new style you’re going for, let it go.

3. If it’s associated with a bad memory or person, you definitely don’t want it in your space.

4. If it’s broken, missing parts or badly stained, ask yourself: Can it be fixed, and am I willing to do it? If the answer is no, let it go.

5. Be realistic with sentimental items. You don’t have to keep all of your grandparents’ antiques — unless, of course, you absolutely love that style. But why not create a style of your own? Keep those pieces that really bring back memories or that you would purchase for yourself. Then donate the rest and let them make memories for someone else.

Holding onto furniture and extra stuff in general can weigh us down emotionally.


Letting go can be liberating. Who knows? You may end up with a more spacious home and even a few dollars in your pocketbook.

As for me, I’m selecting things I need for my home or clients’ spaces. The rest, I’m letting go. Come by before the end of August if you can — you’ll be part of my letting go!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture and home accents store, is open daily at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit