Did you know that most people only wear a few favourite pairs of shoes and everything else is left unused?
In fact, some articles suggest that people only actually wear five pairs! So if that is true why do we still hold onto so many different shoes?
As I shared in my blog post about mindful shopping – we attach ideas to items so when we’re looking at our shoes we should ask ourselves what are the fantasies behind them and if they are connected to the past or the future?
I used to own a lot of high heels. A lot!
And even when I decluttered them, they somehow found a way back into my closet. So I had to ask myself why do I have trouble letting go?
And it wasn’t until I realised that I attach two ideas to high heels – success and youthfulness that I was able to free myself. Because before, every time I gave a pair away, my brain thought I’m giving up on the idea of being successful and youthful and I didn’t want that.
Once you see the invisible reasons, it’s really easy to let go of anything plus it shows us how our brain connects everything and how those ideas constrain us.
Now I own a good amount of shoes (for a minimalist that is), but I use all of them and love them and they are comfortable to wear. I’m proud of my collection and if you want to do the same, here are my best tips for decluttering shoes and how to shop for them in the future.
STEP 1 – ROWS OF SHOES
Clear out a large surface on the floor for four different rows.
The first row represents your favourite and most used shoes, the second row is for shoes you love but don’t wear that often, the third row represents shoes that you only wear now and then and the fourth row should be for your unused pairs or the ones you haven’t worn in the last year.
Now go through all of your shoes, pair by pair and put them in the row that describes them best.
Once you’re done, look at the finished layout – now you have a fantastic opportunity to learn, so take a pen and paper and write down what do shoes in each row have in common – are your favourite shoes in the first row because they are very comfortable, you love the colours, they are very versatile etc.
Do that for each row until it becomes clear why you love and wear certain shoes but neglect others.
STEP 2 – QUICK DECLUTTER
Seeing everything laid out and understanding your preferences will help you make the right decisions so take advantage of that and start letting go of anything that you don’t need or want anymore.
Think about the dreams and ideas I’ve talked about before to make the process even better. And if you have some pairs you’re unsure off I suggest leaving those for the next step because it’ll be easier to let those go once you do a little test.
STEP 3 – COMFORT, COMFORT, COMFORT
What is the reason that shoes are in the last two rows? Is it because they are uncomfortable?
You’d be surprised to know that discomfort is the biggest reason why people don’t use their shoes even though they still keep them. So why don’t we just let them go? Maybe because of how much we paid for them, perhaps they are beautiful or we are convincing ourselves we just need to break them in.
By doing the next exercise – letting go of shoes we never thought we would get rid of becomes effortless and simple so try it for yourself.
If you have a pair that you are unsure of or are a bit uncomfortable, look at your calendar and decide when you are going to wear them. Commit to wearing them that day and if they create a lot of pain for you, it’s going to be really easy to let them go.
Do that with every pair you have doubts about. And if you have some shoes for special occasions then try wearing them for a quick lunch or a movie date, so you can test how comfortable they are. Yes, some shoes need breaking in but don’t mistake that with shoes that are just plain uncomfortable.
For me that test was fun and it made me realise how important comfort is so now when I’m in a store and I’m trying on new shoes I pay extra attention to how I feel in them.
*TIP: By closing our eyes we are more susceptible to feeling how our feet feel, how comfortable the shoes are and if they are worth purchasing. When in the store always try on both shoes and walk around so you can get a better feel of how comfortable they are.
STEP 4 – SHOE INSPIRATION
Sometimes we keep many different pairs because we believe that we can’t really wear sneakers with dresses, sandals with jeans etc. So look at the shoes in the first two rows and image-search outfit inspirations for each pair so you get more ideas on how to style them and maximise their use.
You’ll find ways of wearing them that you might never have thought of so that can give you even more confidence to wear shoes you love and let go of uncomfortable versions.
FINAL STEP – ENJOY YOUR COLLECTION
After you finished the whole process and you only have your favourite shoes and you also know what you like and wear then just continue being aware of everything that you’ve learned.
Observe yourself and as I always say, be gentle. And don’t think you must reach a certain number – the goal should be to have only shoes that fit in the first two rows with the exception of a pair (or two) for special occasions.
I hope that these ideas help you with your own collection and you enjoy your shoes more than ever before! And share your thoughts and ideas, I would love to hear from you 🙂