Moderate Minimalism And My Shoe Collection

Hello, I'm Daisy, a recovering hoarder who's finally decided to tackle her stuff in a big way.

And since bringing you all along for the ride helped keep me accountable, I started No Mess Mondays every last Monday of the month: a real honest "No, I do not tidy before I snap these photos." walkthrough as I go from hoarding to minimal living in my home.

It's been ugly. It's been funny. And ultimately, it's been all-around awesome.


I have to be honest: I've been putting off dealing with my shoe collection. I've purged my clothes, my bedroom, my beauty product stash, but my shoes are scary.

There are a lot of them.

And I will have to face how I accumulated a lot of shoes I didn't need.

shoes.jpg

I started the minimalist journey with 80-ish pairs of shoes.

Now, I still have 60 of them.

  *Dun dun dun dun*

*Dun dun dun dun*

I look at them and wonder at myself. I only have two feet; how'd I rationalize getting all these pairs?

How'd I end up with so many?

Let me count the ways.

Gifts

A couple of my relatives work in shoe companies. That means scoring samples during new seasons, along with Christmas and birthday gifts of new shoes.

Duplicates

You know how when we end up finding a new favorite shoe, we go back and stock on extras just in case?

Searching for shoes we love is like searching for the Holy Grail, so when we find them... Well.

I talk a bit about duplicates in a post I wrote last year, and how I no longer believe in buying duplicates.

This is especially true for my shoes.

I take good care of them: wiping them clean, polishing them. and sending them to the cobbler to get resoled. This means my duplicates go unused for years, quietly falling apart in my shoe rack.

Yes, I'm one of those people who's tripped after my sole suddenly separated from the rest of the shoe. Twice. Both times in public.

That no longer happens since I no longer buy duplicates. But I haven't gone through the pairs I'd hoarded pre-minimalism yet.

A Lack Of Honesty

With myself, I mean.

I often bought shoes I didn't need, swayed by how lovely they look on my feet and how comfy they were. Even though a little voice reminded me that I already had plenty of shoes / I never wear that color of shoe / I never wear that style. I ignored that voice, swiped my credit card, and later wondered why the shoes rarely got worn.

I've been better --- though not perfect --- at this now. But just because I've changed doesn't mean the shoes I've held on to magically disappear.


So, I guess it's time to face my shopping mistakes.

Because I've learned a few things since I started turning my hoarding habit around.

I can hold on to shoes I can technically still use even though I probably won't wear them as often as I should. Throwing good pairs out is a waste of shoes, after all.

But a better way to value these shoes is to let them go to people who truly need them.

A charity I'm familiar with works with people in need of shoes, so I'm sending a few like new pairs to them this week.

Since my Mom and I are the same shoe size, she can also wear a few I'm letting go off. (Though I make sure she truly loves them; giving her unwanted shoes would create a problem for her.)

Similar to my clothes purge, I'm asking myself questions like:

  • Does this pair fit me? Is it too loose or too tight?
  • Do I have clothes that match these shoes?
  • Does wearing them make me feel good about how I look?
  • Can I run around in them without injuring myself?
  • Do I have another pair I wear for a similar purpose and which one do I love more?
  • Does this need to be repaired?
  • Do these shoes hurt when I wear them?

I've decided to keep shoes that I'll wear at least once a month (excepting my seasonal needs like winter and rain boots) and --- not or --- make me happy. Everything else must go.


The Results

I'm happy with how it turned out. I have been ruthless, letting go of shoes even if my only problem with them is the color. Now, I'm relieved I no longer have to be reminded of my hoarding when I see the unused shoes.

I forgave myself for them and will give them to people who'll enjoy wearing them more than I do.

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I now own 28 pairs of shoes and I'm okay with that.

These 28 pairs include:

  • 3 pairs of boots. These are seasonal needs: 1 for winter, 1 for spring/fall, and 1 for rain.
  • a pair of flip flops. These are for home and for the beach. (When I happen to be home, I live a 40-minute drive from the seaside.)
  • 4 pairs of work shoes. These are for my corporate job.
  • 3 pairs of sneakers with laces. For the weekends, casual work days, and the occasional hike.
  • 4 pairs of closed toe flat shoes. Mostly for work - I swing between business to casual attire depending on the day's appointments.
  • 4 pairs of high heels. I wear these at parties, church, and nights out.
  • 5 pairs of flat sandals. These come out to play during summer. It often feels too hot to put closed shoes on.
  • 4 pairs of fun shoes. Special pairs that cheer me up.

I've talked about practical minimalism before, one that isn't based on having a specific number of things and throwing out the rest.

Sure, if I redid my whole shoe collection today, I'd prefer to have less than 10 pairs. (In fact, I freely admit I have too many flats now; they're my favorite kind of shoe.)

But I wear all the shoes I've kept; they make me feel good, they're comfortable, and they match the outfits I wear. And except for the seasonal boots, they also fit my criteria of wearing each pair at least once a month.

I don't want to get rid of shoes I use anyway as it's needless waste. I won't make the money I spent on them back, and I don't want to, in essence, throw money away.

Now that I have them, I might as well enjoy them until I wear them out.

I've decided to rotate the use of all these shoes, maintaining them so they last as long as possible.

And since I have more than I need (or even want!), I've committed to no longer shopping for shoes. I will not replace any of them when they've reached the end of their life cycles until I've naturally downsized to less than 8 pairs of shoes.

When that happens, then I'll consider shoe shopping if I need replacements. (This will probably take at least five years; I've had some of my shoes since 2010 and they're still in good condition!)

This is simple and practical to me: using what I have while spending less and wasting less.

Long term, if I'm patient, I will also end up owning less as the number of pairs I own decrease.

Downsizing for simple living is something I believe in. But doing it in a way that isn't wasteful, even if it doesn't look like minimalist spaces on Pinterest and in magazines, is important to me too.


Interested in an inside look at my minimalism journey?

I find seeing how other people do it helps me think about how minimalism can make my own life better.

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