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How to Make Your Shoe Collection More Manageable

Even if you start out with a minimalistic mindset, it’s not only possible, but likely for your shoe collection to spiral out of control. Before you know it, you’ll have more shoes than you can reasonably fit in your closet; half haven’t even been worn in over a year.

What steps can you take to make your shoe collection more manageable?

Focus on Fundamentals

Optimizing your shoe collection should primarily focus on the fundamentals – the elemental shoes that, together, can give you something to wear in almost any conceivable environment or event. Certain types of shoes are much more versatile than others, giving you a wide range of options.

  •       Leather flats. A high-quality pair of leather flats can be worn in most environments. They’re formal enough for most professional environments, yet they’re relaxed enough for most informal environments. They can go with most types of outfits, yet they look attractive on their own. They’re also comfortable enough to walk around in without causing a foot ache.
  •       Winter boots. A good pair of winter boots can get you through even the harshest seasons. Look for a pair that’s not only tough and durable, but suitable for both formal and informal environments.
  •       Mules/loafers. A pair of mules or loafers can be a convenient grab in summer, regardless of the occasion. They can take the place of simple flip-flops or winter booties, making them an excellent middle-of-the-road option.
  •       Sneakers. Though not as immediately attractive as some of the other items on this list, every woman needs a pair of sneakers in her collection. Sneakers are both ergonomic and comfortable for physical activities – and are great for informal environments.
  •       Pumps/heels. Pumps and heels are often slightly uncomfortable, but they offer a touch of elegance and grandeur in exchange. They’re perfect for your most important occasions – or when you need to make a big impression.  
  •       Sandals. A pair of sandals or flip-flops is also handy, especially in summer. Convenient and relaxed, these shoes are great for wandering around the house, beach adventures, and more.

You’ll also need to consider the materials and colors of these shoes. If you’re trying to constrain your shoe collection to the absolute minimum, choose neutral colors for all of these fundamentals. Otherwise, try to choose a range of colors that isn’t too restrictive.

There’s nothing wrong with having a few standout shoes that are less versatile or reserved for certain niche events, but your closet shouldn’t be full of them. With a standard base of useful fundamentals, your closet will be much leaner.

Analyze and Cull Your Existing Collection

If you have a current collection that’s grown out of control, spend some time analyzing it and culling anything that you don’t truly need. You can donate your old shoes, trade them with friends, sell them, or recycle them, depending on their condition.

  •       Popularity. There’s a common piece of advice to get rid of anything you haven’t worn or used in the past year. It’s great advice for decluttering, and it also works for shoes. If you have a pair of shoes that have been collecting dust for more than a year, why are they still sitting in your closet? There are many reasons why a person wouldn’t wear this shoe, but all of them point you in the direction of getting rid of it.
  •       Versatility. Pay especially close attention to how versatile each pair of shoes is. The more versatile it is, the more you should lean toward keeping it. If a pair of shoes is only going to see the light of day in especially rare, one-off circumstances, consider removing them from the collection.
  •       Durability/condition. You may also want to consider durability and current condition. Some shoes are going to last you much longer than others, and naturally, some of the shoes in your closet are probably falling apart. Get rid of anything that isn’t in good enough condition to wear anymore, and prioritize keeping your most durable, best-condition shoes – as long as they meet other criteria.
  •       Personal attachment. Some of your shoes may have sentimental or superficial personal value to you, regardless of how often you wear them or how many outfits they actually go with. Obviously, you should feel free to keep these shoes as a part of your collection, even if you never wear them. Just don’t go overboard here; nobody needs 50 pairs of shoes they keep only for sentimentality’s sake.
  •       Outside opinions. Finally, consider getting some outside opinions, especially if you’re torn on whether to keep or lose multiple pairs of shoes. Your friends and family members will help you decide which of your shoes are most practical, most attractive, and most worth keeping.

Commit to Ongoing Management

Cleaning out your shoe collection is just the beginning. If you want things to remain simple and manageable, you need to commit to an ongoing effort. Most notably, that means exercising control over the purchase and acquisition of new shoes; if you keep acquiring mindlessly, it’s only a matter of time before your collection spirals out of control again. 

One easy strategy for dealing with this is to only purchase a new pair of shoes when you get rid of an old pair; this way, you always have the same number of shoes in your collection. Find an approach that works for you!

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