If The Shoe Fits: How To Declutter Shoes Like A Minimalist

how to declutter your shoes


ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Over the years, I’ve been able to slim down my own shoe collection to only a few pairs of shoes that I wear on a regular basis. Getting rid of most of my shoes has freed up tons of extra space in my closet.

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Is It Time To Declutter Your Shoes?

Is It Time To Declutter Your Shoes

It’s no secret that shoes can pile up pretty quickly, so when it comes to decluttering your shoes, you want to tackle it in a way that gets any unworn and unnecessary shoes out the door effectively and efficiently. There’s no point in dragging your feet when it comes to getting the job done and getting a clean, spacious closet back.

how to organize a small closet

When Should You Get Rid Of Your Shoes?

When Should You Get Rid Of Your Shoes

How many shoes is too many shoes, and what’s the sweet spot when it comes to shrinking or putting a cap on your collection?

time to declutter your shoesMy personal philosophy with shoes is if they are super worn, it may be time to let your old shoes go. Otherwise, they’re probably alright to keep around. However, you don’t want to fill your closet to the brim with shoes either, which is why an occasional decluttering session is crucial.

Of course, the lifespan and quantity of your keepers will vary, depending on the kinds of shoes you own and which styles you’re looking to declutter. You’ll likely wear out a pair of running shoes way faster than a pair of heels, so keep those variations in mind and think practically about the function and durability of each individual pair.

How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should You Own As A Minimalist?

How Many Pairs Of Shoes Should You Own As A Minimalist

A good rule of thumb for the minimalist lifestyle is to keep about five pairs of shoes total, give or take. Five pairs of shoes that each serve a unique purpose will provide sufficient footwear for all of your daily needs without going overboard.

In my opinion, five pairs is the sweet spot that gives you sufficient options for protecting your feet in any situation or climate, while still having some options when it comes to style or practicality.

What Type Of Shoes Do I Need As A Minimalist?

What Type Of Shoes Do I Need As A Minimalist

Strategically thinking through the types of shoes to keep in your closet verses what to declutter is one of the smartest ways to go about the shoe decluttering process to prevent having duplicates or multiple shoes that serve a similar purpose.

Shoes Minimalists Keep In Their Closet May Include

  • One pair of running or tennis shoes
  • One pair of dress shoes / heels for events
  • One pair of daily casual / lounge shoes
  • One pair of flip flops / sandals
  • One pair of boots / winter shoes
Shoes Minimalists Keep In Their Closet

This list is super minimal, so don’t feel like you aren’t decluttering enough if you divert from it and keep more than five mere pairs of shoes. But if your closet is overflowing with shoes, or you have multiple pairs that serve the same purpose, it’s probably time to let some of them go!

Of course, you may find that you absolutely need more or fewer shoes than I do. Shoes, like all of your personal style, are an individual preference. It’s much wiser to be intentional and go into the decluttering process with an idea of what you want to keep verses toss, what you like, and what you really need.

Ask Yourself

  • Do I wear dress shoes often?
  • Do I need footwear for work?
  • Do I use specific workout shoes?
  • Do I wear shoes around the house?
  • Are there other activities in my life that require specific footwear?
own one pair of running shoes

Use these questions to guide you as you think through the types of shoes you need in your life and which shoes you plan to declutter. This way, you go into the decluttering process with an intentional plan.

Minimalist Shoe Recommendations For Women

Minimalist Shoe Recommendations For Women

Keeping minimalist thinking in mind, it may be smart to invest in shoes that are of a higher quality from the get-go. Buying higher quality shoes will make them last longer and keeps you from having to declutter the shoes in your closet as often.

What makes any shoe a “minimalist” shoe comes down to many different factors. Minimalists put a lot of thought into their footwear because they know they’ve got to get a lot out of one single pair! Minimalist footwear should be durable, comfortable, practical, and versatile, because each pair will likely need to last through various activities and elements over a long period of time.

Minimalist Shoe Recommendations For Men

Minimalist Shoe Recommendations For Men

Same thing goes for men. You’ll want to keep around a few basic pairs of long-lasting, high-quality shoes for each essential purpose in your daily life.

How To Decide Which Shoes To Declutter

How To Decide Which Shoes To Declutter

Now that you have an idea of the kinds of shoes you want to keep, how do you go about deciding which shoes to actually declutter? There are several ways I think through what to declutter whenever I’m decluttering the shoes in my closet.

declutter shoes that do not fit

Declutter The Shoes That No Longer Fit

The first one is obvious! Any shoes that no longer fit should be some of the first items out the door. I often see this as a struggle for families trying to raise minimalist kids.

Oftentimes parents keep older siblings’ shoes around much longer than they should, waiting for the younger ones to grow into them. While this idea makes sense in theory, the unavoidable clutter isn’t always worth it. Consider swapping worn shoes at a kids’ consignment store to keep costs down.

declutter shoes you no longer wear

If You Don’t Wear It, Declutter The Shoe

I also find that a common culprit when it comes to decluttering shoes is wanting to keep items around for someday. Don’t waste space keeping shoes that you do not actively wear. I often use the 90/90 rule or the 20/20 decluttering rules to help me identify the footwear that I actually wear and which ones I just hope to wear.

I also find that people keep shoes around that they wear infrequently, especially when it comes to fancy footwear. Keeping a pair of shoes to wear once a year may not be worth it in the long run when it comes to your closet space.

Declutter Shoes That Are Broken

Declutter Shoes That Are Damaged

If your shoes are damaged or broken, get rid of them. I think a lot of times people get the wrong idea about minimalism and think it means convincing yourself to be satisfied with things that don’t really serve you to prevent yourself from being wasteful, like keeping too-worn shoes.

However, minimalism is much more about valuing quality so you have the things in your life that you need and will serve you well. So, toss those damaged, broken, deteriorating shoes and invest in a high-quality pair that will last for years.

Steps To Declutter Your Shoes Like A Minimalist

Steps To Declutter Your Shoes Like A Minimalist

I’m a guy who is all about doing things as effectively and efficiently as possible, especially when it comes to decluttering things. When I take the time out of my day to declutter, I want to get it done fast and I want it done well. When it comes to decluttering shoes, there are a few steps I have up my sleeve to ensure that’s what happens.

1Take Inventory Of The Shoes You Own

The very first thing you’ll want to do when trying to declutter your shoes is lay out all of the pairs of shoes you own in a central location. You want to be able to see all of them at once to decide which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to discard.

2Set Aside The Shoes You Know You Want To Keep

Next, set aside the shoes that you know for sure you aren’t getting rid of. This might include your favorite pair of running shoes, beloved house slippers, or that snazzy pair of heels you just can’t part with. If you know it’s a keeper, get it out of the way!

3Move Aside The Shoes You’re Decluttering For Sure

After separating the shoes you’re keeping for certain from the pile, move over the shoes that you know for sure you want to get rid of as well. This will include any shoes that fit into the categories in the list above, like damaged shoes or shoes that just don’t fit.

4Put The Remaining Shoes Into Smaller Categories

Now comes the hardest part — figuring out what to do with all the shoes in the maybe category. My biggest suggestion here is to categorize your shoes by their purpose. Put work shoes with work shoes, sandals with sandals, and slippers with slippers. This will give you an idea of the kinds of shoes that you own more or less of.

5Make The Final Call On Remaining Shoes

Lastly, look at the shoes you have left and make some intentional decisions about whether they should stay or go. Trust your gut! I have a few questions I like to ask myself when wrapping up the shoe decluttering process.

Ask These Questions About Each Pair Of Shoes

  • How often do I wear these shoes?
  • Are these shoes comfortable?
  • Do I have clothes that match these shoes?
  • Do these shoes serve a specific purpose?
  • How would I feel if I let these shoes go?
do you wear these shoes often

Advice After Decluttering Your Shoes

Advice After Decluttering Your Shoes

After you’ve gone through the steps involved in decluttering your shoes, what should you do next? Decluttering leads to organizing and donating!

How Should You Store Decluttered Shoes?

How Should You Store Decluttered Shoes

Storing your shoes effectively is the key to success when decluttering. I’ve cycled through many storage options over the years, some of which just take up more space than they’re worth, and others that work like a charm.

Where Should You Donate Decluttered Shoes?

Where Should You Donate Decluttered Shoes

When it comes to where to donate your old shoes after decluttering, there are several charities that specifically take old shoes including Soles for Souls, Dress For Success, and the Buy Nothing Project. You can also take your shoes to a local donation bin or give them to a friend who may get better use out of them.

Places To Donate Your Decluttered Items

How To Keep Your Shoes Organized And Declutter Less Frequently

How To Keep Your Shoes Organized And Declutter Less Frequently

After spending so much time on the decluttering process, the last thing you want is for your shoe collection to become a cluttered mess yet again. In order to prevent this, keep some things in mind as you go about each day.

How To Keep Your Shoes OrganizedPersonally, I try to abide by a one-pair-in, one-pair-out rule when it comes to shoes. Every time I buy a new pair, I make sure to get rid of at least one pair to counterbalance it. This keeps my closet from becoming filled to the brim.

For the most part, it’s easy to keep my shoes decluttered if I stay intentional and keep a minimalist mindset. When I have the urge to buy new shoes, I ask myself if I truly need them. When I feel my shoe collection is getting too big, I take some time to go through what I don’t need anymore. Keeping a minimalist mindset in these ways keeps me from having to declutter my shoes too often.

Your Turn!

  • How will you decide which shoes you want to declutter?
  • What will you do with all of your decluttered shoes?
1 Comment
  1. I’m starting to declutter my home and I need guidance and helpful tips

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