How to Declutter a Shoe Collection

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How to Declutter a Shoe CollectionDo you own a large collection of shoes?

Are you looking for some helpful pointers to keep your footwear under control?

Shoes are a key component to any wardrobe.

As is the case with any collection, be it an impressive private library or beautiful display of seashells, it is a good idea to review and maintain collection items on a regular basis.

In this post, I offer some practical tips to help you declutter a shoe collection.

Gather shoes to declutter.

The first step is to gather or identify the location of the shoes you want to declutter.

Keep in mind, you probably have small collections of shoes scattered about your home, such as in a closet, mudroom, or hallway.

You may choose to work in different areas of your home decluttering smaller collections as they sit (for example, you may want to declutter the collection of shoes in the hallway and then move on to your bedroom closet) or you may want to round-up all of the shoes in your home for a massive decluttering session.

It’s completely up to you.

Start by selecting your favorites.

An easy way to make headway in your decluttering efforts is to identify which shoes are keepers. This process quickly cuts a collection in half: shoes that you’ll keep and shoes that you’ll declutter. Take a moment now to pick out your favorites and set them aside. Once you’ve finished the task, you can focus your attention on decluttering the rest of your collection.

Save time by containing mateless shoes.

Instead of wasting time during your decluttering session searching high and low for a missing shoe, simply toss unmated pairs into an open basket or large box. The mateless shoes will be instantly contained and you won’t have to worry about them. You can then search for the mates at a later date.

Select a pair of shoes to evaluate.

At this point, you’re going to look closely at the practical value of this pair of shoes. Of course, you can always compare other pairs to other pairs, but it’s important to decide whether this pair is worth keeping in the first place.

While some parts of a shoe can be replaced (zippers on a pair of riding boots or heels on a pair of dress shoes) there comes a time when even the most sophisticated of repairs won’t help. When that time comes, it’s time to say farewell to a pair of shoes.

You’ll probably want to remove shoes that are:

  • Too large or too small for your feet
  • Uncomfortable to wear
  • Hopelessly scuffed, cracked, torn or worn
  • Stained or stinky

You may want to remove shoes from your collection that are:

  • Dated or out of fashion (if this matters to you)
  • No longer of interest to you (you’re no longer interested in that pair of hot orange sneakers)
  • No longer necessary (perhaps you’ve decided tap dancing isn’t for you, and you’re ready to pass along your tap shoes to your niece)

Evaluate shoes according to personal preference.

Now that you’ve identified the practical reasons as to whether or not to keep a pair of shoes, it’s time to evaluate your collection based on your personal preferences.

This step will be slightly more challenging than the practical exercise above, however, it should prove to be most helpful as you declutter your shoe collection.

Do keep in mind, you always have the final decision as to what stays and what goes.

Here’s some decluttering questions to ask yourself:

  • Will I actually wear this pair sometime in the next few weeks or do I just think I will?
  • Am I holding onto this pair “just because?”
  • Do I truly need this pair of shoes in my collection?
  • Am I willing to keep this pair of shoes at the expense of my storage space?

Still having trouble deciding what to keep and what to toss? Here’s some other points to keep in mind:

Stick with comfort. A comfortable shoe will probably get more use than an uncomfortable one.

Stick with neutral colors. You can’t go wrong with neutral color shoes (black, brown, white, navy, gray) as they will go with pretty much any outfit you wear.

Stick with classic shoe designs. They have more staying power and will last from season to season.

Stick to a specific number of shoes. Narrow down your collection by setting limits to the number of shoes you’ll keep at any one time, be it shoe type or style.

Properly dispose of unwanted shoes.

Consider donating your unworn or gently-worn shoes to a local charity or aid organization. Chances are someone could use those near-perfect shoes that you received as a gift that are a size too small for you.

For shoes that are old, damaged, or unwearable, check with your local municipality to see if there’s a clothing/shoe recycling program in your area.

Lastly, if you’ve recently purchased a pair of shoes and realize you’re not going to wear them, you might as well return them! Before packing up a box for mailing or heading to the store, check your receipt and the store’s return policy.

How about you? What are your concerns when it comes to decluttering shoes? How will you decide what to keep and what to donate/recycle/toss? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.