Simplify Your Shoes

I used to have way too many shoes in my closet! Now I've simplified my shoes down to about 10 pairs, and I'm still planning to declutter even more!

This post is part of the Monday series on simplifying that inspired my book, Your Simple Home Handbook. The series began with 10 Reasons to Start Simplifying Now.

Confession: I’ve never been as savvy about shoes as most girls are.

I’ve never spent much money on them–usually covering my basis with Wal-Mart or Payless.

Part of my goal in my mission to simplify is to recognize when to replace quantity of possessions with quality. I’m certainly not advocating that you simplify your stuff to make room for more stuff. But as you get rid of worn-out or unflattering items you might find that you do have a few gaps to fill in.

Simplifying my shoes has made me give more thought to the comfort and functionality of the ones I keep. And yes, I might need to get rid of some to add better quality versions back in.

As you evaluate your current shoe collection and plan for your ideal one, these are the things you’re looking for:

  • The shoes you own will be comfortable
  • The shoes you own will stay in better condition because they won’t be crushed and crowded
  • The shoes you own will match with the clothes you own
  • The shoes you own will cover each basic category

Basic categories? I can think of four that you need to fill:

  • Athletic (walking/running/hiking)
  • Casual (flats/sandals/”around the town” shoes)
  • Weather (rain boots/winter boots)
  • Work (whatever your job requires)

I have a hanging shoe organizer that has eight pockets. My goal is for all of my shoes (except boots) to fit comfortably in that organizer. Set a similar space limit for yourself, and get started with the simplifying!

simplify your shoes

Now that you’ve simplified your wardrobe, you might find that some of the shoes you own match with outfits you got rid of! Those shoes should be the first to go, unless you’re quite sure they’ll work for an outfit you still own.

Next up, purge the ratty ones that need to be thrown away. Most of the shoes I got rid of fell into this category. Examine your shoes for worn down soles and heels, canvas pulling away from the rubber, and broken straps or clasps. The fact that they still fit your feet is not a good enough reason to keep them.

Think about the redundant pairs of shoes you own. Keep the pair that’s the most comfortable and functional, and get rid of the others. Three pairs of black heels? Two pairs of hiking boots? Keep your favourite of each, donate the others.

Lastly, pull out the pairs that you never wear–even if they fit or look cute. You don’t wear them, why keep them?

[question]Now, go count your shoes! How many total pairs do you own (including winter boots and flipflops)? I’m down to 10 and still working![/question]

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Do you want many more simple living ideas? Check out my brand new book! Your Simple Home Handbook is a 100+ page guide to decluttering your home and simplifying your stuff. Work through 30 different areas of your home–at your own pace–and enjoy the benefits of a space that breathesClick here to learn about my book!


  1. Such great tips 🙂
    I have more shoes than I would like, but I actually wear all of them. I have made myself get rid of old ones, and ones that are falling apart.
    I’m really picky about the shoes I buy (cute, classy, fit nice, and cheap. I’m not asking for thaaat much lol)and so have a hard time tossing shoes that are worn out!

    1. Good qualifications for shoes, Kendra! I was keeping my falling-apart ones because they used to be my favourites…but they’d served their purpose. Long ago.

  2. My problem is I HATE spending money on shoes. I just bought my first new pair in a long time (like over a year), a pair of white slide-on walking/casual shoes. The ones I wore all last year (a pair of black fabric Mary Jane’s) are literally falling apart because I like them so much, and used to wear them constantly! My super-comfy sandals (dressy enough for church) are also starting to fall apart. I really need to replace shoes, but I really really don’t like spending so much money on them, so I’m one of those people who wears shoes till they fall apart! I suppose that should change, lol!

    1. I know what you mean on the spending money stuff. I think some shoes you can totally get away with buying cheap. We made room in our budget for me to buy some real deal running shoes, though (which I will ONLY wear for running/walking, not for a trip to the store!). I’m also saving up for some brown leather boots that will last me for years.

  3. I’m up to 9 pair– most I’ve ever had at one time in my life!! And that’s bc my hubby decided I should get the red shoes I liked 😉 Half of them were given to me, but I do wear them all. Rain boots, black sandals, brown sandals, white sandals, black flats, red flats, brown flats, crocs, athletic shoes.

  4. I tend to spend more on my shoes than any other clothing item. Granted they are normaly on sale. I stick with brands like Born for fall/winter shoes. One of my pairs lasted me for 9 years before I put them aside, not bad for $40. Even if I have to pay more for that brand now I know that I am paying around $5 a year when that last that long. 🙂

    1. Breaking shoe cost down by year is a really smart idea, Katie! Thanks! I’m in the market for some well-made, last-me-forever brown, flat boots. I don’t mind spending a bit extra on them, but they need to be my perfect match!

  5. Another idea I read along these lines is a way to keep the number of shoes you own more manageable.

    Any time you buy a new pair, you must toss out (or donate) a comparable pair.
    Nothing similar? Lucky you!! Now you must get rid of any TWO pair.

    This will keep you total number,static while allowing for upgrades. Easiest pair to practice this — athletic shoes you wear to exercise!

    1. That is a great idea! I think I follow that pretty well! I have a few pairs right now that are just waiting for replacements, and then out they go!

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