One in each colour, please.

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

According to the quote by Marilyn Monroe, I should either be master of the universe by now, or I’ve been buying the wrong shoes. I fear that the latter might be the hard and brutal truth.

I probably own around 60-70 pairs of shoes. Trainers and wellington’s included, but yes – you heard me. I already told you about my weekly shopping sprees during my student years, so these are mainly from then. You might also remember that half of my stuff is boxed up in another country, so this goes for my footwear as well. Back then my shopping behaviour was ridiculous. I’d find a cute pair of ballerinas, but not be able to decide on the colour. So I would get one of each. Green, blue, yellow, red, mustard, gray, gold and silver: I have shoes in every colour in the rainbow and the my little pony factory combined. It doesn’t make it any better to know that I’m probably not alone in this situation.

Decluttering your closet

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

There have been several surveys on how many pairs of shoes the average (wo)man owns, and some say 20, others 34 and so on. What they all seem to have in common though, is that no matter how many pairs we have, we only tend to wear a few of them. Think about it – how many different pairs will you wear during the course of a week? I’ll need some for work, some for sports and perhaps some different ones on the weekend. But on the average week, I probably only wear 3 or 4 pairs. For summer and winter you probably (or obviously) have to change your footwear, but in general I don’t really need that many. At least far from 70.

So it’s time to get rid of some, and I’ve created some rules for myself to make it easier to decide:

  1. Comfort. Are the shoes comfortable? Can you wear them for a whole day without pain or getting blisters?
  2. Style. Do you actually like the way they look? Does it represent you and how you want to appear? Perhaps your style has changed since you bought them?
  3. Versatility. Do your shoes match any of your outfits or just a select few? The fewer things they match, the less likely it is that you will use them.
  4. Type. This is naturally connected to number 3, but think of the actual needs you have for situations your commonly in. You might need certain shoes for work, and others for leisure. Having a pair or two of heels is perfectly fine and I’m not planning on getting rid of all them either. However, how many do you need of each type? I probably don’t need 3 almost identical pairs of black heels, nor ballerinas in every single colour.
  5. Frequency of use. Same as with the clothes – when did you last wear them? New with tags still? The either start wearing them or they have to go. Be hard on yourself, either way.

A classic example of a shoe that fails on 3,5 out of the 5 rules. Plus points for not making me look like an escort (rule 2) and for me not owning anything else like this (rule 5). Bye-bye, borderline hooker heels!

So it turns out that I wasn’t great at it this time around: Out of the approximately 30 pairs, I found 8 to get rid of. As some of them are in very good condition, I have decided to try to sell them. Instead of spending a lot of time trying to sell every single pair, I’ve selected a few nice leather and vintages shoes to sell. The rest I have bundled up and are selling for more of a symbolic sum. If they’re not sold within 2 weeks, I will donate them. You should decide for yourself if you have time to sell or donate, and setting a time frame can be helpful: if you have many items to sell, this can be quite time-consuming and you should consider what is worth making the effort for.

So next time I look through my shoe collection (yes, I say collection since that’s what it truly and sadly is), I might have to add a rule number 6 to my list: only keep shoes that will help you conquer the world. I’m sure I’ll have a much easier time getting rid of more pairs then.