Are you are looking to clear some space in your closet by reducing the number of shoes that you own? If so, breaking down your shoes into categories can be an easy and quick way to eliminate what you don’t need. For clothing, I suggest the One Year Rule. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s a good bet that it can be passed along to someone else. Using one year as a guide is a little more conservative than 3-6 months (which is a more appropriate time limit for household items) but it allows you to give grace for seasonal and specialty items (like your snow boots or the comfy heels you keep for a work trade show every year).
If you are looking for a good trick to get you headed to a more simplified wardrobe and cleaner more organized closet, you can break your shoe collection into 6 simple categories. Then you can reduce to just one or two pairs for each category. Depending how many shoes you currently own, this could be a big step! Go easy on yourself, you can always reduce your collection further at a later date once you gain momentum and feel energized by how having less makes you feel after your initial sweep.
The 6 Starter categories include:
- Church or work heel – If you are going to have just one heel, find something neutral and VERY comfortable. The pair in the image above are very comfortable – for a heel. My foot doesn’t slip and I can wear thin wool no show socks to prevent sweating so they are my go-to. Black probably would have been a wiser color choice, but this particular pair goes with nearly all of the 8 piece capsule-style work wardrobe that I have. Your lifestyle might not need this one, so if that is the case you can move on to the next category!
2. Casual Slip on Shoe – Depending on your personal style a Classic Loafer or Ballet flat is a great wardrobe staple. These can be appropriate for work, church or a casual dinner out.
3. A Sandal – If you live in someplace near the water, you might want more than one of these and fewer boots or winter style shoes, so use your judgement based on your lifestyle and location.
4. A Neutral Boot – These have been very popular the last ten years and I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon. A lower height bootie might work for you – but regardless, some sort of neutral boot can really take you pretty far in the fall and winter seasons!
5. Shoe for in-climate weather – If you live in an area with a lot of snow you might like something warmer, but a pair of rain boots work great in a place that gets primarily rain and slush. If it snows, they can keep you warm (enough) with some thick wool socks.
6. Sneakers – I have two pairs of sneakers because I like to switch them up. Shoes last a lot longer if they have time to air out between uses (they also smell way less, if you have an issue with that). I wear these a ton in the spring. A lot of cross-trainers can get thrown in the washer periodically so I love that about them.
- Dress Boot – Great for slightly more dressy outdoor events where you need your feet warm but your other boots wont do the trick.
- Specialty Athletic wear (dance, hiking, running etc), if you are into that sort of thing.
- Beach or Pool Shoe (Flip Flops)
- Something Extra Warm – this may or may not be necessary where you live.
- Something just for fun. I think it is totally OK to have something JUST because you enjoy it. Life is short, y’all!
- A True Heel – A black or tan heel is an essential to a lot of women. If you attend a lot of weddings or go out to fancy dinners, a neutral heel is absolutely necessary wardrobe staple. This one pair would technically serve me for all of my work, church, dressy needs but since I prefer my feet to be comfortable and am not wearing the same heel every day at work or for long periods, I have a few to rotate.
For transparency, I own 13 pairs of shoes. I could reduce further but don’t see the point of getting rid of items that I am enjoying, actively using, and have paid good money for – just for the sake of having less. If you would like to see my video tour of my own shoe collection, you can watch that video here: