Decluttering Shoes

Decluttering Shoes: How to Decide Which Shoes to Get Rid Of

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What is it about shoes that many of us just love so much? Essentially, shoes are a practical piece of outerwear that we need to wear for protection against the elements. But beyond that, let’s be honest, shoes are a great accessory!

The thing is, if you carry on buying shoes, but never actually get rid of any, they will eventually stack up. That’s when you know the time has come for decluttering shoes.

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Why Decluttering Shoes is a GOOD Thing!

Decluttering shoes

Although it can feel super hard to let go of some of your unique pairs of shoes, the benefits are many.


  • Opens up your closet space
  • Reduces overwhelm
  • Makes shoe storage easier
  • Less choice = less stress
  • Easier to find find what you’re looking for

The more shoes you have, the harder it is to lay out everything you’ve got and easily see your selection. When you’re faced with too much choice, you end up feeling overwhelmed, which leads to not being able to make a decision at all.

Not to mention, where does one store all of the shoes? If you end up having shoes scattered under the bed, in the bottom on the closet, behind the door… how can you even keep track of what you’ve got? It gets increasingly difficult.

Culling all of the shoes that just do not work for you anymore will lift a load off your shoulders and make you feel much more organised and in control of your footwear.

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How to Decide Which Shoes to Get Rid Of

How to decided which shoes to get rid of

Okay, so we’ve established that decluttering shoes is in fact a positive thing. But, how do you know which shoes to get rid of?

The first step in decluttering shoes is to rummage around and gather ALL of your shoes. Every. Single. Pair.

Organise (or pile) them together in a room that has a full-length mirror, if possible.

Now for the process of elimination.

Do you love them?

First things first, go through all of your shoes and pull out the pairs that you love and wear all the time. They can go straight back into the closet, which will immediately reduce your pile of shoes to declutter.

Do they have a mate?

Honestly, only having one half of a pair of shoes is the strangest phenomenon. How exactly does one shoe go missing? Where does it go and how does it get there?

If you are looking at your shoes and find yourself in this conundrum, have a good search and see if you can locate the graveyard of missing shoes.

If however, you do not succeed, it’s time to release the lone wolf shoe that doesn’t have a mate.

It’s time to start a separate pile for the eliminated decluttered shoes.

Do they fit you properly?

Trying on shoes

Next thing, do all of the remaining shoes fit you properly? We’re all guilty of buying a pair of shoes that we just love and think will be perfect for an outfit, even though we’re fully aware that they’re slightly too big or too small.

Go through each pair, try them on and only keep the ones that fit properly. Make sure your feet aren’t hanging off the end of the shoe and that you’ve got plenty of room around the toes.

The shoes that don’t fit properly can go into the elimination pile.

Are they comfortable?

After ditching the shoes that don’t fit properly, the next step is to go through your shoes and make sure they’re all comfortable.

Again, it doesn’t matter how good the shoes look when you’re wearing them, if they cut in around the ankle or hurt your toes, you’ll always find an excuse not to wear them.

Try on each pair of shoes and go for a walk around the house. Make sure they’re comfortable and see if you have any memories of them being uncomfortable or hurting when you were wearing them.

Ditch the uncomfortable ones and add them to your decluttered shoe pile.

Are they outdated?

Okay, let’s get real here. How many pairs of shoes are you hanging onto that you once loved the shit out of, but frankly they’re just not trendy any more.

You have such fond memories of wearing those awesome shoes and paid a pretty penny to get them in the first place. Ultimately, you may have a sentimental attachment to them, but know that you won’t wear them again.

It’s time to let them go.

Do you have anything to wear them with?

Decluttering Shoes

Some pairs of shoes we buy because we just really love the look of them. The thing is, not all shoes are created equal. Heels don’t go with everything and bright orange is not a colour we can always pull off.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going here.

Pull out the shoes that you don’t wear because you just don’t have the right outfit to wear them with… and no, I’m not suggesting you head out a buy another outfit, just to wear the shoes.

If you don’t have anything to wear the shoes with, add them to the decluttering shoes pile.

Do they serve a purpose?

Every pair of shoes in your closet must serve a purpose.

If you’ve still got some old school shoes or work shoes floating around that you just don’t need any more – get rid of them. This can go for sporting shoes as well (example, ballet shoes, soccer boots, ice skates etc.).

Are they damaged?

Shoes don’t last forever. Eventually they fade, wear thin, get holes and accumulate stains. All of your shoes that are damaged in some way need to come out and be evaluated.

Here are some questions to ask when assessing damaged shoes:

  • Would I wear these shoes if they were repaired?
  • Can I repair them myself?
  • Are they beyond repair?
  • Will some shoe or leather polish bring them back to life?
  • Can I reglue the sole with some Araldite adhesive?

Be honest with yourself. If the shoes were repaired, would you even wear them, or you done with them? Ditch the shoes that are beyond repair and the ones that you have no intention of wearing.

If you can repair one or some of the shoes, get onto it ASAP. If they sit in a ‘To Do’ pile for more than two weeks, they need to go as they will end up becoming a burden.

Do they make you feel guilty?

Decluttering Shoes

Having guilt attached to shoes is more common than you think. We purchase shoes for many reasons, and along with that purchase comes expectations.

Maybe you bought a pair for a single occasion and feel bad that you’ve never worn them since. Or you could have bought an expensive pair of shoes and now have guilt over the amount of money you spent. The shoes may have been a gift from someone, so you feel like you should wear them, or at least keep them.

If the shoes would still fetch some money on the second hand market, selling them can alleviate the guilt of the initial money that you spent on them.

Otherwise, it’s time to thank those shoes for whatever it was they brought to your life and allow them to move on to a new home where they will be loved and cherished.

Every time you see them collecting dust in the back of the closet, that sense of guilt is re-triggered. Although it may be hard to finally part ways, you headspace will be much better for it.

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What to do With Your Decluttered Shoes

Upcycled shoes planters

Once you’ve finished decluttering shoes, it’s important to get the eliminated ones out of the house and moved along as soon as possible!

If they simply get relocated to the garage, they will just become another space’s clutter. Even worse, you might be tempted to go rummaging through the decluttered pile and reclaim what should rightfully be gone.

Shoes that are beyond repair need to go into the rubbish.

If you’ve got a cool old set of shoes that you don’t want to wear anymore, why not turn them into a garden ornament and plant some flowers in them!

Any shoes that might be worth something (or you’d like to get some money for) can go up for sale on eBay, Gumtree or Marketplace.

Have you got a friend of family member who wears the same size as what you’re getting rid of? See if they want any of your decluttered shoes. This is great way to pass on kids shoes.

Any shoes that are left can be donated to a thrift store or local charity.

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How to Organise Your Shoe Collection

Once you’ve completed the task of decluttering shoes, it’s time to organise them. You need to be able to easily see all of the shoes you’ve got, so that they actually get worn.

You can line up any shoe boxes you have at the back of the cupboard on the floor, then display shoes on top of them. Create another row of shoes on the floor in front for a tiered solution.

If you have shelves in your cupboard, try lining up the shoes on the shelves and see if you like how that looks.

Here are some more ideas for shoe organisation and storage:

Now it’s over to you. Time to pull out all of your shoes and get stuck into it.

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