Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Survive With Only 25 Pairs of Shoes

Hello, Gorgeous! Although some of you may find the title of this post absurd because you think 25 pairs of shoes is excessive, I think many others will be surprised that a shoe and fashion lover like myself can live with just 25 pairs (like Sarah from Ms. Eggplant's Chronicles, who recently tallied up her 76 pairs of shoes)! Well, I'm about to tell you how I do it, and how you can do it, too! Cutting down on your shoe collection isn't easy, but it can provide some much needed space and organization in your home.

My current shoe collection (sans 2 pairs of flip flops).
Before I get started on my how to, I quickly wanted to explain why I decided to write this post. Last night, I saw a pair of pumps at DSW that I really wanted, but decided not to get because I'm trying to save money for items I need rather than those I simply want. When I showed the picture of them to my boyfriend, he said "It's ok you didn't buy them, you probably wouldn't wear them anyway. You don't wear half the shoes you have." I was a bit shocked by this statement, because I only have 25 pairs of shoes, so if he was correct, I only wear 12-13 way. Thus, I decided to go through my collection, see which shoes I really don't wear, and walk you through how I keep my closet from overflowing with shoes. But first, the shoes I so desperately wanted yesterday...

Poetic Licence "Dazzling Day" Pump
Ok, now that I'm done lusting over those gorgeous pumps, time to show you how to keep your shoe collection from overrunning your closet!

1. Divide & Conquer. The first thing to do is to go through your shoes and pull out all the pairs you haven't worn in the last 6 months. Don't be too lenient or make excuses here. Just grab any pair that hasn't seen action in a while.
See, the boyfriend was wrong- I only have 11 pairs I haven't worn in the last six months- not half! ;)
2. Keep what you need. Next, determine the reason you haven't worn each pair of these shoes.  For example, I haven't worn these wedges because it's been winter here in Chicago for the last 6 months.

3. Keep ONLY what you need. Put back the shoes you are certain you will wear, but haven't because of the weather or some other extenuating circumstance (e.g. I just bought the zebra print shoes a few weeks ago, so not wearing them yet is excusable).

4. Say Goodbye. Take a look at what's left. If you haven't worn these shoes in the last 6 months and don't have a very good reason for not wearing them, it's time to say goodbye.

These white satin peep toes haven't been worn since the wedding I bought them for 3 years ago- time to say goodbye.
5. Sell, Donate, Trash.  Separate this "goodbye" pile into three groups: Sell, Donate, and Trash.
    • Sell shoes are any that are in good to excellent condition and are a brand that people seek out. Don't waste your time trying to sell shoes that you're only going to get a few bucks for. Ebay and consignment shops are great options for selling these shoes.
    • Donate any shoes that are still in good shape, but probably won't bring in much money. You can always check Ebay's completed listings to see how much similar shoes sell for, then determine if you should sell or donate. Goodwill and the Salvation Army will gladly take any shoes that are still in fairly good condition.
    • Trash any shoes that are no longer in good condition. Worn out shoes that are falling apart don't look good on anyone, no matter how much you love them.
The shoes on the left are "donate" shoes, because they are in good condition, but are also a low end brand that wouldn't bring in much money. The shoes in the middle go in the sell pile, because BCBG Paris is a brand people look for, and they are in excellent condition. The BCBG Paris shoes on the right should just be trashed, because they're worn out.
6. Buy what you still need. Once you've figured out what to do with your "goodbye" pile, take a look back at what you have, and determine if you need to add any new shoes to your wardrobe. For example, I only have two pairs of dress flats. I could probably use another pair of flats (especially in a color other than black or brown), so I can allow myself to purchase these, since I really do need them, and I've just gotten rid of some shoes I don't need/want.
7. Maintain. Once you've parsed down your shoe collection to a reasonable size, make sure to maintain. Cutting back on what you have isn't an excuse to go buy 50 more pairs of shoes. Each time you want to buy a new pair, ask yourself which pair you currently own that the new pair might replace, or which pair of shoes are on their last leg. This method has allowed me to keep my collection to around 25 pairs for the last 3-4 years, and has kept my closet from becoming too cluttered.

So there you have it!  Seven easy steps to declutter your shoe collection and still have a gorgeous pair to wear with every outfit! Although I think it's totally fine to have more or fewer than 25 pairs of shoes, make sure your collection is sufficient for your needs, but also isn't unmanageable. If you feel like you never have the right pair of shoes to wear, don't be afraid to buy a few new pairs, but if you can't seem to remember half the pairs you own, consider cutting back and keep only shoes you truly love and will wear.

One last tip: Quality is always better than quantity. Buy shoes that will last and you will find you don't need as many pairs, nor do you spend as much money in the long run.

How many pairs of shoes do you all currently have? Do you feel you have too few or two many? Any other tips you have for closet organization? I'd love to hear from you!
P.S. Haute Lunch is featured on today, so check it out!


  1. Hey sweetie great post though I have to agree with your opening statement - 25 pairs of shoes?! I only have like 12 hehe but I will also agree that for a shoe lover that really isn't much - great idea about how to clear your shoe collection - believe it or not I need to do the same with only 12 pairs because i do need new shoes but i think i need to clear out the old to decide which ones i need to get! Again great post my sweets x x x

  2. Your last tip is one I need to remind myself of every time I go shopping. I have a bad habit of buying cheap shoes! It's so much better to buy quality shoes that are comfortable and last. If I hadn't spent $15 on a pair of shoes that are already falling apart, I'd be halfway to a pair of converse all stars on ebay!

    Great post! :D

  3. Holy cow. We are so on the same wavelength. I recently purged shoes from my closet and just have them sitting in a pile. I've been waiting to do a post just like yours!!! I'll do it, as a follow up to yours!! You're inspiring me to get going on it :)

  4. I could NEVER do that ... Never :P Besides I DO wear all my Shoes! One day per shoe ;)

    ♡ from ©

  5. yay! congrats on being featured on the front page of Bloggers!

    this was a very informative post that I really enjoyed. At some point I will need to do this with my shoe closet as well.

  6. I just downgraded my shoe collection too!! It seems like there's a need for every pair but I know better. I won't wear them all, I just like to think I will! Thanks for the tips :)

  7. so interesting! I'll be following those steps! Thank you for your comment too, sorry for the late reply, I've been away. Though I've got new posts up now! Izzy xx

  8. Thanks, ladies! Seems a lot of us are in the same "spring cleaning" mindset! :)

  9. Gorgeous shoe collection and lovely advice, darling!


  10. Haha, I just did a mini closet purge actually, and some shoes said buh-bye! Going to try to sell a few, donate a few and like you said, trash a few! Love the glimpse into your shoe collection, though have to say that every shoe closet needs at least a pair or two of statement-making heels like the ones you're lusting after!

  11. I wear most of the shoes here because we had to move them 9000 miles!
    I have maybe 14 pairs here but seriously live in my Fit flop sandals. I have at least 14 pairs in my parent's house in NYC and have been thinking about selling them off. I really should!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  12. I LOVE this post. I have so many shoes I never wear, but I could never let them go.
    Love your blog, definitely a new follower!
    Have a great day!

  13. Haha I wish I had at least that many shoes!

  14. I loved reading this... I need to dig through my closet and purge shoes, purses, belts, pretty much everything that I haven't worn {or just don't enjoy wearing.}

    I am starting to get that... packed full closet, but have nothing to wear feeling. Thanks for the tips, I am going to practice what you preach this weekend :)

  15. great idea! i just sorted out my shoe closet!

  16. Just stumbled across this blog & LOVED your post!! You've written a really concise, step-by-step guide to help girls pare down their shoe collection. I have about 220 or so pairs thanks to your helped me get rid of those that weren't needed or used frequently enough to justify them wasting closet space. Thanks so much :)