It’s the February long weekend in Canada.

Before

Before

Maybe you have resolved to do a bit of a clean up as I have. I could do with some serious streamlining of my belongings.

I’ll share my process with you.

I decided to start at the bottom, with all the shoes I have accumulated over several decades. My shoe purge method follows:

Step 1. Bring out all the shoes in your house; all the boots sitting in corners, all the fancy dress shoes stacked in dark closets,
the flip flops tucked under the bed, the dance shoes in bags, the winter shoes in ‘storage.’ Then line them all up on your living room floor and see what you have.
Take stock and realize what a ridiculous number of shoes one person can accumulate.
Ask yourself ‘Why have I developed this squirrel-like behaviour of storing up footwear for some imaginary future shoe shortage?’

Honestly, no amount of shoes will not save you from the Apocalypse, so get serious about your new dream of a simpler life with fewer shoes.

Then get on with it and begin the classification process.

Non-negotiable

Non-negotiable

Step 2. Make a little pile of shoes that are non-negotiable. For me this category of footwear doesn’t really qualify as shoes.
They are tools that are needed for a specific job, and therefore, necessities. For me this class includes: gardening Wellies, Scottish country dance slippers,
organ shoes, Cowichan knitted house slippers.

These are special function items that I require.
Try not to be sentimental when you are doing this.

These shoes need a ‘raison d’être’ to survive the purge.
These are only shoes after all.

Step 3. Make a pile of shoes that you can discard;
shoes that are broken, torn, completely worn through with holes, and that can not be given away because they are useless.
For me this unfortunately includes Jane Austin re-enactment costume shoes that have seen better days,
and well-used comfy shoes that have done their duty and can be thanked for their service
and laid to rest with deserved respect.

broken shoes

This category goes straight into the garbage bin.

Adieu shoes.

Step 4. This is the hard one. It’s counter intuitive because this category of shoes seems like they should stay in the collection because there is nothing wrong with them. But no. Make a pile of shoes that are lovely and in excellent shape, but honestly you might wear them once again in your lifetime because they don’t fit properly, the heels are uncomfortably high, or for some weird reason, you bought them for a special occasion, but have rarely and will never wear again them. Then bundle them up and take them to a charity shop. For me it’s the Kent Street Mennonite Thrift Shop in Kitchener for resale in aid of local and international relief.

Step 5. Take one more look. Then see the incredible pile of shoes you still have and resolve actually to wear some of these before you buy one single more pair of shoes.

After

After

End of method. Good luck, and share your story here.

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9 Responses to The Great Shoe Purge

  1. Sheila says:

    I went through this exercise when I moved from a house to a condo. The hardest parting was the mukluks used for snow shoeing. But I got rid of the snow shoes years ago, so why do I keep the mukluks? Those shoes I hadn’t worn in over a year went into a box for the Salvation Army. The rest had to fit into two new hanging show racks. Be FIRM I said, but mostly it was sheer lethargy as I couldn’t come up with an excuse to keep them. Now when I buy a new pair of shoes the rule is – if a new one comes in, then two pairs must go out! And so far, almost two years after the move, I have kept that resolve. Otherwise I would be tripping over old shoes.
    Sheila

  2. Nancy Pauls says:

    Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

  3. Scott Hilborn says:

    You might enjoy “The Magical Art of Tidying” or “Spark Joy” by Maria Kondo. I have used her approach for two or three years. It has been so helpful with not only getting stuff cleared out but keeping it cleared. The impact on the kitchen has been amazing. Cheers, Scott.

  4. Shirley martin says:

    Martin
    You have been trained well ,
    Shirley Martin (mother)

  5. Julia says:

    Well done. Inspirational “before and after” photos … and the step-by-step advice is just as good as in Marie Kondo’s best-selling book. :) After I did some purging in the fall, some clothes and a few pairs of shoes went to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop near Bathurst and St Clair. I was so glad they took over after Goodwill closed because it’s a good drop-off location.

    It is hard to part with shoes, but perhaps soon I shall rethink some using your method.

  6. Beth Martin says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Sounds like you had a very productive February long weekend!
    Camping to Concerts – Shoes and coats for all seasons and occasions
    I’m always astounded (and dismayed) by the many pairs of footwear and coats we accumulate around our house in order to live comfortably in a 4-season country and enjoy a variety of activities.
    My black rubber boots with the red line around the top will always be keepers.
    Cheers,
    Beth

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