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Minimized Monthly: Shoe Clutter Edition

June 26, 2017
Minimized Monthly

Last month, I tackled my closet clutter. The month before, I ditched my kitchen clutter. This month, I’m tackling an area of ‘things’ that some people are very passionate about – shoe clutter!

My shoe collection has never really been that big – but that’s all relative of course! If I could, I would survive with two pairs of shoes only – my 8-year-old Blundstones, and my off-brand Birkenstocks. These two pairs alone could cover 75% of my seasonal needs. Being Canadian, I can’t escape needing winter boots. Curse you winter! (No really, winter is the worst.)

What I can escape, is needing many of the pairs I have accumulated since embarking on my minimalist journey.

How did I come to accumulate a bunch of shoe clutter I don’t need? Well, that’s a funny story and it comes in three parts.

Current Shoe Clutter Collection
I can’t believe I still own 20 pairs of shoes!

Weddings Are The Worst

Ok, let me clarify. Weddings are not the worst, but they do a weird thing to me. I’ve had the privilege of attending four weddings in the last two years, and for each one, I felt like I had to purchase new outfits. Which is, of course, complete nonsense. But that’s how it played out for me.

Wedding Invitation = Inferiority Complex = Shopping Spree

Value Village for the Win

Being the frugal minimalist that I am, I marched myself off to my local Value Village to purchase ‘new’ shoes. While this is the conscientious and environmentally friendly choice, because I can afford to buy more than one pair of shoes, I did! In my recovering shopaholic brain (more on that coming to the blog in a couple of weeks), the deals at Value Village were too hard to resist. Why only buy one pair of used shoes when I could afford 2 or 3 pairs for the same price as 1 new pair?

Foot Dysmorphia

So I’m at Value Village, deciding which shoe gem will make me ‘worthy’ in the eyes of my wedding peers, when I spot them. A super funky pair of shoes that are totally my style, and within my budget. The only problem? They are a half size too big or too small. Confession time: I have this thing where I think my feet are either smaller or larger than they actually are. And of course, I convince myself I can stretch them out if they are too small, or add insoles if they are too big. Which, I’ve never actually done. So now, I have another pair of shoes added to my shopping cart.

The ultimate irony of this? I never wore any of the wedding shoes I bought to the weddings I was invited to – I wore an old trusted pair of ankle boots! So I accumulated all that shoe clutter for no reason.

That was an incredibly long explanation for something that could have been said in a couple of sentences. However, I think it’s a process a lot of you can probably relate to, so I regret nothing!

Which shoes are on the chopping block this month?

In total, I am minimizing 8 pairs of shoes from my life including two pairs of loafers, two pairs of boots, one pair each of rainboots, oxfords, heels, and sandals.

Before and After: Shoe Clutter
Shoe clutter on the left = buh-bye! Shoes on the right = my favourites!

Why am I minimizing them from my life?

  • They don’t fit.
  • I’ve never worn them.
  • I hate heels (and you should too).
  • They’re in poor condition.
  • They hurt my feet.

Where is my shoe clutter going?

Most will be going back to the Value Village I purchased them from in the first place. A couple of pairs are in good condition and are from desirable(ish) brands, so I might try selling them. Although, as we learned last week, selling requires a commitment that might be beyond me.

** Update: Since I originally wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, I came across some deeply discounted insoles that I used to make the Oxfords work! For once I actually followed through on my DIY attitude!**

If you want some life tested advice on how to start decluttering your life, check out last week’s post for a step-by-step guide.

Are shoes your minimalist kryptonite? Let me know in the comments!



  • Karla Teague November 30, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I just stumbled in here and thought I’d leave a comment (why not right?). Shoes are definitely not my kryptonite – I have 2 pairs of nikes, keens, snow boots, and a dress boot for Sundays. But…..only one of the 2 pair of nikes is actually comfortable. The others are painful to wear, but since I bought them new I keep them around and at least once a week try to make them work. Usually by mid-morning I’m in the other pair.
    Your post is that proverbial straw. Tomorrow I’m taking them to the free clothing closet we have here in town and hoping someone else has better luck with them! Thanks for the nudge.

    • Britt November 30, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Karla! Welcome to Tiny Ambitions! Thanks for your comment. It’s so funny how long keep shoes or clothes around that don’t fit or are downright painful. I still have several pairs of heels I need to kick to the curb. Go forth and declutter!

  • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment July 17, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Hurrah for getting rid of shoe clutter! I found it really difficult to downsize my shoe collection, although I did manage to in the end. I still feel like I have a few too many pairs, but at least I now know that every pair I have, I am actually using! I love your Birkis, by the way – that style is super cute. I adore mine and have had them for 5 years and counting. Such a great investment!

    • tinyambitions July 17, 2017 at 6:50 am

      I still feel like I have too many as well! But at least it’s a starting point. Shoes for me definitely need to be an investment, otherwise they just won’t last long enough for me to justify buying them! That’s why I love my almost nine year old Blundstones- they’re falling apart but I still wear them almost every day!

  • Courtney A. Casto June 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I can completely relate though for me it’s more clothes than shoes. Still, I have quite a few pairs of shoes I have never worn and keep because they are cute. They don’t fit, they hurt my feet, I will never wear them but they are cute. You’re inspired me – I’m going to declutter my closet AND my shoe collection. The weddings get me every time too!

    • tinyambitions June 28, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Yah! I’m glad you’re inspired by my bad habits! Weddings are the worst- we need to get over the social pressure that often accompanies big events like that. Good luck with your closet decluttering and thanks for reading!

  • Jing June 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I used to have a really bad shoe buying problem. I was an addict! I worked in both corporate retail AND I worked sales at a shoe store. It’s not great when you work among your kryptonite @__@ I just threw away probably 30 pairs of shoes last December, and now I try to remind myself of that same pain whenever I’m tempted to buy a pair.

    The funny thing is 80% of the time I buy shoes, it’s literally because I admire the shoe so much and then I think “THOSE HAVE TO BE MINE” even though they aren’t “my style”. It’s really weird how humans see something pretty and just it to be ours!

    • tinyambitions June 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only recovering shoe addict! When I was in university, I was obsessed with heels. Any gorgeous pair I saw, I had to have. There was only one problem with that: I can’t walk in heels! So I had all these pairs of shoe art that never got used because I’m the clumsiest human ever. I’ve definitely learnt my lesson- don’t buy something because you want it to be your style, when it really isn’t! Thanks for reading Jing!

  • luxestrategist June 26, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Shoes aren’t my kryptonite, but I can totally understand wanting to shop when you get a wedding invite. Actually, that bugged me about my friends attending my own wedding. So many were stressing about what to wear as a guest, and looking to buy new outfits. And I’m like, don’t worry, just find something in your closet already!

    I rarely wear dresses, so my wedding guest strategy is to have two go-to dresses:
    -1 for summer weddings
    -1 for winter weddings

    If ppl see me repeat, I don’t care. Then I have a pair of nude shoes and black ones that will work for whatever occasion, so I wear one of those. I also have only 1 fancy clutch. Maybe it doesn’t match that well, but I don’t mind.

    I think every time I’ve made something work from my own closet, I’ve always ALWAYS been glad I made that decision instead of buying something new.

    Glad you were able to assess the root prob of the shoe buying, and could eliminate the unneeded pairs. Starting to declutter is the hardest part!

    • tinyambitions June 26, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      The funny thing is, I’m well over ‘beginning’ to declutter. It’s been three years since I started decluttering in earnest. It’s funny how things can slowly start to creep back in when you aren’t paying attention.

      As for wedding outfits, I’m the same way as you (now). I have one dress for summer and one for winter and I love both of them completely. I could care less if people see me in the same dress twice- I know the money I’m saving! Thanks for reading!

  • Brittany June 26, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I’ve found that having a dog is a great way to declutter shoes (i.e. she chews them, I have no choice but to toss them) lol. I feel like I could probably get rid of most of the shoes I own with a few exceptions – my brown leather riding boots, my beloved Birkenstocks, my Keens that I take camping/hiking, and maybe a couple other pairs. I used to buy loads of terrible quality shoes from Target. They were cheap but they of course didn’t last. I’ve recently learned to really think on what kind of shoes I want and then pay a little more. So far, so good!

    Great post!

    • tinyambitions June 26, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Oh no! I have a cat and she has no interest in my shoes (electrical cords are another story). I’m the same as you! My Keens, Blundstones and Birks are shoes I would never want to part with. Thankfully, my days of buying poor quality Target shoes are long gone! Thanks for reading Brittany!

  • Yaz | The Wallet Moth June 26, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Glad you managed to find a way to get some wear out of the Oxfords! I definitely used to have a shoe problem! Boots, loafers, trainers, pumps, converse – you name it, I had it.

    Saying goodbye to my shoes to say travelling was definitely the hardest – I carted three pairs around with me for 3 months until one got a hole and forced my hand!

    Now I am down to TWO pairs – trainers and flip flops. I do miss my boots though…

    • tinyambitions June 26, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Wow that’s super impressive!! I don’t know if I’ll ever get down to that few pairs but I will certainly be more mindful of what I ‘need’ footwear wise from now on. My only hope is that my Blundstones last forever so I never have to replace them! Thanks for reading!

  • MyStrategicDollar June 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I don’t have much of a show problem, but I fully support eliminating any and all clutter, so have at it! But don’t forget to sell them then pay off some debt!

    • tinyambitions June 26, 2017 at 8:28 am

      I’ve tried selling stuff in the past, but there just isn’t a market for it where I live. I’ll hold on to the better quality items for a while and if they don’t sell, off to Value Village they go! Thanks for reading!

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.