How To Declutter Shoes: Let Them Go the Easy Way

Are you at the point where you don’t have space to store even one more pair of shoes? But… you LOVE shoes! If you have the nagging feeling that something needs to be done, let’s talk about how to declutter shoes in a discerning way that makes the process nearly effortless.

Decluttering clothes and shoes always seems to be some of the more difficult organizing projects people struggle with. If you need help with clothing, I also have information on how to declutter your wardrobe

Text how to declutter your shoes on white background over image of several pairs of shoes lined up on wood floor.

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Why It’s Important to Declutter Your Shoes

Let’s face it, when it comes to shoes, nobody wants a single one of them to leave their collection. This might not seem like a problem, but over time your closet (not to mention your wallet) is going to start to show the strain. 

Decluttering shoes brings out a lot of emotions… joyful memories, guilt over not wearing the expensive shoes you splurged on, sadness that a favorite pair is damaged, irritation at HAVING to declutter when you know in your heart everything would be okay if you could just find better storage solutions.

Hard truth: When you have so many shoes that you don’t even know what’s in your inventory, then you have TOO MANY SHOES.  

Prioritizing and taking it down a few notches (read: decluttering) will leave you in a better place to enjoy your BEST footwear… and leave you with space for the occasional new addition.

You may not ever feel completely ready, but it’s got to be done. Making the process straightforward and practical can take most of the sting out of it. 

So, ask yourself the following questions and get ready to declutter. Grab a black trash bag and a donation box and dive in.

How Do You Know What Shoes to Get Rid Of?

Woman with long blond hair holding a shoe in each hand while standing in front of shoe closet and trying to declutter shoes.

Don’t worry, you really CAN make an empty space in your closet! The right questions make the whole process much, much easier.

These 4 simple questions for how to clear out shoes will get you started. Be brutally honest with yourself when answering! Also, watch for these four words:

  • Should
  • Could
  • Would
  • Might

Every time you think of a ‘reason’ for keeping a pair of shoes and it contains one of these words, you will KNOW it’s just an excuse to avoid decluttering clothes and shoes. That alone will make the biggest difference. 😉 

Do these shoes go with an outfit you no longer have?

If so, they should go. We often choose a pair that only goes with one specific outfit. Deep down, you know these shoes have already served their purpose. It’s time to let them go. You won’t buy the exact same outfit again, so those shoes go into the ‘declutter space’ and can probably be donated.

Oh, by the way, the same goes for shoes matching outfits that don’t fit you right now. That one probably eliminated a few more pairs, didn’t it? See how easy this is?

Are these shoes too small?

It’s pretty much a given that your feet aren’t going to shrink. And even though those shoes might look great in your collection, shoes that don’t fit are totally useless. So remove the shoes that are too small and relieve your mind… and your feet! 

Even if the shoes aren’t too small… If they hurt in ANY way, let them go. Don’t worry, we’ll find a good home for them.

Are the shoes damaged?

If you’re hanging on to damaged shoes and you know that you aren’t going to have them repaired (come on, let’s be honest), then they need to go into the trash. If you’re keeping them for nostalgia, take a picture instead and get rid of them. They are only taking up valuable space and not doing you any good.

Are they out of style?

Yes, fashion trends can travel in circles and then ‘retro’ fashion comes into play. But if you don’t wear certain pairs of your shoes that are out of style or no longer YOUR current style, then there is really no practical reason to keep them. 

Sometimes we feel that ‘more shoes is better’ but that is SOOO not the case. Having a smaller collection of perfect shoes looks much sharper and lets you accessorize without spending 30 minutes searching and digging. 

If you haven’t worn them in over a year AND you have an overabundance of shoes, the older ones just aren’t earning their storage space. So be practical — I know, I know, ‘but they’re SHOES,’ just stay with me here — it’s about the QUALITY of your collection, not the quantity. 

What Can You Do With the Shoes In the Declutter Pile?

Several pairs of decluttered shoes lined up on wood floor with heels at top and sneakers at the bottom.

There are a number of options for where to donate your stuff after decluttering. You can donate the shoes to a national or local charity, for instance, where someone less fortunate is going to take them home, WEAR THEM, and cherish them just like you once did. 

Another option comes from the company Zappos, who have partnered with Soles4Souls. They are a great option if you aren’t sure which local place you might want to donate your shoes to. 

Visit the Zappos website for more information about the Soles4Souls program. They have a simple process where you box up your new or gently used shoes, print a prepaid label, create a Zappos account, and then ship them off.

It’s easy to do and you get the satisfaction of knowing that your decluttering will make a real difference.

More Help for Decluttering and Organizing

9 Reasons You Fear Decluttering Clothes {And How to Get Past It}

Declutter Tips for When You’re Overwhelmed With Too Much Stuff

30 Inspirational Decluttering Quotes You Need In Your Life

How to Organize a Small Master Closet

Great Tools to Organize Shoes

Now that you have your collection of your best shoes, you’ll want to store them in a way that’s easy to access… and maybe pretty at the same time. 😉 

Slim storage for flat shoes looks sleek and is so functional! Be sure to check reviews for any brands you’re considering, as some brands seem to have poor construction.  

The flexibility of modular shoe storage options is a real bonus if you have the space and want a DIY solution. These clear plastic shoe storage boxes are also very pretty!

I love the looks of this 28” diameter rotating shoe rack… plus the tier heights can be customized when ordering. This is definitely on the ‘wow’ end of the storage spectrum. 

Want to keep things simple? An over-the-door shoe organizer might be perfect for your needs.

Just remember, great shoe storage is NOT an excuse to keep too many shoes! A slightly minimalist display style is easy on the eyes and makes it a cinch to locate the perfect pair for your outfit.

What are you waiting for? Go declutter your shoes!

Once you’ve asked yourself the practical questions for how to downsize shoes, then you know what the next step is… Time to get to work!  

It’s the right thing to do, it’s practical, and your decluttered shoe collection is going to be the best of the best. So go through those questions, and before you know it the shoe section of your closet will be pristine, decluttered, and let’s not kid ourselves… ready for (only the perfect) NEW shoes to come!

You’ve got this!

Ready to declutter the rest of your house? Grab this 62-item quick-start list and get to purging the clutter FAST…


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