Good grief those shoes. Those shoes. I mean, oh my goodness. Orange and pink and shiny, oh so shiny. The designer box, the silver logo sparkling, catching the light. If only I bought those shoes. My life would be complete. Those beautiful, desirable, golden-stiletto heeled shoes. Oh wow.
So this morning I opened my cupboard and found a pair of shoes I forgot I owned. Staring me right in the face is the absolute irrefutable fact that I have too many shoes. Even though the amount is possibly a quarter of what it once was, that’s still way more than I need. And to come 100% clean…I’m going to list my shoes right now.
Black flats: 2 pairs. This isn’t starting well for a minimalist, is it?
Trainers: 2 pairs, 1 of them too small. Oh no.
Skate/MTB shoes: 1 pair.
Boots: 3 pairs. Crying.
Heels: 7 pairs. Hangs head in stiletto shame.
Wellies: 1 pair.
Slippers: 2 pairs.
Walking boots: 1pair.
So in total, me, writing a minimalist blog right at this very moment, owns 19 pairs of shoes! I’m such a fraud! Or am I?
Before I started writing this article, I truly honestly ‘knew’ that I needed all those shoes. Yes, even all those heels. Even after I totally duffed my ankle up and actually can’t really wear heels for more than an hour any more. But writing it down really puts things in perspective. How many of my shoes are truly useful to me? Minimalism isn’t about throwing away things just because you feel you have to own just 50 things. It’s about only owning things that are useful to you or that you find truly beautiful. And sure, I find a beautifully designed pair of stilettos far more aesthetically pleasing than a Monet or Picasso. It’s just me. But looking at the above ‘list of shame’ I know I don’t use all my shoes. Of course I don’t. I didn’t even realise I still had some of them!
Minimalism is a lifelong journey. I call myself a minimalist and I believe myself to be one. I love the simplicity and ethos and direction of minimalism. But I’m only human, we all are. I do believe all my shoes to be beautiful. But useful? Not all.
So, what of my 19 pairs? Instead of keeping so many ‘just in case’ to match new outfits I know I’m not going to ever buy, I’ll keep just the pairs I know I’ll use and reuse and reheel and love forever. Shoes are my retail addiction. I can’t even express the lure, how much I love them. I have problems, dude. Show me a handbag, a top, some jewellery and I can take it or leave it. But shoes? I could gaze upon them all day and be happy as Larry.
Minimalism isn’t about giving up things to make yourself feel deprived. It’s about refocusing your attention away from endlessly consuming and beginning to feel fulfilled by experiences and growth. So I can find a different way to appreciate and express my shoe love. I can browse Pinterest and look at pictures of shoes way out of my price range, without feeling inadequate for not being able to buy them all. I look at shop windows and shoe halls and appreciate colours, styles and all, knowing that if I’d have bought them, they’d be worn just a few times and relegated back to the cupboard.
I can treasure the items I’ve already got, that I’ll use many, many more times. Classic and timeless and worth repairing. I will only invest when really needed and look for design and quality, not changeable, seasonal quantity. By passing on the cheap stuff, when I need to replace, if I need to replace, I can buy better, knowing they’ll last. And they will be just as beautiful.
Don’t feel bad about owning more than you think you should. Realise it’s not about deprivation. Minimalism gives you a way to focus on what, why and how you consume. Sometimes all it takes is a little list, and a bit of bravery.