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How to Effectively Downsize Your Sneaker Collection

Date: January 16 2020

By: Minh Vuong

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There are times when some sneakerheads probably wish they were centipedes. Despite owning dozens, if not hundreds, of pairs of sneakers, we can only wear one pair at a time. After a while, that can become a crushing realisation. Eventually, the penny drops, and we simply cannot continue to house our entire collection.

After your writer came to the same epiphany over the holiday break, radical management techniques have been brought in to cull the stash.

Yes, it can be hard to get rid of sneakers. After all, some of us treat them like children. Each and every one special in its own way, and they all have a story to tell. However, if you can bring yourself to accepting that they are ‘just shoes’, a tidy little downsize could be life-changing.

Here is our guide to thinning down the herd. The hardest part is deciding which shoes to keep. Our methods begin with some simple practices, before some complex formulas are introduced to help you judiciously cull some kicks.

The Floor Is Lava

This is a preliminary step, used to visually identify if shoes need to go. Assuming you already have some dedicated storage for your collection, envisage that area as the physical constraint for your haul. As soon as shoeboxes creep out of bounds, and find themselves in unauthorised areas – like pantry shelves or the floor – it’s time to rethink your priorities. Play the childhood game ‘The Floor Is Lava’ and get those kicks off the ground! If you can’t fit all of your pairs into the allocated space, it’s time to get ruthless.

Marie Kondo

Image credit: @mariekondo

The KonMari Method

Organisation consultant, Marie Kondo, seemed to take the world by storm when she graced Netflix streamers’ screens this time last year with her eponymous show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Known for her straightforward approach to de-cluttering, Kondo’s method involves grouping items by category, then asking ourselves the vital question: ‘Does this spark joy?’

If yes, keep the shoes. If no, it’s time to move them on. This is the simplest way to divide your sneaker collection into two obvious baskets. However, sentimentality, hoarding mindsets, and pure laziness can complicate the KonMari Method. And, now that she’s spruiking tuning forks and rose quartz crystals, some of her credibility no longer sparks joy. Take the next steps to filter down your choices.

Excel Spreadsheets

If you’re a good sneakerhead, and store your shoes in their original boxes, pat yourself on the back. However, there is a downside to your fastidiousness: it’s extremely easy to forget what’s inside each box, because most of them are made from opaque cardboard.

To work around this, you need to log what shoes you actually own. Open a new Excel spreadsheet and start three columns: brand, model, and colourway or style code. Sort the brand column by A to Z, and it should group your collection alphabetically by brand.

The next step is to use the traffic light system, which also uses the KonMari Method as a starting point. Highlight cells in green if the shoes spark joy. Red if they do not spark joy. And yellow for shoes that occasionally spark joy. For these pesky yellow cells, use ‘The Window’…

The Window (Warning: Maths Involved!)

This refers to the last time the sneakers in question were worn. Years of experience and experimentation have allowed us to devise a formula to determine the duration of The Window:

Let W be an unknown value representing The Window’s duration in days.

Let N be equal to the number of pairs of sneakers in a collection.

W = N

Therefore, The Window is open for the amount of days equal to the number of sneakers owned in a collection.

Which means, to determine whether a pair of sneakers is to be kept, we refer to the formula. If the sneakers have been worn within The Window, then they are kept. If the duration exceeds The Window, bye bye sneakers. One important condition of The Window is it applies to each sneaker independently, so it resets each time they’re worn.

For example, if someone owns 10 pairs of sneakers, and wears a particular pair on January 1, they have until January 11 to wear them again before the Window is closed. But, if they wear the shoes again on January 5, they have until January 15. This methodology is quite manageable with smaller sneaker collections, but if someone has hundreds of shoes, it becomes easy to lose track. If all else fails…

Let Your Significant Other Choose

It’s very likely you didn’t want to get rid of your sneakers in the first place, and your partner, parents, or other authoritative figure told you to. If they want you to downsize your collection, then maybe the onus should be on them to choose what stays and what goes.

Disclaimer: this method may result in arguments and heartbreak. Despite the obvious risk in divulging this information, always be honest and tell them how much your shoes really cost, rather than extremely low figures. Because, they’ll use your low-priced quotes as a reason to get rid of the ‘low priced ones’.

Good luck.

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