How many shoes do I need?

alt="woman wearing red shoes"
alt=”woman wearing red shoes”

Are you a one-shoe person or have you got more than you can count? Ever wondered whether you have too many shoes or how many you need? Well, the correct number for any person depends on many factors such as lifestyle and there is likely to be no right or wrong answer. But I think everyone living in Northern Europe like me needs six pairs of shoes. I will explain why and what types of shoes you need below. By the way, this applies to men and women alike.

Pair 1:

Everyone needs a pair of walking and or exercise shoes unless you are a couch potato, but I hope most of you dear readers will be aware of the health benefits of exercise. So one of your six should be a pair of trainers or hiking boots.

Pair 2:

Everyone also needs a pair of fancy shoes for special occasions such as weddings, interviews, funerals etc. I would go for a muted colour such as black or brown, so they fit with everything. (Mine are red, call me a hypocrite!)

Pair 3:

Your third pair should be a pair of everyday shoes, comfortable, but slightly dressier than trainers. I wear Doc Martens, but the choice is entirely yours.

Pair 4:

Pairs 4 and 5 are seasonal shoes. A pair of sandals is necessary for those hot days when it is too warm to wear proper shoes. One pair is plenty as it is never hot for too many days here in Northern Europe.

Pair 5:

Everyone should also have a pair of padded warm shoes for when it gets cold. Of course, you could just wear warm socks with your other shoes but trust me on chilly days they are worth their weight in gold.

Pair 6:

Everyone needs slippers for the house, you do not want to annoy the neighbours by wearing your outdoor shoes. You want to keep the floor clean and your feet warm on frosty winter nights.

Do you really need any more shoes than the ones mentioned above, in my opinion, no? Do I have more than six shoes, I better come out clean now, I do. For your info, I have about 10. But think before you buy another pair of shoes. Do you need them? How many heels do you need, considering you cannot walk in them? Do you need brown or black dress shoes when all your suits are the same colour?

What is minimalism?

People often misunderstand minimalism and see us, minimalists, as weirdos who own one plate, and two t-shirts and have empty rooms with white walls in their house. Minimalists in their minds also have a fixed prescribed number of items which they must not alter or increase. While I have white walls and many extreme minimalists have almost no furniture minimalism is not an instruction manual on how to live your life. We are not weird or saddos that deprive ourselves of life’s pleasures.

It’s quite simple: to be a minimalist you must live with less than 100 things, you can’t own a car or a home or a television, you can’t have a career, you must live in exotic hard-to-pronounce places all over the world, you must start a blog, you can’t have children, and you must be a young white male from a privileged background.

OK, we’re joking—obviously. (The Minimalists)

So, what exactly is minimalism and how do minimalists live their lives. As with many concepts and philosophies, there is not one minimalism, but many varieties. Below I will explain the basic concept of minimalism and what it means to be a minimalist in my book.

You might have heard about The Minimalists, who I have quoted above, alongside Marie Kondo are the most famous proponents of minimalism and define it as such:

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.

I see minimalism to live with fewer ‘things’ in your life, be they material possession, hobbies, projects, or people. Instead of amassing endless material possessions of low quality or being engaged in endless activities and feeling stressed and overwhelmed, decide what truly matters to you and what adds value to your life.

I am cautious about what I purchase and concentrate on quality rather than quantity. So, for example, I will buy one pair of high-quality shoes in a neutral colour that will last me for many years rather than have many pairs of low quality.

I also think about whether I really need something before I buy it. Do I need that electronic gadget or will what I have suffice? For instance, I do not own a smartwatch as my tablet and phone do the same things.

On the other hand, I have multiple teapots because I use them all and they add value to my life.

In terms of non-material possessions, I have started doing fewer things, but for those that I do, I devote all my energy to them.

In a nutshell, one can sum up minimalism as intentional living. Lead a life that fulfils and makes you happy and that does not make you stressed. Don’t chase after something that advertising or keeping up with the Joneses has made us want. To give a concrete example, how many people have jobs they dislike and find stressful? Many people then do retail therapy or get drunk at the end of the week. Buying all these things means they need more money, which means they will work, longer and harder. In minimalism, you are mindful of what you consume and how you spend your time so you can do more of what matters to you.

One criticism of minimalism is that it is something for the middle classes and not for ordinary people. While it is beyond the scope of this post to define class, loads of people would describe me as middle class, I do not think minimalism is a class issue. Everyone regardless of their economic status can reduce the number of items they possess and things they do in their lives. Minimalists come in all shapes and sizes. There is Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, who is married with kids and a big house. There is Cedric Waldburger, a rich entrepreneur who owns less than 55 things and travels the world.

Like what you read above and want to give minimalism a go, below are some tips on how you get started on your minimalism journey taken from Intut Mint Life:

  1. Shop Quality, Not Quantity
  2. Digitize Movies and Books
  3. Eliminate, Eliminate, Eliminate
  4. Invest In Reusables
  5. Give Everything a Place
  6. Invest in Experiences
  7. Cut Meaningless Expenses
  8. Appreciate What You Have

I hope the above has given you some ideas of what minimalism is and how you could start your minimalism journey. I will go deeper into this topic in future videos.

30 Day Minimalism Game

Last week I wrote a blog in which I introduced you to the concept of minimalism. Maybe my article has inspired you to downsize and become more minimalist, but you don’t quite know where to start. Your apprehension is quite understandable, after all discarding many of your possessions, even if you’re not a hoarder, will be hard and time-consuming. How about letting out the inner child in you and joining me in the minimalism game?

A game, you ask! How does this work? Read on to find out.

This game can be played solo, but who wants to do Solitaire when there is Monopoly, UNO, or Chess to be played? So, play along with me for the next 30 days or find a friend, family member or co-worker to compete against.

The rules of the Minimalism game are incredibly easy, and you will not need a PhD to get the hang of it. All you need is willpower, some black bin bags, and time for the charity shop.

So how do you play it? The game lasts for one month and you need some time each day, the exact amount will vary and a couple of hours at the end of the month to wrap up. Starting on day one, you will get rid of one item, on day two you get rid of two items, on day three you get rid of three items and so on. If you manage to play daily until the end of the month, you will get rid of 465 items in your house. Do the maths if you do not believe me.

What should I get rid of? What counts as an item? Well, you can make your own rules, but they need to be sensible. Don’t count out of date food as a discarded item or count every screw in a box. For me, a box of screws counts as one item, but several lipsticks in a drawer or box are separate in my book.

In the minimalism game, you can get rid of anything you like, books, CDs clothing, kitchen items or old newspapers, the more the better.

Every item that you decide to part with must leave your house, be they recycled, donated, or thrown in the bin, they cannot be in your house by the end of the 30 days.

The first few days will be extremely easy, everyone can find one or two things to discard, but the longer you go on the harder it will become.

If you want to play along with me comment below. Send your pictures of what you donate so everyone can see your progress. We are starting on the 9th of June. Whoever goes furthest shall be crowned the winner.

What to do if you fail? Do not worry this is just a bit of fun, getting to day 10, 15 or 20 is great. Think you will have already parted with many, many items and that is a good thing in my book.