March 26, 2017

Clutter Spotlight #7: Shoes With No Shoelaces

Here’s a conundrum: shoes with no shoelaces. What do you do with something like that?

Never mind how we got here. It doesn’t really matter whether you purchased shoes without shoelaces, the shoelaces were damaged, or you took the shoelaces away to use with a different pair of shoes. The history doesn’t affect the current question.

Well, okay, if you must know:

I got these black shoes with neon green shoelaces. I wore them that way maybe twice and then realized black with neon green just isn’t me! I really wanted black shoelaces that would match the shoes. Then I realized I had a pair of green shoes that could use new shoelaces. That worked perfectly, but then, I never got the black shoelaces that I’ll need for these shoes.

In a case like this you want to make sure you’re not using the minor defect as an excuse for keeping something you don’t really want. You might indulge in “if only” thinking, “If only these shoes had shoelaces I would have another nice pair of shoes to wear,” only to discover after you get the shoelaces that the shoes are the wrong color, they’re as worn out as the shoelaces you threw away, they don’t quite fit, you already have more similar items than you could ever use, or something like that. If you wouldn’t keep the shoes if they had shoelaces, it doesn’t make any sense to keep them just because they don’t have shoelaces.

There are none of those problems in this situation, though. Just a good pair of shoes which will be needed in the not-too-distant future, and the absence of the shoelaces that will also be needed.

It’s important not to mistake this situation for a repair project. Imagine a pair of shoes where the outsole is coming loose and you would have to glue it back in place to continue wearing the shoes, but you’ve postponed that task for more than a year. Probably you’ve put that off for a reason. The time and effort you would put in doing the repair is greater than the few extra weeks you might get out of a pair of shoes that has started to fall apart. Let’s face it, they were not your favorite shoes anyway — if they were, you would have done the repair immediately. Almost always, an item that needs a repair that you’re not willing to do is an item you should throw away. But throwing away shoes because getting shoelaces seems hard to do, throwing away a table lamp that just needs a new light bulb, or throwing away the dishes that you don’t feel like washing is actually the kind of impractical, out-of-proportion thinking that is at the root of the hoarder state of mind. Any task that has been postponed will start to take on emotional weight, but regardless of how you feel about it, it is still just a pair of shoelaces that is at issue.

Repairs are iffy by nature, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but installing shoelaces is part of the normal life of shoes. If you’ve laced shoes before, you can do it again in about a minute. If you’ve never put a shoelace in a shoe, I’m sure there is a video online that explains the whole process, and it still will take only a few minutes. If buying shoelaces is an obstacle, there is a good chance that you can simply wait until the shoes you’re wearing now are done for, and take those shoelaces when you throw the shoes away.

Keep the shoes. Get shoelaces to match.

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