You can never have too many pairs of shoes! Though storing them is always an issue. Since they aren't easily stackable, Linda Rothschild is here to give us some helpful tips on how to make sure your precious soles are being carefully taken care of when they aren't on your feet.
SOLUTION #1: TRY THEM ON FOR SIZE
Imposing order on a shoe collection is impossible until you know which ones you really need. Pull out a few pairs at a time, try on each pair, and ask yourself; Do they fit comfortably? Do I like them? Do I have clothes that match? If the shoes are shabby, can they be repaired? If you answer no to any of these questions, put the shoes in the donation box. You'll probably never miss them.
SOLUTION #2: THINK SEASONALLY
Sort what's left into three groups - fall and winter, spring and summer, and special occasions. Keep the in-season shoes readily accessible - on a rack in the bottom of your closet, in a hanging canvas shoe bag, or on an over-the-door or wall-mounted rack. Store out-of-season and special-occasion shoes in clear plastic boxes or cubbies at the top of a closet or in a spare room. When the seasons change, move the shoes at the bottom of the closet up top and the ones on top, down.
SOLUTION #3: PLAN FOR EXPANDABILITY
When buying shoe racks or boxes, buy more then you need. That way new purchases will end up tidily stowed rather than heaped on the closet floor.
SOLUTION #4: PLAN FOR VERSATILITY
If you want to keep your shoe collection permanently pared down, buy with versatility in mind. If you want just one pair of evening shoes, buy metallic ones, which are more versatile than black. Mid-heel pumps, delicate soled flats, and knee-high rather than ankle, boots can work with pants and skirts.
This story first appeared in Real Simple in March 2001.