Are You a Shoe Hoarder?
Stylist Alison Lukes Teer on the art of proper shoe care, storage and knowing when to toss 'em.
Does it spark joy? That’s the question Marie Kondo, author of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, says we need to ask of each and every item in our wardrobe if we want to bring order to our chaotic closets. Do you love it or wear it on a regular basis? If not, it may be time to part with it.
Perhaps there’s no fashion staple we are more prone to hoard than shoes. “Shoes always fit, no matter how much your weight fluctuates,” notes personal stylist and closet editor Alison Lukes Teer of Alexandria-based Alison Lukes et Cie. As a result, we tend to splurge on footwear and allow it to accumulate. (Most women own around 40 pairs, while men average 15, according to one closet consultant at The Container Store in Clarendon.)
How can you bring order to all those pumps, flats and weekend kicks? Teer offers these tips to bring peace to your soles:
Schedule routine maintenance.
“Before you put shoes or boots away for the season, clean them up and resole them,” Teer advises. For repairs, try A1 Clarendon Valet (3110 Washington Blvd., 703-522-1340) or Sam Torrey Shoe Service (5267 Lee Highway, 703-532-4933).
To protect stilettos from sinking into grass or getting chewed up by cobblestone streets and roof decks, Teer recommends Solemates High Heeler heel protectors. $9.95/pair, nordstrom.com
Bolster your boots.
You can help boots keep their shape by inserting a rolled-up magazine into the boot shaft. Or invest in some ventilating boot shapers like these from Booti. $20 for four pairs, amazon.com
Relocate as needed.
Not all shoes require a spot in the closet. A low-profile, stackable cubby system can rein in the chaos of shoes that are better left by the door. $130, brookstone.com
Go for visibility.
Pulling together a fabulous outfit is easier when your options are in plain view. “I love the clear shoe and boot boxes from The Container Store,” Teer says. “You can see what’s in them and the uniform box sizes make for a much cleaner look in your closet.” $1.89 and up, containerstore.com
Keep ’em dry.
Moisture can lead to stinky feet, and mold can easily grow on leather. Charcoal packets are great for absorbing both odor and moisture. Moso Bamboo charcoal bags, $10 and up, containerstore.com
Know when to say goodbye.
Is there a salt-line of demarcation on your boots from last year’s snowstorms? Can you see the outline of your foot through the well-worn leather of your favorite pumps? “Once a shoe loses its structure, it’s time to move on,” Teer says. The same goes for dated styles (think square toes or stacked heels). The style may eventually come back in some way, shape or form, but the circa 1993 Steve Maddens you’re hanging on to will not.