Monday, January 31, 2011

Shoes on the Brain


This week I’ve seriously got shoes on the brain.  My recent (okay, ongoing) shoe obsession is probably because I’m dreaming of warm weather and the day I don’t have to wear my black rubber snow boots out of the house. 

And while a shoe obsession is perfectly normal, be realistic about how much space is available to store shoes and to keep them organized.  New York City closets are some valuable real estate, so there is no reason to keep shoes that are not wearable or just plain out of style.  So today, I’ve got quick tips for editing your shoe collection.  Yes, for some of us, it is a collection.  I’ve also found two amazing ways to donate or recycle your shoes.  Get excited! 

First, the tips:
  • Get rid of any shoes you haven’t worn in a year.  Those shoes that go with that dress you never wear – get rid of both!
  • Figure out what you actually wear.  For a month (each season), put shoes you wear on a separate shelf (or in your oven as some trendy, cooking-challenged New Yorkers do).  At the end of the month, make a decision to get rid of what you don’t wear.
  • Eliminate duplicate shoes.  How many pairs of black pumps and flip-flops do you need?
  • Toss shoes that hurt your feet.  Enough said.
  • Say good-bye to shoes that are out of style.  Believe me, those stacked heel, square toe boots are not coming back into style anytime soon.
  • Get rid of shoes that are worn beyond repair. 
  • Be honest with yourself.  Are you really going to find time to take those repairable shoes to the cobbler?  If so, put it on your To Do list for this week.  If not, toss them!

Now that you’ve got your donate and recycle piles, here are two creative ways to re-purpose your shoes.

Soles4Souls
Soles4Souls is a shoe charity that collects gently worn shoes to provide shoes to those in need in the United States and around the world.  They accept all types of shoes:  athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, and flip flops, just as long as they are new or gently worn.  If Soles4Souls receives a pair that they deem un-wearable, they send the shoes to a recycling facility.  You can even request your shoe donation be sent to a specific country or region that Soles4Souls services!

To donate, you have two options.  Donors must assume the responsibility for shipping shoes to one Soles4Souls’ warehouse locations.  Here is more information on shipping.  You can also find a location here to drop off shoes.

Nike Re-use a Shoe
Nike’s program takes athletic shoes (of any brand – not just Nike) and LIVESTRONG wristbands and recycles them into a material used to create athletic and playground surfaces and some Nike products.  Here is more information on the recycling process.  Nike doesn’t accept shoes with metal parts, cleats, dress shoes, sandals or flip-flops, or wristbands from other brands. 

To donate, mail your sneakers directly to Nike’s recycling facility.  Unfortunately, Nike does not pay for individuals’ shipping costs.  Or you can find a shoe drop-off location near you. 

At some point, we’ll get into the fabulous ways to organize shoes – by type, by color, in boxes, and on shelving…  The possibilities are endless! 

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