shoeauditI own 65 pairs of shoes.

I’m not really sure why I have this many shoes. I never wear most of them. All those pointy-toed gems are relics from my brief stint on Wall St. while I was in grad school. They’re not especially practical for work in an elementary school, and they’ve been largely retired to a hanging shoe caddy that I never see behind the closet door. I have a few pairs of heels, but as someone who has sprained the same ankle 6 times over the years (once from literally just walking across a floor), heels and I don’t mix so well. I have a ridiculous number of ballet flats: 20 pairs. Ten of those are from Target for around $12, and I’ve really considered hot-gluing the broken soles back together just to keep them in the collection. And some of them I’ve never, ever worn. I also have 6 pairs of Keds, but I only actually live in 2 of those pairs.

shoeaudit2And then there are the shoes that don’t even fit. Before Adam and I were married, back in our swinging days of disposable income and no mortgage, I lived for Zappos. I would fall in love with shoes and buy them, even if they were only still available in 1 size that wasn’t my own. See those fabulous orange pointy-toed loafers on the floor? Those have never fit me, but I refused to return them. Or those pointy kitten heels with the leopard print detail on the toe? They are the narrowest shoes in history.

But I am extremely sentimental about shoes. I always have been. My college application essay was all about a pair of work boots I’d had since 8th grade (hey, it was the grunge 90s), and how I wanted to be wearing those shoes for my first day of college. So I know it takes me years and years to get rid of them. Those black patterned Keds slip-ons with owls on them (on the floor) helped us find the graphic designer who made our wedding stationery. The pointy black slingbacks are the shoes I bought to wear the 1st time I met Adam’s parents. There are black heels I bought while studying abroad in Florence, brown hiking shoes that went on safari with me, and the first pair of heels I ever bought when I got my first real job out of college. Those mustard-yellow loafers? One of the acquisitions from my annual back-to-school shoe shopping spree with my mom.

Since 2010 is a year of paring down and relaxing, I know the time has come to part with some of these shoes. Rationally, I know that. I literally have no more room for shoes. Some of them are disintegrating before my eyes. But I love them all, with or without holes, whether or not they fit, regardless of the last time I wore them. So where do I start?