How To: Spring Clean Your Shoe Wardrobe

26th March 2020


Tidy wardrobe, tidy mind. And more room for a new pair of Bottega Veneta’s.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Right now, what we’ve lost in mobility, we’ve gained in time. Time to breathe. Time to take stock of what matters most, to read the books that have been sitting on our shelves un-touched, and time get to get through the to-do list you always mean to get to, but never do. Take, for instance, a shoe wardrobe spring clean. Without a hectic commute and over-stuffed schedule, we’ve freed-up some hours to dedicate to re-calibrating our closets. As shoe-lovers, we’re starting from the feet up with a clear-out of our beloved footwear wardrobes. Creating some physical space in your home often has the side effect of creating space in your mind. If you’re feeling overburdened, or overwhelmed, take comfort in these small organisational tasks, and surround yourself with your favourite things – shoes. 

Throw open the windows, gulp in the fresh spring air, and roll up the sleeves of your lightweight cashmere sweater. Get all of your shoes out on the bedroom floor, and sort into piles of what to keep, what to store (seasonal shoes), what to donate, and what to re-sell. Every shoe wardrobe needs a solid foundation. If you don’t know where to begin, start by curating an edit of staples that you definitely want to keep, and work from there. Check out our guide to building a capsule shoe closet here.

If you’re a hoarder, parting with your shoes can be a heart-wrenching task. Ask yourself when the last time you wore them was, and when you think you’ll wear them again. Channel your inner fashion editor and be cutthroat. Will you really wear those fringed sandals in future? Do they work with the rest of your wardrobe? Some pieces have sentimental value, or are important design classics, and we’d always advocate keeping those. When it comes to what to keep, the designer William Morris had it right: ‘have only in your house what you know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ Couldn’t have put it better ourselves. 

After you’ve decided on which shoes get a place in your shoedrobe, wipe the shelves with a damp cloth and dust of the shoes. Depending on the material of your shoes (and your way of storing the shoes) some might need a bit more maintenance. Whether it is a quick baby wipe, some good old shoeshine or a full cleaning process for your sneakers, it will all contribute to more joyful, prolonged wear.

Those favourite boots you never wear because you’ve worn through the sole? Get them mended by your local cobbler (next time they’re open), or use services like The Restory that specialise in luxury repairs and will collect, restore and return your shoes to you. If you’re going to keep them, fix them. If you’re getting rid of shoes that still have some mileage in them, donate to local charity shops and clothing banks, or re-sell designer styles online using sites like Vestiaire Collective and HEWI that verify their quality and authenticity. It fuels the circular economy, and puts a few extra pennies in your pocket for future shoe investments. Enjoy the feeling that somewhere out there, someone is loving your old favourites as much as you have. 

When it comes to putting your shoes back in the closet, think about organising them in a way that is effective for your routine – by colour, occasion, heel height or style. You want your shoe wardrobe to be navigable and maintainable. Keep the shoes you wear frequently on an easily-accessible shoe rack, and store precious styles, such as delicate party shoes and soft suede boots, in breathable shoe boxes that are clearly marked with what they contain. This earlier feature will assist you on the TLC of those beloved party shoes.

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