How do you downsize summer shoes? As with any other downsizing project, the key is to focus on the shoes that best suit your current needs. Now that it’s getting cooler, you may be ready to switch out your wardrobe to get ready for a new season. While you’re already handling your shoes to make the switch, it’s a good idea to assess the summer shoes in your closet before you put them away for the season.
Assessing Your Needs
If you’re like most downsizers, you probably only wear about 20% of the shoes you have in your closet. Whether you are a recreational shoe shopper or just someone who doesn’t need the variety of shoes you used to wear regularly, you’re likely to find that you may have shoes hanging around that weren’t worn this year.
If you’re willing to spend a little time now to sort them out, it will be easier to store your current summer shoes and make room for new styles next year.
Downsizing Your Shoe Inventory
There are a few no-brainer rules of thumb that will work to help you reduce your shoe collection:
Fun shoes you never wore: There must be a reason, whether they don’t fit quite right, the heel is a little too high, your foot slides forward, hard to walk in… Whatever your reason, the solution is the same: Donate those cute, in-good-condition shoes and move on.
Cute shoes someone gave you that you never wore more than once: Instant donation pile.
Comfortable shoes you wore to death: Most of us like to be out and about over the summer, wearing our most comfortable and casual shoes all of the time. Take a hard look at your most worn pairs and consider: would you feel great wearing these out on a trip to the mall or to brunch? Or are they dirty and worn down? Can they be cleaned (see below) or do they really just need to be replaced? As always, if you’re hard to fit, make sure you have a replacement pair ready before you trash anything you may actually need.
Good-quality dress shoes you didn’t wear: We’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt on these; if you genuinely think you’ll wear them next summer go ahead and store them again. Just be sure to clean them first, and if you don’t wear them next year they may have to go.
Athletic shoes: New but unused or unwanted athletic shoes should be donated. Broken-down athletic shoes should be discarded. Don’t fall into the trap of holding onto many pairs of used-up running or walking shoes so that you’ll have backups. They’re used up, remember? Allow yourself one pair and throw away the rest.
Clean Before Storing
Flip flops and other rubber shoes are easy: use mild detergent and water in the sink with a soft scrub brush.
For Teva-type sandals, stick with antibacterial soap and water. The Teva website also suggests that they can be soaked in mouthwash to combat odors. OK! That’s a new one but it does seem to make sense.
There’s tons of advice on the internet for cleaning summer sandals, mostly geared toward Birkenstocks or other leather/suede footbeds. Also, Arm and Hammer baking soda very much wants to be a part of your shoe cleaning routine. They have tons of advice on their website.
Whatever you do, don’t use harsh methods like a Magic Eraser, or Windex, or machine-washing any of your shoes. And, once they are as clean as you can get them, be sure the make sure they are completely dry before you move them into a storage situation.
Storing Summer Shoes
- Clear plastic boxes are generally considered the best way to store shoes. If you have the space and if your shoe quality justifies the cost of the box, go for it.
- Hanging shoe racks are a practical and easy option. They are relatively inexpensive and can hang in a guest closet.
- Don’t throw all of your shoes into a bin because they will get scuffed, creased, and smushed. If you have to use a bin or box, be strategic about it and stuff your shoes with clean paper to avoid crushing.
- If you have full-grain leather shoes you didn’t wear this year, consider preserving them. Treat them with a quality leather restorer before putting them away again.
- It may be time to let go of leather shoes that haven’t been worn or treated for several years. Leather does not like to go untreated for years at a time. If you truly love them you may need to involve a professional.