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Cleaning & Organizing

10 Ways To Make Your Shoes Last Forever

Show your favorite pairs some tender loving care with these tips

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Original Article: Kat Von Einsiedel Photography: Lily Like (Main Photo)

Be it from designer or contemporary brands, it's a fact that quality shoes don't come cheap. It's safe to say that nobody wants to get just a few uses out of them and then throw them out. With that in mind, you should know that it is in your (and your bank account's) best interest to give your favorite footwear pieces extra attention. Read on to learn how to make them last longer: 

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1. Store frequently used shoes on an open rack or a see-through closet by the door.

This will help you find the pair that you want to wear easily. Shoes get to "breathe" after being worn all day, lessening the chance of mold growth. Stashing your shoes by the door and changing slippers there means you also leave behind the dirt that would otherwise contaminate the home.

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2. Embrace the elements 

You don’t always have to clean and polish your shoes—especially pairs such as boots and boat slip-ons. These types are meant to be muddy, scuffy, slat-washed and faded, so let them live through the elements. 

3. Use plastic shoe tubs.

This will help you identify the shoes easily when stacked inside your closet. These containers are also sturdier, so even if your piles get out of control, none of your shoes get crushed.

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4. Use baking soda.

A sprinkle of baking soda inside stinky rubber shoes will help get rid of that post-workout odor. For a less messy method, put deodorizing powder in tiny pouches made of scraps of cotton fabric and ribbon that you can neatly slip in and out of your sneakers.

5. Invest in quality polish. 

Ignore your urge to take the bargain route—although quality polishes cost a pretty penny, they can actually remove scuffs and make leather look brand new again. Or try Crep Protect, which when applied on the shoe, forms a protective barrier around it. You can find Crep Protect here

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6. Create scented stuffing.

Tissue paper, when stuffed inside your shoes, can help absorb excess moisture and help keep their shape. Mixing in used or unused fabric softener sheets may minimize odor and add a scent, too—we personally love peppermint or citrus to keep it extra fresh! 

7. Use shoe trees or stretchers.

Shoes can shrink or change shape when stored in a box for a long time. For shoes you know to be susceptible to these, get a few pairs of shoe trees. You can also use these to stretch shoes that are just a little bit on the tight side. You can buy affordable wooden shoe stretchers locally here. 

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8. Set up a shoe "laundry bin." 

Got a couple of pairs that need deep cleaning? Try storing them away from your clean footwear. This way, you don't spread the dirt over your other shoes and you're consistently reminded to get the job done, too. 

9. Give your shoes a little TLC.

Wipe them down with a clean rag dipped in a little bit of olive oil (not necessarily extra virgin) before putting them back in the closet. This will prevent the leather and canvas from cracking, especially if they're used in extreme weather conditions or stored for a long time.

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10. Use rolled-up newspaper or wine bottles to keep your tall boots from slouching when stored.

This will help keep their shape—thereby conserving shelf space because the paper keeps the boots upright. You can also use tall wine bottles if you want something more durable. 

This story is based on an article ("Best Foot Forward") which appeared in the October 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine and a previously published article from September 2014. Main photo is from Lily Like

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