CEO reveals how to Marie Kondo your shoe collection

It’s all too easy to keep on buying shoes especially when there’s hundreds of styles to choose from – but it’s not quite as simple to keep the collection neatly organised.

Inspired by Japanese clutter-clearing guru Marie Kondo, self-confessed ‘trainer geek’ George Sullivan, 28, from South East London, has shared his top tips for getting your kicks in order.

From asking what truly ‘sparks joy’ to sorting them into categories, the founder and CEO of The Sole Supplier said that everyone can achieve a more streamlined collection with a little effort.

George, who started his website in 2013 and owns over 100 pairs of trainers, also recommends cleaning up your collection while you’re decluttering, by washing shoelaces and using a suede brush to work out any stains.  

Speaking to coincide with the launch of the brand’s new app, these are George’s top tips for keeping your collection in perfect order. 

And while he’s the trainer expert, his advice could easily apply to any kind of shoe collection. 

George Sullivan,28, from South East London, is the founder and CEO of The Sole Supplier. He has shared some tip inspired by decluttering guru Marie Kondo's method on how to sort out shoes and clean them

George Sullivan,28, from South East London, is the founder and CEO of The Sole Supplier. He has shared some tip inspired by decluttering guru Marie Kondo's method on how to sort out shoes and clean them

George Sullivan,28, from South East London, is the founder and CEO of The Sole Supplier. He has shared some tip inspired by decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s method on how to sort out shoes and clean them

Break it down

Even if you don’t class yourself as a big trainer fan, with athleisure being the era-defining style, it’s likely you’ll have a few trainers and bulky boxes in your wardrobe.

The first rule of KonMari is to break everything down into categories. Although trainers are itself a category, you can sort your pairs into types such as running, gym, casual, smart or by season.

Once you’ve got this sorted, get out all of your pairs and group them on the floor. 

This is also the perfect opportunity to try each pair on, and check they fit and are in a wearable condition.

According to George, decluttering is the ideal time to clean up your old trainers and recommends putting grubby laces through the wash in a pillow case (stock image)

According to George, decluttering is the ideal time to clean up your old trainers and recommends putting grubby laces through the wash in a pillow case (stock image)

 According to George, decluttering is the ideal time to clean up your old trainers and recommends putting grubby laces through the wash in a pillow case (stock image)

It may seem like all you’re doing is creating more mess, but there is method behind the madness. By being able to see everything you own out of their boxes, you’ve got yourself a starting point for de-cluttering.

How to clean up your collection while sorting through pairs of shoes

As all the shoes will be out of storage while you’re sorting them, why not take the change to have a spruce up.

Grubby shoe laces can be taken off and put through the washing machine in a pillowcase.

Smelly insoles can be sprayed with shoe deodoriser to get rid of odors. 

Warm soapy water can be used to get rid off grime on the shoe as well.

George said ‘pay extra attention to suede pairs and invest in a suede brush and eraser to work out any stains.’

The ‘Spark Joy’ test

The next part is the most important; pick up each trainer individually and ask yourself whether it ‘sparks joy’.

The key to Kondo’s method is not choosing what to discard, but rather what to keep. 

So, ask yourself if those used-to-be-white trainers are past the point of no return, or if you can remember the last time you wore a pair. If the answer is no, and definitely more than a year ago, it’s probably time to part ways.

It can be easy to get caught up in sentimentality when going through your collection. Yes, these may have been the first pair of trainers you ever bought, but they now smell and look like they’ve been run over several times. 

Just because you may have once loved a pair, it doesn’t mean you need to hang on to them forever. 

However, trainers aren’t cheap, so don’t just chuck them in the bin. Either give them to a local charity shop, or list them on a resale site to earn back some cash.

George, pictured holding one pair in his collection of more than 100, said each trainer that is kept should 'spark joy' and be packed away after any dirt or dust is cleaned off them

George, pictured holding one pair in his collection of more than 100, said each trainer that is kept should 'spark joy' and be packed away after any dirt or dust is cleaned off them

George, pictured holding one pair in his collection of more than 100, said each trainer that is kept should ‘spark joy’ and be packed away after any dirt or dust is cleaned off them

Clean up your act

Even for the lazy sneakerheads out there, it’s the perfect time to clean any dirt and residue off the pairs which have passed the test to keep your collection looking fresh.

White laces can be put through the washing machine in a pillowcase; insoles sprayed with shoe deodoriser to get rid of any funky smells, and the outsoles scrubbed with warm soapy water to remove any build-up of grime.

Pay extra attention to suede pairs which are easily damaged by dirt, dust and water spots. Invest in a suede brush and eraser to work out any stains and spray with a water-resistant protector.

Smart storage

Once your collection is squeaky clean, it’s now time to think about the best way to store it.

According to Kondo, you should place your ‘heaviest’ items (the largest, darkest in colour or thickest in fabric) at the left side of your wardrobe, and the lighter pieces at the right. It’s meant to ease both the eyes and the mind.

To box or not to box is a big question facing sneakerheads. If you’re following the KonMari technique, everything you own should be stored neatly but be visible. That means ditching the box method.

If you’re keeping any valuable pairs ‘on-ice’, the box is a must-have but keep your weekly rotation (the pairs you’re currently into) in an easy-to-reach place.

This will help tailor outfits for the week and get out of the house quicker in a rush. 

Storage is another key aspect to the KonMari method and ideally everything should be able to be seen. George, pictured with some of his 100 pairs, displays his trainers on open shelving

Storage is another key aspect to the KonMari method and ideally everything should be able to be seen. George, pictured with some of his 100 pairs, displays his trainers on open shelving

Storage is another key aspect to the KonMari method and ideally everything should be able to be seen. George, pictured with some of his 100 pairs, displays his trainers on open shelving

Some pricey shoes might be kept in boxes to keep them looking new. However, the boxes can be neatly stacked and put out of the way so that everyday pairs are easy to grab in a rush. Pictured is George sorting his extensive collection

Some pricey shoes might be kept in boxes to keep them looking new. However, the boxes can be neatly stacked and put out of the way so that everyday pairs are easy to grab in a rush. Pictured is George sorting his extensive collection

Some pricey shoes might be kept in boxes to keep them looking new. However, the boxes can be neatly stacked and put out of the way so that everyday pairs are easy to grab in a rush. Pictured is George sorting his extensive collection

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