Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Resolving To Not Buy As Much Stuff: Day 8, Perhaps?

Tip Of The Day: Instead of spending money on new shoes, even if they only cost $20 a pair, I am trying to make do and actually WEAR THE SHOES I OWN. Some pairs, however, are looking a wee bit ragged. What to do? I could polish them myself, I suppose. Better yet, I could have the lovely folks at George’s Shoes & Repair polish them for me, for only $5 a pair. Yes, it’s true, I am a lazy slacker.

Tip For Tomorrow: What I wore on my last date (including how much it cost and where I bought it), and what a waste of an outfit THAT was.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: My mother, your mother, everybody’s mother at one point in time or another has admonished us to take better care of our things. For example, your shoes. If your shoes were kept clean and polished, you’d only need three pairs, right? One brown, one black, one gym.

Okay, NO. No, I need at least 50 pairs of shoes to make me happy, but I recognize I have a problem – one I am actively trying to fix. However, regardless of the number of pairs of shoes I own, I should still take care of them all, right?

With that in mind, I DO try to clean and polish my shoes myself. The black ones (I own at least 15 pairs of black shoes – why are you looking at me like that?) I find the easiest to manage. You can buy a tube of squeeze-on black polish at Target for less than $5. But the brown shoes I own (only five pairs) are trickier to deal with.

First, each pair is a different shade of brown, thus requiring its own shade of polish. Second, the color in the tube or tin never seems to match my shoes exactly. Third, polishing shoes is messy and lacking in fun. So, as a result, my brown shoes are rarely polished.

The situation came to a head this winter regarding my favorite pair of brown, squishy flats. I bought them two years ago to wear with a pair of brown pants (another fave), and they match exactly. I didn’t want to polish them myself, for fear I’d ruin the color. But they were looking like something Johnny Depp would wear to the premier of “Pirates Of The Caribbean, Part 4: Just How Much Money Am I Being Paid For This Dreck?” And as much as I love Depp, I do not want to emulate his boho/street urchin chic.

So I had two options – 1. Buy a similar pair on sale at Target for $12.99 (the color matched my pants, but they weren’t real leather, or as nice as my original pair) or 2. Have the ones I currently owned professionally polished.

As is my tendency, I procrastinated until the back-up shoes disappeared from Target’s shelves. Now I had the one option – take them to a shoe shine shop. Lucky for me, I live four blocks away from one. Even so, it still took me two more months to FINALLY bring them in. Like I said, I am a lazy slacker.

RIGHT NOW AS WE SPEAK (er, type), my shoes are being tended to by the lovely folks at George’s Shoes & Repair in Arden Hills. There is also a George’s Shoe and Leather Repair on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and it is run by the brother of the Arden Hills store. These are true family businesses, which warms the cockles of my heart. Whatever a cockle is, mine’s toasty.

For $5, George in Arden Hills will polish your shoes. For $10, he (or she, they aren’t sexist) will clean the salt off your shoes with a special salt cleaner and then polish them. My shoes (because I live in MN in the winter, where we wade through enough salt slush to form a second Dead Sea) were salty, so I opted for the $10 treatment.

Note: this is still $2.99 cheaper than buying a new, lesser quality pair (see how I did math there? FUN). And I wasn’t wasteful, so it’s like I recycled, kind of. Which, as we know, makes Al Gore happy. And as I adore Al Gore, I try to make him happy when I can.

Of course, if you are not a lazy slacker, you can polish your shoes at home. Kiwi Shoe Polish, a company based in Australia, is the brand pretty much every store’s carries. I love all things Australian (in particular, Australian MEN) so I highly recommend their products. I particularly recommend having an Australian man come to your home and polish your shoes for you, using the Kiwi brand. That would be IDEAL.

Where To Go: George’s Shoes & Repair, 3673 Lexington Avenue North, Arden Hills. Or, George’s Shoe and Leather Repair, 672 ½ Grand Avenue, St. Paul. You can find Kiwi products at Target in the shoe section, or Walgreen’s, or anyplace that sells shoes, really.


LaRue said...

My shoe repair guy retired and I am sad. However, most shoe repair shops can also do things like - put in grommets for you. Put in a new zipper in a leather purse. All kinds of non-shoe related things.

If you come on by our house, we can give you the abbreviated class on shoe polishing, courtesy of the US Army. It has certainly worked for me, lo these many moons.

And I personally think more shoes is better. I have many black flats, for instance. (I know you love them.)

Also? A cockle is a nasty British shellfish. Yuck. Although cockles of the heart refers to the ventricles in your heart.

It is so amazing what one can find on Wikipedia.

The Cheap Chick said...

Your Wikipedia habit is rapidly outpacing my Classic-80's-videos-on-YouTube habit.

The Material Girl said...

Polishing my shoes (all 55 pair) used to be a twice annual ritual for me. Every spring and fall I would get out all of my beloved footwear and polish them to perfection. However, as I now have two offspring and significantly more things to do with my time, this has gone by the wayside. Sad. My shoes lament the inattention. I lament fondling my shoes and admiring their beauty. Sigh.

I tend not to use the colored polish as much as the clear - thus eliminating the matching color drama. Sharpies are also great at coloring in small imperfections, which can then be polished over to a glossy shine. Gorgeous!

The Cheap Chick said...

I do the Sharpie trick on my black shoes!

And thank you to the Material Girl - the inspiration behind today's post!

Amy the Mom said...

Very good information for a fellow Twin Citian. The real question is-do you think one of the George's can fix these-http://amythemom.typepad.com/amy_the_mom/2007/12/how-much-for-th.html

Please say yes.

Larue said...

Amy - the cheap chick is known for her dislike of "bootie" shoes, so she might not think it worth replacing. Personally? I think they are cute, and would be very sad at their loss. But you do have that cute fuzzy face to come home to....

The Cheap Chick said...

Amy, I WANT YOUR DOG!!! I don't care if it chewed up all my shoes... it would give me an excuse to buy new ones.

George's may be able to fix the heel - but it will cost you. Give it a shot, but don't pay more than $40 for the fix. You can buy new shoes for that.

And those are cute booties - something I never thought I'd say!