Yes, shoes are glorious, but more often than not, storing them can cause less than glamorous feelings.  If you’re feeling footwear frustration, you’re not alone. I often get questions about how and where to store shoes, and especially now we’re in winter, beautiful boots.

Here are some tips to get your shoes in order. Read through and keep in mind your personal habits to determine which options will work with your lifestyle and storage space.  Of course, you have to also factor in your love of shoes and the degree to which that influences the amount of indoor real estate you devote to them.

The first step in any organizing project is to decide your goal.  Is it to make sure you can display prize footwear?  Do you simply want to clear the front doorway of shoe clutter?  Do you want to be able to access your full assortment of shoes easily?  It’s your goal. Decide what it is and keep it in mind as you go through the process.

Next, assess your storage space. Look around with fresh eyes and consider all your options – entranceways, closets, under beds and the backs of doors are all shoe storage options.  Measure the spaces and get an idea of how many shoes and boots can be accommodated.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the storage options that exist.

Shelving – Ideal for near an entrance or inside a closet, stackable shelving provides flexible and easy access for every day shoes.  Expanding models ensure that no space is wasted. The top shelf is the ideal spot for boots or high-top shoes.  Keep them standing tall with boot inserts. If putting shoes on display, choose a shelving colour that complements your space. You’ll find shelving comes in a variety of materials including plastic, wood, metal, and combinations with fabric.

Shoe boxes – A shoe box is ideal for shoes that are delicate or worn less often. I recommend recycling the original shoe boxes (or using them in drawers as inexpensive drawer dividers) and using stackable boxes of uniform size.  Choose clear boxes if you like to see what’s inside, or for quick recognition add a label or photo.  Seldom-used shoes can be stored safely in boxes on upper closet shelves.

Hanging shoe storage – Look for a sturdy model of adequate width to hold your shoes. Use them in hall closets or in the bedroom.   If you have free sections (ha!) they are also ideal for outdoor accessories such as gloves and scarves.

Over the door shoe storage – Ideal for lighter footwear with low heels, use over the door storage in places that can accommodate the extra width on the back of the door without impeding your access or movement in the space.

Under the bed – This is a perfect option for high boots which can be placed on their sides under the bed. Look for zippered bags to protect footwear from dust.

Covered Bins – Bins with lids are ideal for off-season storage. They preserve your footwear and can be stacked to maximize space in storage areas. Before placing shoes or boots in bins though, make sure they are wiped clean and polished if necessary. You will also want to stuff paper into any large cavities to prevent crushing.  Layer paper between levels to protect shoes from scratching each other.

Decide which of the options works for you and then translate that into the number of pairs of shoes and boots that can be reasonably stored. That means without cramming them in!

Now for the hard part – it’s time to figure out if your shoe collection will fit comfortably, or if it needs to go on a diet.  Ask yourself these questions to help cull your collection. You really do have the answers.

a)     How does the shoe or boot make you feel?

b)    How often do you actually wear them?

c)     How well do they work with your current wardrobe?

d)    What is the condition of the shoe? Is the leather still supple?

e)     How much room do they take?

When shopping for shoe storage, measure or take your largest shoe along with you to make sure it fits. Employ these tips and your shoes will be smiling back at you.

Here’s a little twist from “Oliver”…

Shoes, glorious shoes!
What wouldn’t we give for
That extra bit more —
That’s all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On shoes,
Magical shoes,
Wonderful shoes,
Marvellous shoes,
Fabulous shoes!

Guest Writer
Clare Kumar
Chief Organizer