Organizing shoes can become a burden when your closet is overflowing. Many women have a major infatuation with shoes. After working with hundreds of clients, as both a professional organizer and image consultant, I have determined why most women love to shop for, and have fun wearing, shoes more than any other clothing item.
You see, even while our weight is upsizing and downsizing, our shoe size is remains basically the same, give or take a 1/2 size. Not only do our feet consistently stay the same size, they never create a humiliating shopping experience. Shoes are kind. They don’t make us feel fat or accent bulges in all of the wrong places like a bad pair of jeans or a too snug blouse. In fact, more often than not, the right pair of shoes make us feel sexy, powerful and ready to take on the world! So, this in my humble opinion, is why we typically end up with more shoes than we can reasonably fit into our closet.
My most common organizing shoes challenge is how to fit the largest amount of shoes into the smallest amount of space. With this goal in mind, the common shoe rack rarely solves this problem. The shoe rack takes up a lot of floor space. Don’t get me wrong, floor space can be useful at times but it also collects dust bunnies when cluttered, disorganized and filled wall to wall.
The Hanging Shoe Bag – This is my all-time favorite shoe storage device! I have been using this system for years and still marvel at the fact that I can store 10 pairs of shoes in a space no wider than 6.5 inches! For those of us with over 40 pairs of shoes, this means we can fit our entire shoe collection into a space of less than 3 feet! Granted with this system, you need to have extra hanging rod space, or, if you are ingenious, you need that much free ceiling and wall space. Most versions have metal hooks to hang them from the rod although some have velcro straps to rap around the rod. Either version connects effortlessly and easily onto your hanging rod.
The men’s version of the hanging shoe bag is slightly wider (8”) to accommodate the larger shoe width.
Side by Side Hanging Shoe Bags – Another variation of the hanging shoe bag is the side by side pocket model. It has pockets on the right and left and holds 30 pairs of shoes. You can hang it on the back of the door or on an empty wall inside your closet.
Hanging shoe bags provide quick and easy access as well as providing a perfect view of what you are looking for. They are stored easily into pairs. You don’t have to open a lid, move stacks of boxes, bend over or go through any other rigamarole to see and access the shoes you need.
Sometimes you simply might not have the rod or wall space for organizing your shoes with a hanging shoe bag. If not, never fear, I have other solutions for you.
Shoe Storage Boxes – Plastic and canvas options available for shoe organization.
Canvas Shoe Box Organizers – Canvas boxes feature front end openings and stack well together. The front door is clear so you can see what is inside and also allows you to access your organized shoes without having to unstack your collection.
Plastic Shoe Boxes – These are best used when you have a lot of shelf space and limited hanging space. I keep my special occasion shoes on a shelf way up high in my closet. Shoe boxes protect your shoes from dust and pet hair and also keep your best stilettos from being smashed by others. If you decide to use this method, make sure to buy clear containers so you can get a glimpse of what might be inside. Or better yet, spend the time to take a photo of the shoes and attach the pic to the short end of the box so you will not have to guess which gold heels are actually stashed inside the box!
Back of the Door Shoe Storage – This solution is good under extreme small closet conditions as it does provide storage in a small amount of space.
Back of the Door Shoe Pockets – The disadvantage I see witness is that shoes often become crushed when you try to smoosh them into the pockets.
Back of the Door Shoe Racks – I like this solution because it holds a massive amount of shoes in a very small sometimes unused space. The disadvantage is the wire racks can sometimes warp your shoes so use it gently.
Shoe Cabinets – Hide shoes and can provide self stand alone solution when shoes need to be located outside of your closet. Many models use drop down drawers which let you take shoes in and out very easily.
Here is a larger version of a stand alone shoe cabinet. If you are a visual person, this one is perfect because it has doors to hide the visual clutter of 15-48 pairs of shoes.I like it because it again, uses more vertical space!
Ikea also offers a plastic version which can mount on the wall.
Wooden Shoe Benches – provide a place to store shoes and also to sit while putting them on. Sometimes, I use these at the entrance to homes with a lot of foot traffic, meaning a lot of kids and shoe clutter! Sometimes it is easier to get the kids to take off their shoes as soon as they get in the door than to try to find shoes later when they are running out the door and late for school. Shoes off when coming into the house, on when going out! This also eliminates dirt and makes cleaning the carpet less frequently and solves the challenge of storing shoes in the closet.
Shoe Shelves – This organizing shoe tactic can solve many challenges. If there is an ample amount of floor/wall space, I like using stackable shelves so that I can add to your storage capacity if needed.
Many shelves also offer the advantage of being expandable so that you can customize the size based on your space requirements. If you do decide to go with shelf storage, make sure to buy heavy shelving, especially if you are storing mens footwear. I have found that a lot of shelves simply do not hold up and or topple over when loaded to capacity.
Under Bed Shoe Storage – including plastic tubs, rolling racks and zippered pouches. Under the bed rolling shoe organizers use space that is typically free and clear of clutter.
Under Bed Rolling Racks – The open air rolling shoe racks are good for shoes that you wear frequently. The disadvantage is that they tend to collect dust bunnies.
Under the Bed Zippered Pouches – are best for off-season or occasional shoes because they are too much of a hassle to get in and out of on a daily basis.
Under Bed Plastic Bin Storage – I like this solution becuase it has wheels for easy access.
Shoe Storage Carts – I use these for my clients who have a lot of off season shoes. It is tall but only takes less than 14 inches of horizontal space. It is also zippered so it keeps shoes in clean when in storage. Anytime I can use vertical space and less horizontal space, I am happy!
Smaller Wheeled and Sealed Storage Cart – Good for stowing under hanging clothes.
Shoe Carousels – You can hang this unit form your hanging rod. The Swivel hanger allows you to access every pocket and shelf in one swirl. Lifts all your items up off the floor and organizes them so when you are ready to use them they are visible and clean.
Revolving Shoe Trees – These work fantastic when stashed into the small unreachable corner of your closet. I had one installed to the left of a built in cabinet in my two sliding door closet. It served me well for years and made good use of the corner that was never easy to reach. When I needed a pair of shoes, I simply spun the rack and found what I was looking for. Make sure the space you choose has room around it for the shoes to move since each carousel rotates for easy location.You can buy these as stand alone units or, in my super small closet situation, the floor to ceiling model was perfect!
Standing Racks are yet another way to keep your shoes off of the floor. These are a little better than the shoe rack because they keep your shoes on place and separated.
Shoe Storage Wheel – This is a very interesting and novel way to store your shoes. I have not seen it personally so cannot vouch for it’s quality, but it looks pretty cool! They say you can store 20-30 pairs of shoes inside. The unit is on wheels so you could stow it under your hanging clothes and pull it out to access your shoes. Very interesting. I would love to play with one of these in person!
If you still cant find the perfect solution for organizing your shoe collection after reading this article, I quit! Have fun upgrading your shoe storage, and most importantly, stow your shoes somewhere besides in piles on the floor of your closet!