Dear Kathi,

Help! My shoes have taken over my entire closet. They are in stacked in boxes higher than my clothes, above and below. I also have a hanging shoe organizer packed full of shoes that are out of their boxes. What method can I use to get my shoe collection organized and under control?

Sheila, Del Mar


It sounds like you have more shoes than you need. As a professional organizer, I would recommend that you begin by looking at each individual pair of shoes. Invite a friend or professional to help you with this process. He/she should help to keep you on track and provide an objective viewpoint.

Examine each pair of shoes individually and ask yourself these questions; are they worn out, scuffed, out of style, or too small? When was the last time I wore these?

Our feet spread as we age. Try on each pair as you go through this process. I am certain there are shoes in your closet that haven1t seen the pavement for months or even years because they are uncomfortable. These shoes should leave your closet forever and find their way into your donation box. As you purge the worn and ill-fitting shoes, you will create more space for the remaining shoes.

If any of your shoes are work appropriate, consider donating them to Dressed For Success (619) 281-3773. This non-profit organization serves disadvantaged women as they re-enter the workplace. You will receive a charitable donation receipt and the satisfaction of knowing that your shoes will be put into good use.

Store the shoes you wear infrequently into boxes . Everyday shoes can stored in or on a shoe holder. I recommend the vertical pocket hanging bags for clients that have the extra rod space. These shoe bags hang directly from your clothes rod and use a minimum amount of horizontal space (6″ or so).

Typical hanging shoe bags are single-sided with 8-10 pockets. The more unusual version is double-sided and designed to hold 16-20 pairs of shoes. The backside of these double holders is a handy place to store seasonal shoes.

If you need to use boxes, store them in plastic boxes. Uniformity will save space and they will stack neatly. Buy clear boxes so that you can see the shoes inside. Identify your shoes easier by attaching a digital photo on the end of each box. A quick glance will tell you which box to open while dressing.

Once your shoe collection is under control, create a new rule for your shoe habit. Add to your collection only after you get rid of a pair. One in one out will keep your shoes from overtaking your closet again.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]

San Diego Professional Organizer