Put Your Best Foot Forward: Organizing Shoes

Filed Under: Closets, Mudroom

Organizing shoes begins with one fundamental question. Where do you kick on and off your shoes?  The solutions are as varied as the answers. Here are a few places we find shoes landing and a few places where they are stored.

Mudrooms and Foyers

The biggest obstacle and complaint in entryways is that shoes pile up and clog up this small area in the home. You go in and out all day and shoes tend to land, multiply and quickly fill up in this high traffic space.  The only solution to this chaos is keeping only two to three pairs of shoes per family member in this area. Excess pairs must be dealt with regularly. Even if you have built-in shoe shelves or cubbies but unless excess shoes are run to bedrooms every once in and while the system will be thrown off and will get cluttered. Within the mudroom itself, assign specific shelves, baskets, or cubbies for each family members’ shoes. This will give structure and direction for storage and maintenance.

In condo or apartment foyers, this even gets trickier. There is typically no space for a shoe tray let alone a bench or entryway organizational furniture piece. Two helpful tips for condo or apartment dwellers are the following: 1. Think vertical and install coat hooks on the wall. You may have a small coat closet but chances are you will still benefit during the four Midwest seasons by having hooks on the wall as well. These hooks will catch not only coats but hoodies, umbrellas, purses, grocery bags, and items that need to be returned (stored in a bag). 2. Consider storing most, if not all, of your shoes in your bedroom closets. The Trones shoe/storage cabinet at Ikea could be the exception for a narrow hallway.

Bedroom Closets and Storage

Storing shoes inside bedroom closets allows for lots of storage options and positioning of shoes.  If you are short on shelf space, use the floor or the back of the closet door. If you have built-in shoe shelves, remove shoes from shoe boxes and line them up. Alternate shoes facing in and out to maximize space. I usually stack flats and flip-flops to double my space.  Cardboard shoeboxes get dusty, you cannot see into them, and they are not all symmetrical. If you must containerize them,  use clear shoe boxes. Hanging shoe organizers on the back of doors work well for kids’ rooms since their feet and shoe size are smaller than adults. My favorite floor shoe organizers are at the Container Store. They are called the 8-pair shoe and purse organizer for men’s shoes or boots for women and the 12-pair shoe organizer for women’s shoes and everyday shoes. I recommend these over and over and even use them personally in my closets.

Sometimes in closets, there are opportunities to rotate shoes by season or by use. Do not waste precious space on cocktail or special occasion shoes. Store them up high in clear shoe boxes. They are not out of sight, but they are not taking up precious real estate down low in your closet. The same goes for bulky boots and shoes used for specific sports (like golf) that flex in and out of season. Bring them down or take them out for that short specific season.

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