So what is the best way to organize shoes? There’s no one pat answer for this. The solutions come from how your closet is laid out, what type of home you live in (condo or house) and where you put on your shoes. So where do you or your family kick off their shoes? And do you put your shoes on with your outfit standing in your closet every day? Do you live in a home with a mudroom? Or do you live in a condo with very little space in the foyer or hallway?
So let’s discuss location first:
Mudroom in a house- Even if you have a mudroom, organization still can be a challenge in this area. My clients will still complain that this area still gets clogged and things pile up. The one and only solution to this is keeping only two to three pairs of shoes per family member in this area. The excess has to weekly or monthly be carried up to bedroom closets. All family members cannot keep all their shoes in the mudroom. It will never work. So you might have beautiful built in shoe shelves or cubbies but unless excess shoes are run to bedrooms every once and awhile, the system will be thrown off and will get cluttered. The other thing I see often in mudrooms is the wrong size basket in the cubby or bench. Measure and measure again and take time finding the basket or bin that fits perfectly. If you get containers that too small, it wastes storage space in the mudroom.
Bedroom Closets- Storing shoes in closets is totally acceptable. You just want to be wise about how you use your space. If you’re short on shelf space you’re going to have to use the floor or back of the door. If you’re willing, discard all shoe boxes. They get dusty. You can’t see into them. And they aren’t all symmetrical which creates towers when you’re stacking them. If you must containerize them use clear shoe boxes. Kids shoes are nice and small so hanging shoe organizers and back of door shoe organizers work well for their bedrooms.
Condo/Apartment Foyers- These are tricky. When I’m organizing downtown in the city in high rise buildings there is typically no area for a shoe mat or shoe tray let alone a bench or entryway organizational furniture piece. So most often these folks store all shoes in their bedroom and most often they use the back of door shoe pockets because space is a hot commodity. There are also more unique storage pieces that hide shoes in the middle of the bedroom instead of staring at shoes at the end of your bed. Check this one out.
Next let’s discuss storing and organizing types of shoes:
Flats and Flip Flop- If you’re short on space, these are great to stack and just keep them sorted like with likes. Brown flats with brown flats, flip flops with flip flops.
Boots- If you have floor space I love this boot organizer on the floor. Makes it easy to retrieve the pair you’d like to wear. If you only have shelf space adjust shelves to match height or use boot boxes seen here to store flat during the off season.
Work Heels- High heels need a non-ventilated shelf or shoe cubbies to be stored on. Wire shelving would have to be covered with shelf liners to keep them standing upright. Adjust shelves to not waste space and fit the high heel heights.
Cocktail/Special Occasion shoes- Don’t waste precious space on these shoes. Store them up high in clear shoe boxes. They aren’t out of sight but they aren’t taking up precious real estate down low in your closet.
Gym Shoes- These are the easiest to store. You can pretty much pick wherever you’d like to store them. They’ll fit on the floor, on any kind of shelf or in shoe cubbies.
Amber Kostelny, Certified Professional Organizer, Amber’s Organizing, LLC, Chicago, IL 60631