When you’re not wearing them, take care of them. That means putting them away. These boots may be made for walking, but they don’t do it on their own. The three keys to good shoe storage are: Easy to use, accessible and spacious.
Habits create ease. When a task is a habit, it’s automatically easier because you don’t have to think about it. Make putting your shoes away part of your current routine. When you come inside, you put your jacket and bag somewhere, right? And I don’t mean on the back of the sofa. Include shoe stowing in that routine. For example, jacket in front closet, bag on foyer table, shoes in bedroom closet.
If that’s too much work, create a daily dumping spot for your shoes; under the foyer table, under the coffee table, floor of the front closet, etc. The only way this works, though, is if you’re willing to do a daily or semi-weekly tidy up when you put the shoes back in your clothes closet. To keep them looking nice, select a spot where there’s room for a few pairs so shoes won’t get jumbled together and damaged.
The amount of work you have to do to put something away is inversely proportionate to the likelihood of you doing it. Clear plastic shoe boxes are orderly and keep your shoes clean and safe, but they are a pain in the neck to use, in my opinion. Taking a box off the shelf and opening it is two movements already! You want storage that’s accessible without reaching, bending, opening, shoving aside, etc.
Uncrowded space is key to putting away almost anything. Just as your file drawers should never get more than 2/3 full, so you don’t have to use muscle power to wedge things in there, your shoe shelves, cubbies, etc., should be roomy enough so you can access them easily.
Roominess also helps prevent damage to your shoes. If you store 50 pairs of shoes in a space where only 30 will really fit, they’re going to be squashed together and get crushed and scratched. If this is your situation, you’ll have to get creative and realistic about your storage options.
Here are some ideas:
- Move your shoes to the front hall closet if that’s where you hang your jackets.
- Use shelves at the front door, Asian style.
- Clear the floor of your clothes closet and let it be only for shoes. Then you can almost just kick them off!
- Store off-season shoes away from those currently in use.
- Double up or stack flip flops, slippers and other sturdy, compact shoes.
- Keep special occasion shoes in boxes on a shelf and put a big photo of the shoes on the end of the box to remind you of what’s in there (this is a good trick if you’re worried you’ll forget shoes that you can’t see).
If you buy containers, make sure they will fit your shoes and your closet space
- Chunky heels, boots and platforms won’t fit into shoe pockets
- Over the rail cubbies are great, if you can spare the rail space
- Wire shelving not so good for stilettos; the heel sinks through and the shoes can get scraped
- Baskets are only good for casual shoes that can be bashed up a bit. Best for canvas, plastic and very sturdy leather
My favorite shoe containers:
- Over the door shoe pockets for low profile shoes
- Over the rail cubbies for bulkier shoes and for doubling up flip flops and slippers
- Three-shelf unit under my short hanging items for any size shoe and floppy boots
- Floor space for rigid boots
Figure out what works for you!