For more than 15 years, Real Simple has shared tips, tricks and secrets to creating a more orderly home; these are some of our best tips for keeping shoes corralled and well-organized.
Love them or hate them, you have to have shoes. More than likely, you have several pairs, as does everyone else in your household. All these pairs of shoes, large or small, add up to one giant organizing problem, especially if you live in close quarters or have to add things like snow boots or specialized exercise shoes to the mix.
Keeping all this footwear corralled can feel like an uphill battle, but there are plenty of tricks and secrets to making it a bit easier. Over the years, Real Simple has written up plenty that go beyond over-the-door organizers and shoe racks (though, if you have the space, those are tried-and-true solutions). Here are some of the best tips for how to organize shoes, for everything from controlling closet chaos to safely storing them away for the season.
Make the Best of Awkward Spaces
Awkward spaces can be turned into assets; try turning a tall, narrow alcove into genius storage with a seven-foot-tall shelving unit that is made to store shoes and look good doing it, too. (To buy: $700; ballarddesigns.com.)
Bonus tip: Small canvas bags (To buy: $16 for 12; amazon.com) protect special shoes and keep off-season pairs hidden in open shelving storage.
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Use a Tray
In smaller homes or apartments, a full-sized cubby or storage shelf in the entryway may not be feasible. Instead, suggests decluttering pro Erin Rooney Doland, leave a rectangular plastic tray next to the front door to line shoes in. Look for one with a raised room, to keep wet or muddy shoes from dirtying the floor (To buy: $27; amazon.com). The lid of a large plastic storage tub will do in a pinch.
Look for Unexpected Storage Spots
This one is for those suffering from small closet syndrome. New York City–Based Organizer Lisa Zaslow advises that shoes be kept in an under-bed storage box (To buy: $20; bedbathandbeyond.com) or a cubby in the corner of the room, so closets can be reserved for clothing (which often can’t be stored outside a closet or dresser).
Keep Drop Zones Clear
Put on a Display
Keeping shoes visible lets you show off your impressive collection, sure, but it also helps curb impulse buys: If you can see clearly that you have no space for a new pair, you may be less likely to stop by the shoe store on your next shopping trip. Do this on a budget with stackable, affordable cubbies (To buy: $30; containerstore.com).
Ventilated under-bed storage bags or boxes (To buy: $20; bedbathandbeyond.com) are perfect for storing shoes, clutter coach Chip Cordelli suggests. The ventilation lets leather shoes breathe; windows into the container allow you to find the right pair in a flash. Place shoes toe to heel to maximize space. If you plan to store shoes for a while—such as for a whole season—consider cleaning them before putting them away and stuffing them with acid-free white tissue paper, so they maintain their shapes.
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