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Shoe storage – where do I put them all?

shoe storage

Shoe storage is often a fraught issue. Shoes are sometimes dirty, often unsightly and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for storing them.

Shoe storage – bottom of the wardrobe

This is a popular choice, because it enables coordinating the entire outfit at once when getting dressed.

There is usually space at the bottom of wardrobes and down low is generally good, to keep shoe dirt near vacuum territory.

Options include:

  • Commercial shoe storage racks or regular shelving to layer them. A standard Ikea bookshelf with adjustable shelves can work well.
  • Open baskets to keep the setup looking fairly tidy and low while enabling easy access. You could have different baskets for sub-categories like sandals, runners, formal, etc.
  • Original shoe boxes, which are stackable and keep everything neat. If you want to take it up a notch, print a photo of the shoes and stick it on the box for fast identification.
  • As above for boots but they can be a bit of a bother. If you want to keep them upright, chop up some pool noodles to insert in the legs.
  • Clear shoe boxes. They are available from shops like Kmart and Howards Storage World. The downsides of these are that they get pricey if you have loads of shoes, and they don’t fit boots. But they look great and function well because you can see the contents.
  • Custom-made wardrobe. If you are lucky enough to have this available, there are lots of options to suit your lifestyle and needs. I have seen bespoke shelving to cater for boot lovers and stiletto wearers alike.

Depending where you live, you could put some seasonally inappropriate pairs out of the way (top of wardrobe for example). Melbourne has defined seasons and there is no chance of me wearing sandals in winter or Uggs in summer, so I tuck them away and rotate accordingly.

Shoe storage – other areas in the bedroom

  • Over-the-door shoe organisers can hang inside your wardrobe cupboards or on the back of the bedroom door. I am not a big advocate of these because they look a bit chaotic and they don’t fit all shoe styles. I like to keep categories together as much as possible. Storing like with like means you will find things and put them away more easily. However if space is tight this can be a good compromise.
  • There are hanging column shelves that are similar to above. They hang right from your wardrobe’s rod and consist of divided cubes. Again, I don’t love these. They are a bit saggy and sloppy, don’t fit all kinds of shoes and take up hanging space which might be better for something else. But I wouldn’t rule them out if your circumstances warrant it.
  • Under bed drawers, either inbuilt or separate units on casters. Can be quite useful, but if they are fiddly to access and open, reserve this option for occasional or out-of-season shoes.

Shoe storage – near the exit

This is the most practical solution in many ways. Especially if like myself, you don’t wear shoes inside the house. I lived in Asia for many years and discarding shoes at the front door was instilled in me. My house is far from spotless but there is no point bringing in more dirt unnecessarily. Besides the dirt issue, a lot of us have other preferences for indoor footwear. Slippers and Ugg boots spring to mind. Maybe clean thongs in summer to minimise the impact of hard indoor tiles.

In an ideal layout your house has a mudroom or garage entry with loads of space and you can set up some shoe racks or shelving. Again, an Ikea bookshelf will do the job well. Better still, some cool lockers or cupboards with doors that match the decor of your house. Let’s face it, shoes en masse are a messy look, so hide them if you can.

A go zone can incorporate shoes with other items you need as you depart the house. Keys, jackets, hats etc. If you have multiple household members, group according to the person and then the category. As I mentioned, depending on space and seasons you might pop some out of the way in a nearby tub to keep the dust off them.

Guest slippers might be kept here as an alternative for visitors, and a subtle encouragement for them to lose their dirty kicks.

Shoe storage – combination strategy

Unfortunately most houses aren’t built with shoe storage as a priority. So even though the exit is a sensible storage area, space can be an issue. Therefore many of us have our everyday shoes near the exit and all occasional shoes in the bedrooms out of the way.

My house has a three-tier shoe storage system. Everyday shoes are lined up near the door (or should I say kicked off by my children), semi-regular shoes are in a nearby lidded basket which we also sit on to tie our laces, and everything else is in our respective bedrooms. It’s a bit fragmented so is far from a perfect system but it works … for now.

For tips on decluttering your clothes, check out this post.

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