Help… Where Can I Put My Shoes?

by Guest Contributor

One of our readers asks our organizer Jessica Duquette:

Where and how is the best place to keep shoes?

I have about 40 pairs that I am forever tripping over. Some I keep by the front entrance, others I keep in my closet for visual cues with certain outfits, and others end up in my laundry room. I can’t seem to pick “one” system that would address the whole issue. What do you think about what would work best? Thank you so much for your time!

From:
Shoe-shocked!

Jessica says:

Jessica Duquette - Professional OrganizerDear Shoe-shocked,

Great question! You are not alone in the ‘what on earth do I do with all my shoes?’ dilemma.

I have so many clients who have the same issue, it can be very frustrating, especially when you spend good money on poorly designed products that don’t work.

First off, I would say do not bother with any of the flimsy shoe racks they sell for about $15. Those are more of a pain than anything else as they fall apart easily and you won’t end up putting your shoes back on them because it’s too much effort. As with anything that has to do with organizing, you want it to be as easy as possible for everyone involved. This means keeping the most used items closest at hand and available for the people who need them.

Keep kid’s things low and handy so that it’s easy for them to get them when they need them and put them away when they are done. For kids, you can even call the place where things are kept “home“. So…’time to put your shoes back in their home‘, or ask them, ‘where do these shoes live?‘.

I think you are off to a good start with having your most worn pairs by the front door, the problem of course, being that they end up in a huge messy pile. That doesn’t work. First off, you didn’t mention if the piles at the door were just yours or those for your whole family? If you have enough room, I would recommend something like a shoe bench. The fancy ones can get quite pricey, but I saw one at www.benches.com that was lovely for just around $100 US.

(By the way, these are NOT affiliate links.)

Bench Storage Bench

Hanging Shoe OrganizerIf you have a hall closet nearby, you may want to use an over-the-door shoe organizer and/or one that hangs on the rod (of course, that may open a whole new can of worms of clearing out the hall closet!)

Over at www.organize.com, they have several varieties, just type in ‘shoe organizing’ in the box up top. Either one of those solutions will take care of 10-15 pairs of your shoes. I wouldn’t recommend this solution for your kids, however, because it’s too much trouble for little hands.

For kids, I would use a small sturdy rack right by the door like this one shown here.Shoe Rack Or even a separate basket for each kid to put their shoes and backpacks, with a hook right above it for their coats. Shoe cubbies work well for this as well, depending on how much room you have.

As for the shoes in your clothes closet, SS, I would separate them by how often you use them. If you rarely use them (for example fancy shoes for formal occasions), I love to use the clear shoe drawers from www.containerstore.com. Shoe Boxes

The reason I prefer these drawers to boxes, is that you can stack them two or three high without having them come crashing down on you when you are trying to get the pair on the bottom of the stack! I would go for the larger ones, as they are great for sports shoes and shoes with any kind of heels. You can also keep scarves, mittens and hats, ‘special’ lingerie, etc. in these and stack them as high as you need to in your closet, they are great!

Remember the organizing principle that says to keep the things you use the most closest at hand, with the things you rarely use in the hard-to-reach places, like that shelf on top of your clothing rod that you can’t reach without a step stool. If you are lucky enough to have a shelf that is at eye level, you can keep your every day shoes right there so you can just grab them and go!

I hope this helps, I would love to see the “before” and “after” shots of your solutions!

Remember, I am on your team!
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Jessica -:¦:-
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aimee November 24, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Great ideas!! Another thing? Pare down how many shoes you have. I really find that I wear about 3 pairs most of the time. Sure, I still have more than 3 pairs, possibly 10, but if you can get really honest and pare down, you will have less to store and worry about. And, if you donate them someone who really needs them would be using and loving them. :)

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2 Mary Mary November 25, 2006 at 3:05 am

Or you can try these stackable shoe boxes from Shoe Stor (http://www.clear-shoe-boxes.com). I have about 50 boxes from this company and the seem to work well for me

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3 Susan November 25, 2006 at 5:31 am

Thanks Mary, those boxes from http://www.clear-shoes-boxes.com look like a great alternative. More affordable!

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4 ChupieandJsmama November 26, 2006 at 8:21 am

Yay! for this organizing feature. My hubby has been begging me to find something to organize the shoes that we leave by the door in the garage. Also, thanks for the bench website. I know I want a bench at our entry way, but I haven’t found one that I like yet. Now I have another place to search. Can’t wait to get those shoes organized….

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5 Chaotic Mom November 26, 2006 at 2:39 pm

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially the bench with storage underneath. Two parts for shoes, one w/ a basket for hats, mitts, etc. I REALLY need to get to work on this. ;)

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6 Melissa November 28, 2006 at 4:32 pm

I try to keep no more than 3 pairs for each family member in our bench with storage. The rest goes to basement, relatives, and donation centers. Works for me (Oh, and I try to buy all shoes on clearance so it is not painful to get rid of them :)).

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