How to Organize Shoes

Jon Fesmire |

Are you tired of not being able to find your shoes because you come home, kick them off, and can’t remember where they went? Having trouble finding that pair of boots you need for a special event?

Don’t worry. We’ve got the best shoe organization ideas so you can keep every pair you own in one convenient place.

Shelves

Whether you have one or two pairs of shoes for each member of your family or an entire collection, shelving for shoes is a good storage solution. You can also think of shelving as the framework for some of the other shoe organization ideas we’ll cover in this article.

Bookcases are one of the most common types of shelving we use. However, their shelves tend to be 12 inches or more apart to accommodate books of different sizes. For shoes, shelves five to seven inches apart work better, giving enough room to organize different types of shoes without wasting much space.

Shoe shelves come in different materials, heights, and orientations. For a small family, this might mean a unit with two or three levels kept by the front door. For someone with many shoes, it could mean a tall case in the bedroom or closet. The shelves may be parallel to the floor, or slanting downward toward you, making it easier to see the various pairs.

To keep your footwear separate from each other, you may also consider shelf separators.

Cubbies

Shoe cubbies are basically shelves with existing partitions to keep each pair separate. Like shelves, they come in different heights and widths. Most are made of wood, and you can find them in different colors, or purchase and paint them.

Some DIY enthusiasts have created cubbies from tube-shaped containers, which gives a fun look to a room.

Shoe cubby benches are great for families with a couple pairs of shoes each, who want to take off their shoes immediately when they get home and put them back on before going out. You can put the bench near the front door and have a seat as you change in or out of them.

Cubbies work well inside or outside a closet.

Dressers

Closely related to cubbies, we have shoe dressers. These are similar to clothing dressers, with drawers, though the drawers are usually shorter. In fact, they tend to be shorter than traditional dressers as well.

You’ll find some with long drawers, into which you can store many pairs, and some with small drawers for individual pairs. Since you’ll need enough room to pull out the drawers, these will, in general, work better in your bedroom or a larger closet.

Cabinets

Take shelves and cubbies in a slightly different direction, and you have another good shoe organizing solution: cabinets. A shoe cabinet will have shelves or cubbies inside with the right dimensions for storing shoes, and a door or doors on the front. Open the door, and get your shoes. The doors can be made of solid wood, to hide your shoes, or frame glass so that you can see them. A good place for a shoe cabinet is the bedroom or near the front door. Shoe cabinets are generally not very tall, perhaps four feet or so.

Boxes

There are all sorts of ways to organize your shoes in boxes.

Boxes are stackable, can fit in many different spaces, and can be made of different materials. They combine well with the other organization ideas.

If you have just a few pairs of shoes, you may want to get a clear, plastic box for each, and put them side-by-side on the top shelf of your closet.

If you choose this solution, we suggest either purchasing clear boxes or decorative boxes for your shoes. If you’re so inclined, you can decorate them yourself. You can also use the boxes your shoes came in, saving money, but adding a personal touch.

Self Storage

If you want to put some of your shoes in self storage, such as when you’re swapping in one seasonal wardrobe for another, we recommend putting them in individual boxes, and then putting those into a larger storage box.

Before you do so, clean them. Since there are many types of shoes made of different materials, find out how to clean yours based on the manufacturer's recommendations. For example, Nike has a good explanation of how to clean tennis shoes. Put them away once they are completely dry. This will make it far less likely that the shoes will attract pests due to dirt and plant debris sticking to them, and less likely to take damage from mold due to moisture.

To protect them even better while in a storage unit, get a unit with climate control. This will cost about 25% more than a standard unit, but the protection for your items of all types is worth it.

With one, or a combination, of these ideas in place, it will be much easier for you to locate your shoes on a day-to-day basis. Get in the habit of putting them away when you get home, and you won’t even have to think about where they are. You’ll just know.