The Best Way to Store Shoes in a Closet

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One of the biggest challenges when you’re tidying your closet has to do with where to put your shoes and how to store them properly. I’m sure you’ve acquired quite a lot of shoes throughout the years—sneakers, sandals, flip flops, boots, formal shoes—the list is endless.

Sometimes, especially if you live in a place where storage space is limited, it can be challenging to find ways to store shoes in a small closet. On the other hand, if you have a bigger place and quite a number of shoes, it can be difficult to keep track of where you placed your shoes last. Now, unless you want to become the next Cinderella, it’s best to store your shoes neatly where you can easily find them whether you live in a big house or a small one.

Get Your Shoes Sorted First

Before we get started on keeping our shoes in the closet, there are a couple of things we need to do first:

1. Determine what shoes you’ll keep and what you’ll give away.

I am a huge fan of Marie Kondo’s way of tidying things up: “Does this bring you joy?”

Before you take all your shoes and put them in the closet, first ask yourself: do I need this? Do I like how I look when I wear it? If the answer is no, then don’t hesitate and throw it out! This will help you get rid of things that you don’t need and clear more space for more shoes (wink, wink).

2. Categorize your shoes.

After separating the shoes you no longer need, the next thing to do is to categorize the shoes you’ve decided to keep. What are the shoes that you wear all the time (sneakers, flip flops, everyday walking shoes)? What are some shoes that you wear only on special occasions (formal shoes, boots)?

Set these neatly aside into two different piles so that when you store them, you will be able to put the shoes that you frequently use at a place easier to reach, while the shoes that you only use during special occasions can be placed at the higher shelves or allotted a slot further to the back of your closet.

You may also opt to further categorize the shoes that you wear frequently. Organize your shoes according to:

  • Shoes that you wear to work (or school
  • Shoes that you wear for luncheons or dinners or special occasions that are not necessarily formal
  • Shoes that you wear to the gym or when you go jogging or do a lot of walking

This way, the next time you need to look for a pair of shoes, you will easily be able to remember where you placed them and not have to turn your closet inside out in search of the perfect pair.

Now that we’ve got the shoes we want, here are some ideas and easy tips and tricks to go about storing your shoes in your closet:

1. Put them in containers.

It’s hard to find your shoes if you don’t know where to look. One of the best ways to be able to find what you need to wear is by storing each pair of shoes in a clear plastic container. This way, you can see what you’re looking for instead of having to open all your shoeboxes.

For starters, you can check out some of these amazing clear plastic shoe boxes on Amazon:

Acryllic shoe storage boxes
One way of storing shoes is in an mDesign Stackable box, which is a space saving and hygienic way to stack lots of shoes on top of each other.

There’s also no problem with using the original shoe boxes of your shoes or even getting some brown boxes if you want to have just one look and feel. To help you whenever you’re on the shoe search, however, it would be good to take a photo of your shoe, print it out, and hang it or stick it on the corresponding shoebox that houses it. That way, the next time you need to go out and can’t remember where you placed the shoes that go best with your outfit, you don’t need to uncover every shoebox. You can just check out the tags of the shoeboxes until you find the one you’re looking for.

2. Use wire hangers or hang them up in shoe organizers.

Now hanging up your shoes in hangers might seem like a unique idea, but, hey, it works! You can get some wire hangers and hang up your flip flops and sandals. All you have to do is cut the bottom rung off a few hangers and then use pliers to bend the edges into hooks. You can now hang up your shoes on those hooks, either through the thongs of the flip flops or sandals or the tops of your flats.

Hanging shoe storage and organizer for a closet
The Ziz Home Hanging Shoe ORganizer has 10 individual compartments, each with space for one pair of shoes.

If you want to do a crossover between hanging up shoes and putting them in a box-like storage, you can try the shoe organizers that can hang from the metal clothes rod in your closet. It is better to place the shoes that you often use in this because they are easy to get.

Amazon has a lot of amazing hanging shoe organizers that come in different lengths and number of shoes that can fit:

3. Use space savers for your shoe closet.

If you have a designated shelf space for your shoes, you might want to purchase shoe slots organizers that will allow you to put one shoe on top of its other pair without dirtying or squashing it.

Some great ones would be the following:

This is also a great space saver and can store anything from sneakers to low or high heels to sandals and even kids’ shoes.

Finally, how do you decide which shoes go where?

Remember the two piles I asked you to make earlier, with shoes that you frequently use and shoes that you only take out during special occasions?

For the shoes that you don’t use as much or the shoes that you only need on special occasions or certain seasons, you can tuck those away at the back of your closet, or put them on the topmost shelf. Make sure they are clean and then put them in their respective boxes with labels or the clear boxes, if you decided to go with those.

Note: It would be good to store boots upright and use boot stands so the tops don’t flop ever. You can check out this boot stand rack that you can just slide over to the back of your cabinet or these colorful boot shapers that clip your boots together or these boot shaper stands that you can slip into each boot. Or if you don’t want to spend, you can just use some empty, dry wine bottles to keep the shape of your boot.

For the shoes that you use frequently, determine what storage works best for your closet. You don’t have to go with just one of the methods mentioned above, but can do a mix and match with any that you like. You can put your work shoes in a hanging shoe organizer since they are the ones you use day in and day out, and if every you are rushing, you simply need to reach out and grab them. If you have a designated shelf space for shoes, you can also place them there. For the flip flops and sandals, you can hang them up or put them in the clear storage containers, as well as the other shoes you have for running or walking.

Pro tips: Are you worried about how to store your shoes in your closet without smell? Here’s what you can do:

  • Avoid storing shoes that are wet. Don’t put them in their containers or even inside your closet until they are completely dry. Shoes need to be properly aired for them to dry thoroughly.
  • Don’t put leather shoes in plastic. Instead, wrap them in acid-free tissue so they don’t end up smelly, moldy, or discolored.
  • Air out your shoes before keeping them up after every time you use them. Make sure you wipe them up as well before storing them again.

While storing shoes may seem like such a daunting task, it is nothing to worry about and the process of sorting and storing can actually be an enjoyable process. As long as you know what you like and work creatively given the space that you have, storing your shoes can be easy and fun. You can always try out different methods and test what works best for you until you find the best way to store shoes in your own closet.

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