Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Practical Shoe Storage

 Where do you keep a Mountain of shoes?


We have TONS of shoes. No, not due to a shoe fetish. Or compulsive shopping. Simply 6 pairs of feet, 12 total, for each activity we engage in. We have sneakers, cleats, sandals, flip flops, dress shoes, cowboy boots, riding boots, winter boots, rain boots, and slippers. If piled in the family room, (which I do each year when sorting outgrown shoes) it makes a huge mountain of shoes. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of it, which I meant to do and forgot. These are not, mine, just an internet image, but you get the gist. Just multiply it by about 4 times the pile.

So, rather than have that in my (very small) front foyer or (very narrow) mud room, I have come up with a few solutions that work for our family and will share them here. 

This basket lives in my front hall.

First, the simplest; a laundry basket placed close to the door. No, not lovely, but very functional. No, all shoes don't end up in it every time, but yes, I can toss them in a nanosecond and all looks tidy, plus a lot of the dirt from the shoes ends up in the basket and I can easily dump it out from time to time. The basket is pretty empty now, because most of the feet are at school or work, but even full, it is manageable. When it overflows I ask someone to empty it (or I do it myself) and the overflow goes to the other solutions described below. This basket is for our MFWS (most frequently worn shoes) and gets more play in the warmer months, when our entry is frequently through the front door.

Mud Room

The next solution is an Over-The-Door Vinyl Shoe Organizer. They can be purchased in various places, but I provided a link to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Again, not lovely, but highly functional. Some of you may know that I have twin 8 year old girls, and so have two pairs of every shoe for them. These organizers are only for the girls' shoes, and I have Megan keep hers on the left two columns, Shanna on the right two. (I try to keep this left/right pattern consistent for all of their storage, hooks, backpacks, toothbrushes, beds, etc.)

These hang in my back hall that enters the garage. We call it the mud room, although it is really just a hallway with a small cubby system. If you look closely, you can see that above the soccer cleats on the left side are also the shin guard and above them the soccer socks. This works out really well. In the winter, this whole organizer will become empty (due to seasonal gear and flip flops) and I will replace with hats, gloves and scarves for the family.

Entrance to Laundry Room
Here is another view of the hallway storage. Here you can see the boot trays (three of them, where we keep wet shoes and boots.
Beyond this door is the laundry room, where another solution lives.
Storage in Laundry Room

 This is the main storage place for everyday shoes for my husband and I, plus some extra sneakers and boots for all the kids. This is where we keep shoes for the garden, mowing the lawn and exercising. This Horizontal Organizer fits together in sets of two shelves, and is made by Closetmaid. It comes in two sizes, 24" and 31" and several colors. Pictured here are three sets of 31" and one set of 24" (to allow room for the taller boots on the side). I provided a link to Target, but I noticed they were on sale at our local Valu Home Center this week, through 9/22.

Outdoor Shoes in Garage

The next storage area is in the garage, where we keep the rain boots and winter boots until we need to wear them. During the winter, we keep them on trays in the mud room, but if not needed for long periods, they go out here.

Dressier Shoes, used occasionally

Finally, a bit of storage for our dressier shoes. This Closetmaid 15 Unit Organizer holds my and my husband's shoes. Each of my older two children have a couple of pairs of dress shoes in their closets, on one set of those 24" Horizontal Closetmaid Organizers. You may notice that most of my organizers are not filled to capacity. I highly recommend that you try to keep to this, as it is far more rewarding to live this way, than to constantly be trying to stuff shoes where they won't fit. See steps below and purchase a bit more storage than you think you will need.


To get started with this project, I suggest the following steps:

  1. First gather all your shoes to one room (don't forget to take a picture). You may want to put down a sheet first.
  2. Then sort by person, and have each person try on (esp important for little ones who grow so fast).
  3. Sort into piles: KEEP IN ACTIVE WEAR, DONATE, GROW INTO, and TRASH. Have the kids write out labels on scrap paper so the piles are obvious and the kids are involved.
  4. Once shoes are sorted and purged by person, decide logical divisions your family's shoes (like frequency of use, sports, age group, etc.)
  5. Decide where each category should live- measure spaces and decide what supplies are needed.
  6. Purchase supplies or re-purpose from other parts of the house.
  7. Put shoes away and offer brief training to other family members.
  8. Pat self on back for job well done.
If you need help with this or any other organizing project, Simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.
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