The serious business of shoe organisation

I have trouble with storage, and with organising.

I have hoarding tendencies, and tend to fill every nook and cranny with stuff.  Which then makes it hard to find things when I need them.  I think for the things that are important to you, and important that you be able to get to them, you find a way. Mission: to find a way that works.

I’ve struggled with storage for my shoe and boot collection for some time and have been thinking about solutions. Some I’ve found over the past few days may help you too.

1. Purge the collection.

Purge, ladies, purge! It really will make it easier to find the ones you’ve got.

  • If they’re broken/waiting to be repaired and it’s been 6 months or more – let em go.
  • If they’re uncomfortable, tight, too loose, have just never fit – let em go.
  • If you have multiple pairs of the same type of shoe, and you only wear one or two – let some go.
  • If you’ve changed your style and no longer wear certain footwear you used to – let em go. (I suppose there may come a day when I don’t wear platforms…and weeping, I’ll throw out at least half my collection).

I ended up throwing 5 pairs of shoes out. Some were broken – I had to realise I would never get them fixed.

Some were just old and scuffed, and even if they held happy memories of when I wore them as my tap shoes when I played Bonnie in Anything Goes back in 1995, there is a time to say buh-bye.  And how many Mary Janes do I need? There are still a few that are stylish and in good nick that are a bit small, that I will either give to friends or sell on ebay.

2. Look for storage space.

  • Find a place in your home that suits you, and which is large enough to house your collection.
  • Actually walk around your home and look for options/possible wasted spaces.

There just wasn’t room in my bedroom and wardrobe, and they’d keep spilling out all over the floor, tripping up my poor hubby when going to bed. And making it a nightmare to find the right pair when I needed them.

I realised the shoe rack needed to be visible and accessible. If you only wear a few different pairs of shoes, then just under the bed may work fine. But I wear lots of different ones.

3. Think laterally.

 We’re used to thinking of certain spaces must be used for certain things.
  • Maybe the bedroom isn’t the best place for YOU.
  • Maybe you have current storage options that you’re using for something else.
  • It could be a bookshelf that currently houses books.
  • It might be the oven, if you don’t cook (channelling Carrie Bradshaw here).
  • If you get rid of old appliances/furniture etc you’ve “been meaning to throw out” you might find the space for your glorious shoes.
  • You could even use the back of a door (or several doors) and use those canvas hanging racks.

I was looking at my deep shelving unit in the spare room that currently held my hats, hat blocks, millinery and craft books and asssorted crafty materials. I realised that if I could move a lot of that stuff elsewhere, the shelves were high enough to store my boots, without them being folded over. GREAT!  Do you have a shelving unit or bookcase that could be used in this way?

4. When enough isn’t enough.

Maybe you’ve already figured out what works for you, but it’s not quite big enough. Add to it.

I had a few paltry levels to my shoe rack that just weren’t cutting it. I went out today to my local shopping centre and bought more wooden shoe racks ($8.99 each at Go Lo). I assembled them, and now the rack stands about the same height as me!

I used the spaces between rows to store shoes as well – the flat shoes worked just fine as is, and other pairs I just turned sideways. On the shelving unit, the shelves were deep enough that I could put the boots 2 deep. I can still see the boots behind so I won’t forget they’re there.

5. Make it look pretty, as well as functional.
  • Group the shoes/boots in a way that makes sense to you
  • Make it aesthetically pleasing (think of it as an artwork, perhaps)

Both from a visual and organisational perspective, I decided to group the shoes in certain ways.  I kept the biggest platform shoes together, kept the black or black and white together, metallics together, and kept similar colours together. Sporty shoes, espadrilles, summer flip flop sandals, went to the bottom. The boots on the deep shelves, I put the ankle and calf boots together, and the knee high ones on the top shelf.

It looks a bit like a shoe shop now, but I love just looking at all my precious things out on display. I left a lot of my hats scattered around, because they’re accessories too..and I haven’t thought of anywhere else to store them! My fave bags are now in the wardrobe where the shoes used to be – but there’s anough space for them, so it works 🙂

I suppose some pictures are in order, eh? Well, here they come….

The shoe rack overall

From the top down…
And the boots on shelves, firstly overall..
And now left to right.

So now, even if the rest of the flat is disorganised, and even if the rest of my life is disorganised, at least my shoes aren’t.  Next on the agenda…polishing the scuffed ones, and taking a few to the bootmaker to be reheeled.

 So that suits me for now. How do you store your shoe collection? In shoeboxes with polaroids, like some stylists do? Under the bed or in the wardrobe, wherever they’re thrown? In those over-the-back-of-the-door canvas holders perhaps? Or in a row by the door (if you live alone). What works for you?

Some products you could use to organise your shoes:

Some blogs/websites on organising, to get you inspired:


  1. I so love your shoes and boots collections!!!