It is so much easier to organize your home if you give yourself manageable tasks. Suburbs 101 contributor, Maura Fitzgerald is making organizing less overwhelming with her monthly column: How to Tackle Your Whole House Throughout The Year Without Becoming Overwhelmed. This month, Maura gives us her Shoe Storage and Organization Tips.
Shoe Organization absolutely varies by individual and by family. Some people have large and gorgeous collections of designer heels and care for their shoes diligently. Sporty families have tons of specialty sneakers. Spinning, tennis and running (road vs. inside) are just a few examples that require their own specialty sneakers. In my house we have 3 kids and what feels like 80 pairs of shoes between the 3 of them – party shoes, sneakers, glitter sneakers, tennis shoes, soccer cleats, ballet shoes, sandals, and water shoes to name the major categories. And because kids generally get dressed by the front door they all need to live in our entry. Because shoe collections are so very personal there is not a tried and true system or rule in place. For our projects, we take on shoe organization with complete customization in mind. Below are some of the systems and solutions we love for the most common shoe storage challenges.
Where and How to Store Shoes
Built-In shelves are a great place to store shoes. Especially if you have tilted built-in shoe shelves. If you have these or have space and inclination to build them I recommend you organize shoes by occasion and color. Sandals and flats should reside on the top shelves moving down to heels and finally boots and ankle boots.
If you have a spare closet or flat shelves in your master closet that can be used for shoes here are a few tips. On flat shelves, shoes should always be stored head to toe. This space saver will allow for more shoes on each shelf. Organize by color in ROYGBIV order.
Product Recommendations: “Shoe Space Savers” by The Container Store actually doubles your storage space. If you have enough space but just want to protect your shoes and have a sophisticated and organized look I recommend the linen “Drop Front Shoe Boxes”, also from the Container store. Another great product are the “Heeled Shoe Boxes” by the Container Store. These are acrylic and come in 3 sizes – one for flops & flats, one for pumps and one for ankle boots and taller heels. These ensure you aren’t wasting any vertical space by having to put a pair of flops in a box that would fit a heel.
Over the Door
Shoes should be stored on the inside of a closet door (bedroom, entry, mudroom, etc) when they have started to just collect in messy piles on the floor. I recommend over the door storage for lighter weight and more compact shoes like sandals and sneakers. There are several over the door options but I always gravitate to the linen/fabric options vs. the clear plastic options. They just look nicer. Whichever over the door option you choose you’ll be getting storage for an extra 20-36 pairs of shoes per closet or space. In general, over the door storage is extremely effective.
Product Recommendations: “20 Pocket Eco Fabric Over The Door Shoe Bag” by The Container Store.
In The Mudroom or Entry
Baskets or bins are your best bet for this location. Each family member should have their own, labeled bin. In that same vein, for mudroom built-ins with drawers, each drawer should be labeled by family member. I love these Steele Canvas bins (vinyl trim option) that can be customized via The Home Edit with names and words i.e. “Maura’s Shoes” . If the rustic look of the Steel Canvas bins isn’t in line with your entry design then labeled bin or baskets will do. Serena and Lilly always have pretty options. For families, I recommend bins with lids to keep things looking ordered.
Boots are Made For Hanging
If your space permits, I love hanging boots. It gets them off the floor, maintains their shape and they collect less dust when suspended. Another tip I saw online this summer, but have not tried, is cutting extra pool/boat noodles to size and using them as boot shapers. It’s not the loveliest idea but it looks 100% functional. We have a million noodles at our family summer home and I’m definitely going to repurpose a few this fall!
Product Recommendations: Boot Butler Storage Rack available on Amazon.
On The Floor
This is not my favorite option but is often necessary. Rather than let shoes pile up and look messy (and waste countless minutes searching and digging through shoes for the one pair you need). I recommend purchasing a free-standing shoe rack. These will capitalize on whatever vertical space you have.
Toss them. Unless they are for a high-end pair of shoes that you hope to consign one day. You might even proactively check The Real Real to see what brands they will consign for you. They only consign they very top brands and if your shoe brands aren’t on the list, there is no need to keep the boxes. If your shoe brands are on their list remove the boxes from your closet and place them in a storage room, protected in a large plastic bin. There is no need for them to take up closet space.
How to Purge Shoes
Like clothing, people generally hold on to shoes a bit too long. Therefore the rules for purging shoes remain consistent with a closet reorganization. Toss well-worn sneakers and sports shoes. Consign high-end heels and flats that you haven’t worn in more than a year. I recommend The Real Real and ThredUp. Donate well worn mid-brand shoes to Goodwill or another charity if they are in good shape.
Ideally, shoe organization should be tackled once a year especially for families with kids and before the start of the new school year. It may seem overwhelming. The secret to organizing your home is to break down the project by manageable tasks. Or if you are truly overwhelmed, you can always reach out to Fitz Just Right for all your organizational needs!
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About Maura Fitzgerald
Maura Fitzgerald was born in NYC and raised in Bronxville, NY. She holds a BA from Georgetown University and worked in Print and Digital Advertising Sales for 20 years at Forbes and Time Inc. Now Maura is the founder of Fitz Just Right (FJR), a Luxury Organizational Design Company servicing Westchester County September through June and Annapolis, MD in summer months. She recently launched a new label business, Labelize It. Offering Luxury, Custom Cut Vinyl Labels that keep your home and business organized – one label at a time! Maura and her husband love working for the weekends where they have non-stop action and fun with their 3 children….and everything isn’t always organized. She lives in Bronxville, NY with her husband and three children. Website: www.fitzjustright.com Instagram: @labelizeit and @fitzjustright
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