My Dirty Little Shoe Closet Secret (+How to Organize Yours)
It’s actually kind of funny: when I mentioned to a friend earlier this year about wanting to write a series of shoe blogger exposé posts, her eyes widened. She was genuinely horrified. This, she said, was a terrible, terrible idea.
Confessions of a Shoe Blogger
Why? Because I’d break everyone's illusion of having this shoe shopping, store hopping charmed life that I have apparently (& unintentionally) created for myself on Instagram. Of course, as is the case with most social media profiles, there are many less-than-Pinterest-worthy details we all intentionally omit. I mean, no one wants to see a brown clumpy smoothie or read about a ratty pair of shoes. Especially not on IG, God forbid!
Pretty images they say. Only perfectly curated images.
In short, my life is not a picture perfect, peony-sprinkled one. Not in an Instagrammable way, anyhow. It's dishevelled, a little frantic and I just couldn't imagine the stress of styling every detail of my life. The very thought exhausts me.
Which is precisely why I blog about shoes and leave it at that. And that's exactly where my first confession comes in: you'd expect a shoe blogger to have her shoe-related shit together.
Well, that's not exactly the case. The reality of my shoe closet, for instance: it might be particularly surprising.
My take on the best way to organize shoes in a closet (and easy shoe storage solution)? Possibly disappointing. Depends on whom you ask.
So here's my first confession.
My Shoe Closet is not Pinterest Worthy
So although you’d expect a shoe blogger to display/store her shoes like so…
Shop the display:
For reasons both practical and actually shmart (and you'll soon see why), this isn't anywhere close to how I organize shoes in a closet!
I mean, really what shoe closet? Where? Yeah, I don't even have one.
If you read my previous post about the pros & cons of writing a shoe blog, I have too many shoes than I know what to do with. Although this is not a problem in terms of feeding my shoe cravings, it is a massive hindrance to any visually pleasing organizational strategy. Especially that of the footwear variety. And sadly, because I don't have an whole extra room to house them in, I have to work with what I've got.
My “shoe closet” consists of a series of regular closets where my footwear simply rents out space. In the attic, if you will. And these currently look like this:
Shoe boxes stuffed right up to the ceiling of my closet (they actually continue towering up higher than you can even see!). I have 3 closets like this.
Clear plastic stacking shoe boxes housing some flats & heels by NEAT containers. Also, shoved at the top of my closet. And sandwiched somewhere in the middle.
You see, I have these ridiculously useless closets, where the doors don't span the full height of the actual closets themselves. So I'm left with 1.5 feet of empty, hard-to-reach space above them.
But making lemonade out of closet lemons, I added a few shallow shelves, and voila'! Perfect shoe box storage for the space I've been handed.
How NOT to Organize and Store your Shoes
Now, in defence of my organizational aesthetics, there's a method to my ugly shoe box madness. The grainy photos? Not so much (so apologies for those).
Because unless you're frequently swapping out the shoes on your “shoe shelves”, keeping your footwear permanently on display is simply doing a grave injustice to your prized possessions. For instance, the display I temporarily created with my living room Ikea Billy Bookcase shelving for the purposes of this post.
Practical? Not exactly.
Why? Because the dust & sunlight can irreparably damage those pretty heels. And no, I don't care if your shoe shelves have doors. Trust me, the dust always wins!
And do you know what the experts suggest for taking dust off suede shoes? A Hoover. Yeah, how well do you think that's going to bode for your shoes?!
So don't be a shoe sadist, I beg you (and yes, I'm talking to you style bloggers!).
How to Organize Shoes & Store them
This is my long-winded way of saying that the best way to organize shoes & store them, is just as the Shoe Gods intended: inside their duster bags & snapped back into their box. No dust, no destruction. Really. Freaking. Simple
You can quote me on that.
Nothing beats having the original box with the brand & image of the shoe to remind you what’s actually in there. If it even gets to that point (yep. it has with me). So hang onto your shoe boxes, ladies & gents. But just in case you ditched them already, here are some tips & alternatives:
- Don't discount transparent shoe box stacking systems: they work great, with the added bonus that you can see right inside. I use NEAT Containers because the pod system allows me to easily slide each pair in & out without ruining the stack. The whole lot was gifted to me 5 years ago & I'm still using it regularly. But there are tons of similar alternatives out there. Even nifty shoe containers you can place under your bed.
- No product image on the random box you're using to store your shoes? No problem! Snap them with an Instax & tack the picture on. That's it 🙂
- And if you've hit an all time shoe high? Catalog your shoes. I can't stress this enough. Just snap some pics in a “shoes I own” album in your phone. You don't have to be Imelda Marcos to lose track of the shoes that you own! I know I did at one point.
So to conclude my first Shoe Blogger Confession, you now all know how I organize my shoes & how I most certainly do not. Hopefully though, you can all walk away enlightened (and somewhat appalled!) on what myself & many others believe to be the best way to organize shoes, in a closet, or wherever you have the space for them.
Stay tuned for the next confession…but until then, here are a few shoe boxes, storage ideas & handy tools that will help keep your footwear safely stored until you're ready to secure them on your feet.
Any questions? Just ask!
Happy shoe storing 🙂