Shoes are the problem children of every closet. Not only do they take up a lot of room (we’re looking at you, thigh-high boots), but they also come in awkward shapes and seem to accumulate faster than dust bunnies. Keep reading to learn what strategies you can put in place to regain control of your footwear.


1. Sort Shoes by Frequency of Use.

If you’re staring at a huge pile of shoes and you don’t know where to start, begin by sort them according to how often you wear each pair, said Helena Alkhas, a personal organizer in San Diego. Pick out the pairs you wear almost every day, then create a category for shoes you use every week or every other week. Finally, separate out the shoes you wear only for special occasions.

Now, store each category of shoes using strategies that fit in with your routine. For example, keep your daily-use shoes in the hallway closet or near the door, and reserve prime bedroom closet space for the shoes you use every week or so.

And those shoes you wear only when you’re invited to a gala? Alkhas recommends storing them on the top shelves of your closet.


2. Maximize Closet Space.

Is your shoe collection growing while your closet space seems to be shrinking? It’s time to get a little creative.

“You want to maximize literally every inch of available storage space,” said Helen Stringer, a personal organizer and owner of Organized by Helen in Kansas City, MO.

For example, if you’ve got a stepladder, try using your closet’s crown molding as a makeshift ledge for hanging your heels. Stringer also recommends staggering tension rods inside your closet and setting your shoes along the rods.

“The back of any door is prime real estate to use as storage,” Stringer added. Over-the-door shoe organizers can hold dozens of pairs of shoes at a time.


3. Let Furniture Do Double Duty.

Tried every trick in the book and still can’t fit anything else in your closets? Turn to your furniture for smart solutions that your guests won’t even know are there (unless your shoes smell really bad … but that’s a topic for another article.)

For quick access to footwear, opt for under-the-bed chests and organizers that come with rollers, Stringer said.

“My favorite type of shoe storage for daily use is a piece of IKEA furniture that looks like a dresser but that is actually a pullout box where you can insert your shoes,” Alkhas said.

And if you love the idea of stealth storage, go for ottomans and benches that function as living room furniture but open up to reveal space for several pairs of shoes.


4. Make It Easy for Kids.

Kids’ shoes are adorable—until you trip over a pair of tiny Mary Janes on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Both experts agree that simpler is better when it comes to keeping kids’ shoes out of your path. Alkhas and Stringer have found success by putting out a labeled storage bin, giving kids a designated spot to quickly toss their shoes rather than leaving them around your home.  


5. Take Care With Long-Term Storage.

If your plan for long-term storage involves stuffing shoes into a large box or suitcase, they’re likely to be damaged when you take them out, Alkhas said.

Clean your shoes thoroughly before packing them away, she said. To protect the structure of each shoe, invest in shoetrees and a sturdy shoebox for each pair.

Photo courtesy of Marianne Madden/Flickr