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By Jordan Goldberg and Kristi Kellogg
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Whether you’re someone who frequently shops, or you simply don’t have enough closet space, finding the best shoe organizers can be tricky. Although shoes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes to perfectly accessorize your outfit for any occasion, the variety of styles can make it challenging to keep your collection in order. If you’re constantly running around or in a hurry, it’s crucial to be able to find the shoes you’re looking for.
So if you—like us—have spent one too many hours digging through a closet to find a shoe’s match, you’re long overdue to find a shoe organization system that works in harmony with your daily life. We spoke to professional closet organizers for their expert tips on how to organize (and show off!) all of your favorite shoes.
Ahead, discover their expert tips alongside the very best shoe organizers (including shelves, racks, and more). Get ready to bid adieu to the unorganized pile of shoes on your closet floor.
If you have room on your closet floor, you can add a shoe rack underneath all of your hanging clothes. Before purchasing, measure the width of the inside of your closet so you can purchase a shoe rack that fits nicely into the space.
You can also add a shoe storage unit to an entryway hall or mudroom where your guests and household members can place their shoes neatly when entering the space (not to mention they’ll have easy easy access as they head out the door).
Your shoe rack doesn’t have to be a humdrum affair. You can opt for something stylish that doubles as home decor (which is especially key if you need to put it, say, directly by the front door in your living room). We like this steel one from Open Spaces, which comes in a variety of colors including black, cream, navy, and dark green (pictured). Or if you want something made of wood and classic, consider the midcentury-modern pick from West Elm.
“When you’re in a small space, you want to make use of vertical space,” explains Ashley La Fond, a professional organizer and consultant for Open Spaces. If you have vertical space on a wall, a shoe tower can work to maximize storage in a narrow space.
They’ve already seen some wear and tear anyway, so why not toss your sneakers and slippers into a pretty woven basket that makes everything look instantly neater? Tuck it into a corner, and you’ll never have to search for that missing left shoe again.
Shelf risers are an effective way to double up the amount of space on any storage shelf. “They’re a great way to display shoes and take advantage of that vertical space,” Ashley says. “These work really well for kids’ tiny shoes, doubling how many you can store on a single shelf.”
If you have an unused corner in your closet, you can fill the floor space with clear stackable shoe bins. “If you don’t have shelves in your closet, shoe bins can create an entire shoe display,” notes Corinne Morahan, CEO of home organizing consultancy Grid + Glam. “They fit most sizes of shoes, and can be stacked as high as you have space for.”
The term winterizing doesn’t apply just to your sweaters. Swapping out your shoes based on the seasons is a strategic way to make more room in your closet. Michaela Katz, cofounder of Twice as Organized, recommends under-the-bed shoe storage boxes to help maximize your closet space and make room for the shoes you are currently wearing. Under-bed shoe organizers also keep your out-of-season shoes safe and dust-free when they’re not in use.
This shoe storage solution is an oldie but a goodie in all things home organization. If you don’t have room on your closet shelves or floor, adding an over-the-door shoe rack is a simple and affordable way to create storage space that didn’t exist before. Lisa Jacobs, founder of Imagine It Done, further explains the utility of a hanging shoe organizer: “This is a great solution for sneakers, sandals, and other flat shoes.”
Think outside the (shoe) box with a metal grid panel. It turns out it’s an extremely effective way to hang a lot of shoes—specifically pumps and platforms, since the heels slot right into the grid. Lean this up at an angle and, bam, instant metal shoe rack. And due to its minimalist geometric design, the makeshift shoe storage rack looks chic.
Cubbies can be another great shoe storage option. The fuss-free organization system works for all types of shoes (with the exception of tall boots). Shoe cubbies come in a variety of sizes: Large shoe cubbies are perfect as a garage catchall, and smaller versions are great in a closet or small space. You can even find benches with built-in cubbies.
If your wardrobe has more shoes than blouses, take advantage of your closet rod for shoe storage. Use S-shaped hooks to hang women’s strappy sandals and heels from the rod. Use hangers with clips to keep pairs of boots together and organized. (If you’re worried about marks or dents, add foam between the clip and the boot to protect the leather.)
You can make your own shoe shelf in any closet of any size with a duo of expandable tension rods. Place one rod, slightly lower, in front of the other—this way you’ll be able to hook the heel of a shoe over the higher one and rest the sole on the lower bar for stability. Plus, if you install the tension rod high enough, you’ll still have enough floor space in your closet for even more pairs of shoes beneath.
One last decluttering tip before we leave you to your closet: Donate or sell shoes you no longer wear. If you haven’t worn them in a while, they’re actually taking up valuable real estate in your closet. Being able to donate or sell your shoes is a way to give them a new life and create more room in your closet.
If you’re looking to sell items from your shoe collection, sites such as thredup or TheRealReal are great online consignment stores that easily and sustainably get rid of shoes that are no longer your style. Look for local clothing donations centers, such as Goodwill, to donate and pass lightly worn shoes on to someone who needs them. You can also donate shoes at DSW (you’ll get loyalty points for each donation, and those points can be redeemed for merchandise).