Next-level Shoe Storage
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Taking Inventory of What you Have
The shoes were piling up. I had to be honest with myself, I had (have) a shoe problem. As I sorted through my closets for a mid-pandemic home move to a new, smaller, apartment I knew I'd have to part with almost half of my shoe collection. I had a few pairs that were trendy and outdated or just way too high and way too pointy. Those were easy to part with.
But as I worked through all of them I realized many pairs were jammed in the back of my closet, still in their cardboard shoe boxes. Being in the farthest deepest reaches of my closets meant I hadn't worn some great pairs of shoes at all or at the very least, for the past couple of years. I vowed to make them easier to see and access in my new closets.
Getting Started - Sorting and Organizing
My first task once we'd moved in was to source some clear, lidded storage boxes that would be easy to stack on the small shelved section of the closet. I found some great boxes on amazon for a reasonable price. I ordered what I needed and set them to ship prime so I wouldn't have to wait long.
Next, was to figure out how I'd organize them. I knew from past experience that they'd be out of sight, out of mind, so it was important that I could see what was in each box. Given the vast majority of my shoes are black (yes, so is my wardrobe) I realized it wouldn't be easy to tell from looking at the box. I remembered I'd seen a home organization show a couple years ago that suggested in ingenious idea - Polaroids of the shoes in each box attached to the outside! I loved this idea. So I bought a Polaroid Instamax and some extra film.
The Shoe Box & Labelling Process
Once everything arrived, I got to work. I used to display my frequently worn pairs in my old apartment on a low book case. It was narrow enough to fit against the wall without impeding the closet doors, and the perfect depth for a pair of shoes in my size. I was fortunate to have a spacious dressing area. What I didn't realize was what was buried in the back of my closets.
Ikea billy bookcase
I began the process by pulling out all the pairs of shoes and boots from the bottom of my closet. I hadn't yet gotten to the haul of shoe boxes in the back.
I sorted through every pair and determined the keepers from the pile. I then packed them all up to move to the new apartment. Once I'd moved in and got to the shoes, I organized each pair by those I'd store in shoe boxes and the others I'd leave out or in the bottom of my closet. Then all the precious pairs I kept and moved with me were put into the clear shoe storage boxes. I actually had fund with the little photo shoot for each pair. I took each photo in the same spot on my beautiful kitchen island, with the same positioning of the shoes and overhead lighting. Despite my best efforts, the Polaroids aren't consistent - and you don't know how the photo will look until it develops. But I like the retro vibe of the photos.
Shoe boxes from Amazon
Polaroid Instax + film from Indigo
Obviously not every pair ended up in a box as I didn't have enough shelf space. Those that have are super easy to access and it's been simple to maintain. I have a few extra boxes so when I get new shoes now, I transfer them over to a box and take a quick photo. Overall, I'm thrilled with the results and it's been incredibly easy, and satisfying, maintaining order in my closet.
Read more about closet organization in my post How to Let Go of What You Don't Need.