Closet Case: How to Store Your Shoes

Kim Oser, owner of
Kim Oser, owner of

There’s something about having to purge your closet to make room for new items that brings out the inner-hoarder in all of us — especially with shoes. Sure, you haven’t worn those polka dot patent leather stilettos in at least a year, but “you never know if there’s an event later down the line that you might be able to wear them to,” right?

Kim Oser is the owner of Need Another You, a professional organizing firm based in the Washington, D.C.-area, and is also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Here, she offers some budget-friendly tips on how to get your shoe collection in order.

S&P: When you’re working with limited space, how do you determine when it’s time to toss a pair (or two) of shoes from your closet?

Kim: Oftentimes we keep more shoes than we could possibly ever wear or have the space for in our closet. The best way to determine shoe storage is to pare down your actual shoe collection. For those who are shocked at the thought of paring down their shoe collection, look at all of your shoes and ask yourself a few questions:

Shoe Box, $1.89,
Shoe Box, $1.89,

Do you have a matching pair?

Do you really like them?

Do they fit?

Are they comfortable?

Are they in style?

Are they in good wearable condition?

If you answer “no” to any of the questions, maybe it’s time to consider consigning or donating them. There are many organizations that will accept donated shoes such as Dress for Success, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Soles for Souls.

What are some cost-friendly alternatives to shoe boxes for ladies with limited closet space when storing their shoes?

There are lots of options when storing your shoes. Clear boxes are ideal. They keep shoes visible, free of dust, pets can’t run off with them and can be uniformly stacked, but boxes don’t always fit everyone’s space and budget. There are storage alternatives that can be used in the closet or hung behind the closet door. Shoe storage can be both functional and decorative. When deciding on a storage solution, take into consideration the maintenance required to keep your shoes clean, easy to locate and in wearable condition. When selecting shoes in your closet, you should feel like you’re shopping in a boutique.

3-Tier Revolving Shoe Tree,  $35.99,
3-Tier Revolving Shoe Tree, $35.99,

What are some quick ways to create  a storage solution for your shoes that doesn’t break the bank?

Check your local dollar store for clear shoe boxes; some even sell them online. Before putting your shoes in the boxes, take and print a photo of the shoes. Use clear packing tape to affix the image along the side of the box. Stack them on the floor of your closet or on a shelf. This not only helps give you the celebrity closet look, but stacked boxes also minimize space, create a uniform look and save you time when selecting shoes. You can take a quick glance at the picture before deciding what pair you’re going to wear for the day.

If plastic shoe boxes are outside of your budget, you can attach the pictures to the original shoe boxes. Other shoe storage alternatives include hanging shoe shelvesshoe cubbies, a revolving shoe tree and stackable shoe racks. Most hold between 8 to 24 pairs of shoes and vary in affordability. Boots can be stored in boxes, upright (use old magazines to help maintain their shape or use boot hangers). There’s also over-the-door shoe pockets, shelves and shoe racks. Additional options include under the bed storage, stand alone shoe cabinets or benches. There is a wide selection of shoe cabinets available online at

To learn more about Kim, check out her Web site at Or find a professional organizer in your city by visiting the National Association of Professional Organizers Web site at

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