Friday, July 10, 2009

Stump the Organizer! How Do I Organize Shoes?

This week's question is "How do I organize shoes?" There are almost as many ways to answer that as there are types of shoes. For many people it's a good idea to sort shoes by frequency of use - everyday wear versus special occasion wear. Shoes that are worn daily need storage that allows quick and uncomplicated access.
My three favorite ways to store everyday shoes are the two-shelf shoe stacker, the tilting drawer shoe cabinet, and the under-the-bed shoe basket on casters. The two-shelf shoe stacker looks like a shrunken bookcase. It's easy to get shoes in and out of these stacking shelves plus everything is visible. Each shelf holds three large or four small shoes. You can stack multiple units - I've stacked up to four together - but a tall assembly should be attached to the wall for stability and safety. Label each shelf with a category such as work shoes, athletic shoes, casual flats, etc.
The tilting drawer cabinet is a stylish way to stash your shoes. Each drawer tilts forward to reveal one or two shelves between which shoes are placed. Depending on the size of the cabinet and shoes, you may be able to store two to four pairs of shoes between the shelves. Because these cabinets offer concealed storage they can be put out in the open. I have used these cabinets by front door because the top of the cabinet offers a nice "landing pad" for keys and mail, not to mention a place to swap the outside shoes for the inside slippers.
If the shoe collection is small and closet space is tight, then an under-the-bed storage basket offers efficient use of space. The casters make it easy to pull the basket out. Avoid the lidded bins for everyday shoes. Taking the lid off everyday is an extra step that our rushed lives don't need. The squishy under-the-bed shoe containers are difficult to use and not sturdy enough for everyday use. But for special occasion shoes a lidded bin may work just fine.
For the collection of really fine shoes consider storage that will protect your investment while providing accessibility. I like translucent shoe boxes that open like drawers or boxes with translucent drop-fronts. Both types of these boxes stack nicely on a shelf and the boxes do not need to be moved to gain access to the shoes.
In my experience, shoe racks made of bars do not hold flats well and require more time to delicately place the shoes than I can muster. The hanging pocket-type organizer requires a fair amount of careful placement as well (maybe I'm just a klutz!) and they get dirty easily. I love the hanging pockets for organizing craft supplies, mittens, scarves and a world of other things - just not shoes.
Remember, ventilation is important especially for everyday shoes. Putting athletic shoes in an airtight container will produce unpleasant memories of the high school locker room when you fetch you shoes.
If you have a clever or unique way to organize your shoes, I'd love to hear it. Just post your comment here!
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