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Spring is traditionally a time for cleaning off dusty corners and packed closets — and on your spring cleaning to-do list might be figuring out how to store away all the shoes left around the house. A new shoe organizer could help, especially if you have an ever-expanding collection. Organizing your shoes out and in the open might also help you actually see what’s worth keeping around — and what you could probably do without. “You have a much better chance of using and appreciating [your shoes], which is getting real value out of them, if they are sitting out and can be easily seen,” explained Nancy Meck, a professional organizer and owner of Meck Organizing.
In order to find the best shoe storage options to consider, we asked professional organizers for their recommendations for shoe racks, shelves and other organizers — including ones from popular retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and The Container Store — and advice to keep shoes in their best condition once stored away.
Best shoe storage: Shoe racks, shelves, organizers and more
Here are a few shoe storage solutions to consider, recommended by professional organizing experts.
While it may seem unconventional, Caroline Solomon, founder of New York City-based home organizing business NEATLY, said IKEA’s Billy Bookcase is one of her favorite shoe storage solutions for a “no-nonsense way to store your heels and show them off.” The bookcase comes with adjustable shelves so you can move them around according to the height of your shoes. It’s also a popular pick with IKEA shoppers, earning an average 4.6-star rating over more than 400 reviews.
(She also recommended the shorter and lower-priced version of the bookcase as an option for those with shoe collections that aren’t as large.)
Meck’s personal preference is for shoe shelves — she feels they are a no-fuss fix for lining up shoes easily, efficiently and neatly. These can either be custom built for an empty space, repurposed from a bookcase (as Solomon mentioned above) or bought ready-made. She pointed to this stackable bamboo shoe shelf as an option, featuring two tiers that can hold up to eight pairs of women’s shoes and six pairs of men’s, according to the brand.
Solomon described this shoe rack as a “real cut above the rest” due to its minimalist and sleek design that “can make even the most well-worn shoes look good.” And, she added, “it allows you to comfortably fit ten to twelve pairs of shoes, which is more than enough for one person in a week.” This rack is made from a powder-coated steel that’s supposed to be easy to clean. While you can get on a waitlist for three colors that are currently sold out, the rack is available in Light Blue and Navy at the moment.
Kelly McGreevy, founder of Boston-based home organization company Styled Neatly, favors this set of shoe boxes that “make organization a breeze.” Part of the appeal of a box like this one is practicality since they allow you “to be able to see all your shoes easily and [you] always have a spot to return them to,” she added. The brand doesn’t recommend stacking more than 7 or 8 of the boxes on top of each other for stability. The set has earned an average 4.3-star rating over more than 200 reviews at The Container Store.
While Solomon admitted this wasn’t “the most glamorous of shoe racks,” she recommended it for its functionality and durability, especially for bulky boots. The affordable organizer is top rated, too, boasting an average 4.6-star rating over more than 200 reviews.
Hanging shoe pockets can be ideal for kids’ shoes, flip flops, flats and other clunky shoes, according to Meck. She mentioned this over-the-door shoe organizer for those who want to be able to see their shoes easily. This shoe storage option can hold up to 26 pairs of shoes and includes hooks for installation. It has earned an average 4-star rating over more than 120 reviews at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Meck mentioned this organizer as an option for those who want cubbies, which can provide order and division between pairs or single shoes. It’s a popular pick on Amazon, boasting an average 4.4-star rating over more than 7,700 reviews. This organizer is designed for low-profile shoes like flip-flops and flats — and it could be something to consider for a child’s bedroom.
Another one of Solomon’s favorites, this top rated rack features interlocking shelves that can be stacked horizontally or vertically, depending on your shoe needs. The lower shelf can also be raised in order to create more space under the rack. The two shelves can each hold up to 25 pounds’ worth of shoes, or about six pairs of shoes in total (excluding the under-the-rack storage space). It has earned an average 4.8-star rating over more than 250 reviews at Bed Bath & Beyond.
How to decide what shoe storage solution to buy
Before buying any kind of shoe storage, you should first make sure you actually want to keep certain pairs of shoes around, said McGreevy. She recommended putting similar shoes side by side (like sneakers with sneakers) and sorting through each group, letting go of any pairs you don’t need anymore. “Going through this step is important so that you don’t end up organizing extra pairs of shoes or buying more storage than you need,” she said. “Count how many pairs (and how many of each type) you have after decluttering and purchase storage based on those numbers.”
Beyond the total tally of shoes you own, the type of shoe organizer you finally go for could also depend on what the size of your space is and how often you wear your shoes, McGreevy told us. The frequency at which you wear your favorite pairs is especially important when searching for shoe storage, according to Solomon. It may not make sense to tuck away shoes in individual storage bins if you like to get more “mileage” out of all your shoes — instead, opt for open storage like a shoe cubby or shoe rack that allow for easy access, Solomon suggested. And an over-the-door shoe bag could work for some who don’t need their collection in plain sight, plus frees up floor space, she added.
How to properly store shoes away
Generally, you should make sure you’re storing shoes somewhere that isn’t directly hit by sunlight but is well-ventilated and cleaned regularly, according to Meck. This can help prevent shoes from becoming damaged or collecting dust. For shoes that you want to pack away, Meck also explained that wrapping them in tissue paper and even old clothes can keep them from scraping or scuffing together. For those shoes you reach for regularly, Solomon recommended leaving them around an entryway to prevent dirt from traveling further into your house or apartment.
Here are a few other expert-recommended tips to consider when arranging your shoe storage.
- Boots: Both McGreevy and Solomon suggested using shapers in order to help maintain their shape and keep them standing straight. The two recommended these affordable boot shapers from The Container Store, which feature a hook to hang them on a closet rod. For seasonal shoes like winter and rain boots, Solomon the best place for storage is in an entryway closet or mudroom — especially if you don’t want to drag in dirt from outside.
- Sneakers: Avoid sealed storage like storage bins for sneakers since these shoes need to breathe to look fresh and new, Solomon said. She’s a fan of stocking sneakers in shoe cubbies, especially for someone who has a larger collection that they want to show off.
- Heels: Those who have a bigger selection of high heels should look in between the shelves of a shoe shelf. Solomon recommended avoiding shoe racks with slats, as they “always lead to heels getting stuck in between the rungs” or slanted shelves “as shoes tend to fall off the racks more easily.”