While storing your coveted sneakers in their original boxes or on the floor of your closet can be useful and quick, you may feel that your shoe collection has outgrown “box” or “floor” methods. There are several other ways to properly store shoes.
Take Inventory and Organize
Before you begin organizing and strategizing storage methods, take stock of your sneakers. How many do you have? What size? Are they traditional sneaker shapes or high top sneakers? Do you own riding boots or tall boots? Sandals? All differences in size and the number of pairs will dictate the kinds of storage options available to you.
For example, if you own quite a few boots, you won’t be able to store them in regular shoe-sized clear, plastic containers. You’ll need to get a longer, more rectangular container. Sometimes, even high top sneakers require a larger shaped container than the traditional shoe size. Keep a measuring tape or ruler handy to double-check before purchasing any containers.
Lay out your shoes on the floor in their respective pairs by category. You can create your own categories, or you can use existing categories like slip-on, athletic kicks, low top, high top, casual/authentic/canvas (think Vans, Converse), leather/designer, etc. If you’re hoping to organize by color, then lay out your shoes in each of the above categories by color.
Most home goods retailers sell attractive shoe storage options. Be sure to take into account what kind of space is available to you prior to purchasing or planning your method.
Prep Your Shoes
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your shoes before storing them. Many low top sneakers can be washed in the washing machine inside a mesh garment bag. Be sure to remove the laces prior to washing, so that you don’t get the shoe caught on the machine. Keep the soles of shoes fresh with shoe deodorizers, if desired. Leather surfaces should have a leather conditioner applied to them.
Winter shoes can often collect dirt, scuffs, and residue from the elements. Make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water to clean the surfaces. If your winter shoes are leather, be sure to purchase a leather conditioner or cleaner after you clean with the water and vinegar solution. Dry the shoes with a cloth and allow them to air dry the rest of the way. When they’re completely dry, polish or buff with a cloth. Then, they’re ready to be stored.
Once cleaned, decide if the shoe will be stored for short or long term. For short term storage, you don’t need to worry about stuffing the shoe or keeping its shape, but for long term storage, consider purchasing a wooden form, plastic shoe form, or if you’re budget conscious, try acid-free tissue paper. Stuff the shoe just enough that it keeps its shape. Be careful not to over stuff. Boots will need a bit more stuffing so that if they are stored upright, they remain upright.
If you have ample space in your closet, or you’re storing your shoes in an individual storage unit, keep your shoes protected from temperature changes, odors, spills, etc., with clear plastic shoe containers stacked neatly on top of each other. For an added touch, label each container with the type of shoe, brand, and color. If you are storing shoes for a long period of time (winter shoes during summer/fall months), they should always be kept in a box.
This method does take up plenty of closet space, so if you have a larger collection and a small space, it might not be the right storage solution for you. Instead, try storing your shoes in a canvas closet organizer. Shoes can be safely and compartmentally stored either hung over the closet door or in the closet itself.
Shoe enthusiasts might also consider installing built-in fixtures. Neatly display your collection on built-in shelves designed exactly for shoe storage so that you easily select the right pair for any occasion. Or, try one of the built-ins with shoe drawers or pullouts. Either of these methods also works well for the capsule wardrobe shoe owner. You’ll be able to see clearly the few pairs you own and make wardrobe choices accordingly.
Perhaps your budget doesn’t allow for a professional closet remodel, but you still have a large space to work with. You can create a similar look on a budget in your own closet from local home goods or hardware stores with stackable wood or plastic shelves. Place these at the base or top of the closet and arrange your shoes by category. A quick internet search will return many options for displaying shoes in closets in a range of prices. Shelves and shoe trees are excellent methods for short term storage or for shoes that you wear frequently. A rotating shoe carousel tree can help save space and provide the user with plenty of opportunities to display their footwear.
Temporary storage can be cost-effective and fun. Try putting your shoes in the closet on hangers shaped especially to rest the shoe inside. This works well for flip-flops and sneakers. There are some retailers selling boot hangers, too.
Storage and Lifestyle
Whatever storage method you choose, make sure it matches your lifestyle. For some, the idea of returning shoes to the right container after each use could be daunting. If you know keeping shoes in containers or displaying them will only end in chaos, you might ease-up on storage expectations. Perhaps aim for a simple go-to method like a basket or drawer at the bottom of your closet.
Families on the go might opt for more simple and temporary, quick storage of their shoes. In this case, purchase a basket for each family member and place it near the front door under a bench or coat rack. When family members enter or exit, they can use the basket to grab or drop their shoes quickly. This mudroom storage method is effective and keeps clutter off the floor.
Help lengthen the life of your shoes by taking a bit of time to organize, prep, and store your shoe collection. Just the simple step of storing your sneakers off the floor and inside a box or on a shelf or in a basket will drastically improve the life of your shoe.
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