Anyone who knows me, knows that I have quite a large shoe collection. My sister always jokes that she’ll never help me move again because I have too many shoes. (I hope that’s a joke anyway.) Let’s begin by talking about why I have so many shoes:
- I’m a girl. Need I say more?
- I’m a girl that works in and loves the fashion industry. Again, self explanatory.
- And the big one…I have the world’s smallest foot. Seriously, I wear a woman’s size 4 1/2. There’s a saying that goes, “If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.” This isn’t just an excuse to buy shoes. For me, it’s a way of life. If I come across a shoe that fits my tiny, little foot, you better believe I’m buying it!
Over the years, I’ve collected my fair share of shoes in all styles and colors. Because I have so many, I can’t have them all out at once. To save space, I store my off season shoes and display only the ones I can wear during the current season. Prior to this week, I’ve stored the out of season shoes in their original boxes. This means that I have over 100 shoe boxes stored in the tops of various closets. This also means that at any point during the year, at least half of the boxes are empty while their corresponding shoes are on the shoe shelf.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s insane. I could have easily just kept half of the boxes and let winter and summer shoes share the same ones. However, I liked being able to quickly and easily grab a pair that was stored if needed. I could easily do so because they were in their original boxes, and I knew which was which. This was especially important during transition periods, because I may need a pair of sandals before I’d unpacked all of the summer shoes and vice versa. Here are what the tops of two of our closets looked like. As you can see, it’s rather messy looking because the boxes are all different, and since they’re all different sizes, it’s impossible to stack them neatly. A few boxes are missing from me pulling them out as the weather warmed up, an example of why I liked having them in their original boxes. (I apologize that the pictures aren’t very good…it’s very difficult to photograph the top of a closet!) The past few months, I’ve been making a focused effort to simplify my home life and get a handle on clutter. (Combining two full households provides for a bunch of extra stuff!) I’ll be posting more about changing systems that don’t work next week. It suddenly hit me that I needed to create a new system for my shoe storage, and that’s what I did. I decided that purchasing clear shoe storage boxes would tremendously improve my shoe organization system and free up a ton of storage in our home. By using the clear boxes, I will no longer be storing empty shoe boxes, as I can use the same 50 boxes to store both summer and winter shoes as necessary. Plus, since they’re clear, I’ll be able to find a certain pair if needed, even more easily than I was before. I’m estimating that I have approximately 150 pairs of shoes…and this doesn’t include things like Old Navy flip flops! I threw away almost 100 boxes when I started this project! Here they are lined up in the living room. That’s a ton of boxes and storage space that was being wasted! Obviously, I didn’t purchase a box for every shoe that I own, because I’ll use the same boxes for both summer and winter shoes. Plus, some shoes like sneakers and certain flats and heels, can be worn year round, so they stay out on my shoe shelf. I also stored 2 pairs of flats in some boxes and will do the same with sandals. In this case, I just made sure to store similar shoes together. For example, one box contains 2 pairs of similar black moccasins. Another holds ballet flats that I have in 2 different colors. At first, I thought I’d have to come up with a different option for my tall boot storage, but it turned out that most of them fit in the regular boxes if folded a certain way. Anyone with a normal sized foot probably wouldn’t be so lucky. This project cost me around $60, because I bought 55 boxes at just under $1 each. When you look at the benefits versus the cost, it was well worth it. If you’re considering investing in clear shoe storage, I highly recommend getting these exact Sterlite containers. I’ve used several other brands for various projects and these stack better and have better lids. You certainly don’t want lids that won’t attach properly or won’t withstand the weight of stacking. I purchased mine at Walmart. Check out the difference that the clear storage containers made! I went from shoe boxes in 2 closets, to barely filling one. And it looks MUCH better.
To continue the shoe storage discussion, here’s how I store my in-season shoes. They’re housed on cheap, Target shoe racks that you can build yourself. I’ve had these shelves since college, have moved with them 5+ times, and have been surprised at how well they’ve held up. They’re certainly not the most attractive things, but they’ll do until I have time to come up with a new option. As you can see, my shoes are shelved by color. You’ll notice that everything in my closet is sorted according to color. It’s my number one organization rule! (Of course this isn’t all of my spring shoes…I robbed this photo from Instagram from the night I switched out my shoes. The shelf actually stands approximately 6 feet tall, and is currently holding 81 pairs of shoes.)