How To Properly Organize Your Shoe Collection

Shoes and boots are key features of any wardrobe, and most people have a valued collection of flats, sandals, tall and short boots, dress shoes, casual shoes, sneakers, platforms, stilettos, and slippers. The number of shoes and diversity of styles can create a storage challenge in the closet or bedroom, so what is the best way to keep all your footwear in tip-top shape and easy to find when you need them?

from-simple-to-elegant.jpgFrom simple to elegant, proper shoe organization is part of an organized and efficient closet design

Eliminating jumbled piles of shoes and boots is critical to keeping your shoes and boots in good condition and your closet clutter-free. These guidelines and ideas for how to organize shoes in your closet will keep all your shoes and boots ready to go when you are! From one pullout shoe rack to a wall of shoes and boots on shelves or in cabinets, Tailored Living® can help calm the chaos with custom closet storage systems that incorporate efficient shoe storage as well as outside-the-closet and DIY solutions to organize, display, and maintain shoe collections of all sizes.

Shoe shelves protect and display

A sizable wardrobe of shoes often ends up squished in baskets, stacked on top of each other on shelves, or trampled on the closet floor. This can ruin the shape, scratch metal hardware, and dislodge decorative touches like belts or buttons. Expensive leather and suede can be damaged from rubbing against other shoes’ heels or metal pieces, leaving permanent marks or scratches in the finish. Shoe shelves provide safe storage by keeping shoes in pairs and spaced apart, letting them all play nice together. Shoe shelves or racks can be level, slanted, stationary, or pullout, each with the capability to safely store your shoes and keep them easily accessible.

large-or-small-shoe-collection.jpgLarge or small shoe collections require sufficient storage to eliminate damage by keeping shoes separate from each other

  • Shelves can go floor to ceiling to accommodate lots of shoes, customizing the space with adjustable shelves for tall boots or flat sandals so there is no wasted space.
  • A pull-out wire from shoe racks keeps shoes organized and free from the crush of stacking and allows you to fit more shoes into the space.
  • Group shoes by style such as dress shoes together, casual and sandals, and athletic shoes so you can quickly see if you need new navy flats or Keds x Kate Spade leopard print sneakers.

Boots require special attention

To keep your boots in premium shape, they need enough space so they don’t flop over and crease at the ankle. Customizing shelf height to allow them to stand upright is important for tall and short boots so they maintain their shape. To keep boot shafts uncreased, boot shapers come in many different styles from cedar boot trees to plastic inserts and “stuffie” boot shapers filled with cedar, polyester fiberfill, or memory foam. A simple DIY fix is using pool noodles, cut to boot height, to keep them standing proud.

boots-storage.jpgBoots storage doesn’t have to be difficult, just calculated so everything fits

  • Never store wet or muddy boots in the closet; clean and dry them first.
  • Grouping your boots by height lets you maximize space use and add additional shelves.
  • Boot hangers are another option to store boots, just be careful of clip hanger styles as some clips can cause permanent indentations in leather and other materials.

fun-or-merely-boots.jpgFun or merely functional, boot shapers make your boots last longer by eliminating folding and creasing

Creative shoe storage outside of the closet

If your closet is small and your love of shoes is big, you may need to think outside the box (or closet) for additional storage to protect all your shoes and boots. For overflow footwear, creative storage in the bedroom can safely store all types of shoes and boots, keeping them close by for accessorizing your outfits.

storage-benches.jpgStorage benches and over-the-door mesh or canvas pocket hangers can accommodate a great number of shoes

  • A standing wardrobe, tall chest, or armoire can be converted into a shoe and boot closet.
  • Underbed storage bins on wheels roll out easily and are a good option for storing in- or out-of-season footwear.
  • As with shelves, store like styles together to eliminate hunting through dozens of shoes to find what you want.
  • Free-standing specialty holders designed for boots ensure they keep their shape.

Caring for your leather boots and shoes

Leather footwear is an investment, and properly caring for leather shoes and boots will eliminate problems like creasing, brittle leather, and stains. Here are some general maintenance rules for smooth leather and suede that will keep your shoes and boots looking great and lasting a long time!

Smooth leather

  • Condition and waterproof leather boots and shoes before first use. This provides ‘insurance” against future problems.
  • Leather conditioners protect the surface from drying, cracking, stains, and water damage.
  • Use a leather cleaner to remove any dirt, stains, salt residue, or grease, and then apply the conditioner to a clean surface.
  • Use a soft damp cloth or a soft bristle shoe brush to clean all seams or textured surfaces.
  • Test any new cleaning product on a hidden section first to be sure it won’t darken the leather.
  • Cover scuffs and scratches with a matching color leather polish and reapply conditioner.

Suede or nubuck

  • Care follows the same rules but requires specialty products designed just for them.
  • Waterproof your suede items with conditioner formulated for suede.
  • Spot clean stains with a suede cleaner or eraser and brush to restore the nap.
  • Brush regularly along the grain of the material to prevent matting and to remove dirt.

the-right-products.jpgThe right products will make caring for your leather shoes and boots an easier task


Getting your shoe collection under control is a big part of an organized closet or bedroom. You’ll love being able to find just the right shoe for every outfit and activity. Tailored Living can help you not only organize your shoes but also every other element of your wardrobe for an efficient closet with clothes and accessories beautifully displayed and accessible. Call 866-712-3404 today or go online to to find a designer near you and talk about all the ways the organization can make your life easier.


*Virtual consultations may not be available at all locations.

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