Thinking Outside the (Shoe) Box on Storage

Even if you think you already have too many shoes, there's a good chance you're still plotting to buy more. While we'd all like to have the shoe collection of your average Hollywood A-lister, most of us are saddled with more down-to-earth budgets, and worse yet, nowhere to put them all.

So what do you do to keep your shoes accessible, out-of-sight, and still leave room for the inevitable additions? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Off-the-shelf solutions

  • Shoe trees. Whether you want to hide your shoes in a closet or a spare room, or if you plan on proudly displaying them by the front door, a rotating shoe tree is a great solution to not only keep your shoes organized but makes for easy browsing when you're trying to find just the right pair.
  • Closet hangers. If you've got more room on the clothes bar than you do on the floor of the closet, then you should consider a shoe holder that hangs in the closet, or on the back of the door. If you have the room, use more than one so you can group types or colors of shoes together.
  • Under-bed boxes. Closets fill up fast, but often there's room to be made under your bed. If you've got a floor-length bed skirt on your bed, then you've got plenty of space to store your kicks. Shoe boxes come in a range of sizes, and some even have wheels for easier access, but even with that, this probably won't be the most accessible storage place, so consider using the under-bed area for the seldom-used and/or out of season shoes.
  • Shoe cabinet. That's right, there is actual dedicated shoe-specific furniture out there waiting for your favorite pumps and heels. You can find these in a variety of shapes and sizes with finishes to match your other furniture. It's not the cheapest solution, but if you're out of room in the usual places, it can be a great and attractive solution.
  • Fabric Buildings. A new and great innovative solution for external storage. I've personally seen the buildings carried out by a local firm - the DOB group (fabric buildings Missouri), and have been thoroughly impressed with how a fabric building can maximize external storage space. Another storage idea might be something similar to a pre fab garage or shed that might be able helpful when storing your items.

A fresh look at an old place
If you've maxed out the conventional hiding spaces for your shoes and you're still not done tucking them away, it's time to take a fresh look at your closet and shelving options that you may not have considered.

  • Look up. Most closets are the same height inside as the ceiling of the room they occupy, but most closet shelves are within easy reach. There's a good chance that there are at least a couple of feet of unused space in the top of your closet just screaming for shoe storage. Adding one closet-length shelf several inches above whatever you have in there now will provide room for possibly dozens of pairs of shoes to be stored in their boxes (or if only six inches-or-so are available, just the shoes). Of course, you won't want to put shoes you need very often up there, as you'll probably need a step stool to retrieve them, but it's perfect for the ones that you almost never wear but can't bear to part with.
  • Look down. There is probably some room underneath your clothes as well. Take a look at the space where your shorter hanging items are and see if there's room to add some shelves in that space. Even if there's just a little bit of space there, it may be the perfect spot to keep your more frequent selections where you won't have to crawl on the floor to retrieve them.

Anywhere else?
There's always more room, but once you move beyond the bedroom and closets, you'll probably have to make some trade-offs in accessibility and temperature/humidity control. The attic and outside storage rooms or garages are probably not the best solutions, but if you take the proper preparations, you might be able to use those spaces in a pinch. For a serious collection that includes seasonal options, a climate-controlled storage unit may even be your best option, keeping your seasonal clothing, shoes, holiday decorations and other belongings safe and out of your way until it's time to actually use them.

If you keep an open mind and a creative eye, you are sure to find plenty of options above and beyond anything I've mentioned here. And be sure to think outside the box and browse the Internet for ideas – your perfect solution might be an old piece of furniture or unused pegboard just gathering dust in the garage.

And remember, there is no wrong answer as long as it works for you and gets that disheveled pile of old kicks off the floor.

Jessica Johnson directs social media programs and looks after the branding of Extra Space Storage, found on the web at Shoes, boots and more can always be stored offsite, like in this Hialeah storage units facility, where you could even make a closet for shoes and accessories right in the storage unit.