Declutter your shoes and downsize tips

Shoe Clutter and Shoe Storage

Stop Tripping Over Your Shoes!

Put away your shoes, and while you're at it, any other items that are misplaced in your home or standing in the way of your sanity.

I make returning things to their “home” a regular part of my life. Putting things away keeps me clutter-free. It is very easy to put things away at night before you go to bed. When you wake the following morning, nothing is left out and you don’t trip over shoes in the middle of the night if you get up to check on the kids or need a drink of water. Putting things away instead of putting them down makes life so much easier. That's the refrain behind "Don't put it down, put it away!"

For some reason, when we professionally declutter a client’s home, shoes are a problem. Either their shoe storage is inadequate or they own an abundance of shoes and are unwilling or unable to part with any of them. Often, shoes are missing a mate or scattered everywhere so people trip over them all day. We have found one shoe at the front door, its mate under the couch, and very often under piles of clothing. Tripping over shoes is actually dangerous.

One client’s house showed just how difficult shoe management can be without the right organization system. Our clients had lived in their home for two years and despite their best efforts, shoes were scattered everywhere. And, not in pairs. Single shoes were underneath piles of clothing, in the hall closet, under a cubby bench, inside the pantry, underneath the couch…you get the idea. No organization.

You Need a Shoe System

There was no system in our client’s primary closet and no system for their small child’s shoes. The baby’s shoes were mixed in with theirs, underneath piles of clothing, many of which still had the original tags. Because the client forgot about the shoes, they were too small for the child when we finally located them during a closet organization session. What this says to me are two things: they need an organization system, and a lot of money is being spent on repetitive purchasing and waste. If you purchase a pair of shoes for your child and the child never wears them, that’s waste. That day, we found ten to fifteen pairs of shoes for their child that had never been worn. That is money they could have spent on a shoe organization system.

Cultural Variations About Wearing Shoes in the Home

In some cultures, removing shoes at the front door is a custom. The old traditional homes in Asia were raised about two feet off the ground for ventilation and staying above the cold damp earth. It was customary to remove your slippers in the entry which was at ground level and step up into the home in socks. This custom of removing your shoes before entering a home is still practiced in Asian homes throughout the world. In other cultures, it is practiced today.

If you prefer family members and guests to enter without their shoes, having some sort of system at the front door, whether it’s a basket or a bench with a pull-out drawer, gives people a place to store their shoes so that the area stays neat and tidy. We have provided some additional ideas at the end of this blog.

Depending on the number of shoes you have, this task should not be difficult but will make a big difference in the appearance and organization of your home. It is also a time to teach good practices to your family - make sure everyone puts his or her shoes away at bedtime. If you have family members who are home while you are working on this prompt, ask them to help put their shoes away. Ask them to gather all their shoes, match one to the other, and line them up neatly on their closet floor or on one of the storage suggestions at the end of this blog. This is a simple task and one that will make everyone’s life easier. If you see shoes out later in the day, or the next day, give them (and yourself) a gentle reminder that the shoes need to go back to the closet. This will prevent lost shoes and shoes that need to be repurchased because one is missing.

Shoe Tower

In the home we organized with unworn pairs of baby shoes, we put a tall shoe tower on one wall of the primary bedroom closet. On the shoe tower, we stacked about fifty pairs of shoes. The tower was sturdy and held them all. For overflow shoes and boots, we placed those in cloth boxes with windowpanes on the top shelf of their closet. We did, unfortunately, need to discard a lot of single shoes because the mate was never found. When we checked in with these clients several months later, all the shoes were exactly where they needed to be, and the couple was able to see that they had more shoes than they needed. We originally counted over one hundred pairs of shoes between the two of them. We took many to donation. Some were brand new.

If you haven’t worn a pair of shoes in a while, they’re taking up valuable real estate in your closet. Being able to donate or sell your shoes is a way to give them a new life and create more room in your closet. To donate, look for local clothing donation centers, such as Goodwill, to pass gently worn shoes on to someone who needs them.

Front Door Shoe Storage

Here are some ideas for shoe storage at the front door.

Shoe Rack

When you’re in a small space, vertical storage is key. If you have room at your front door, add a low shoe rack. You can also add this type of shoe rack under hanging clothes in your closet. Before purchasing, measure so you purchase a shoe rack that fits nicely into the space. If you have vertical space on a wall in your closet, a shoe tower works to maximize storage in a narrow space.

If you live in a multi-person household, it’s likely there is a pile of shoes around the entryway. To mitigate this issue, add two-tier or three-tier shoe storage units to an entryway hall or mudroom to ensure that guests and family members place their shoes neatly when entering your home. A freestanding cubby will keep shoes organized and provide easy access as you head out the door.

Primary Bedroom Shoe Storage

Shelf Risers

Shelf risers are an effective way to double the amount of storage you have in your closet, display shoes, and take advantage of vertical space. These work well for kids’ tiny shoes, doubling how many you can store on a single shelf. Some come in clear acrylic.

Stackable Shoe Bins

If you have an unused corner in your closet, you can fill the floor space with clear stackable shoe bins. If you don’t have shelves in your closet, shoe bins can create an entire shoe display. They fit most sizes of shoes and can be stacked as high as you have space. I particularly like this idea because I can see what I have and when a shoe is missing its mate. In my closet, I have a similar system built into my closet. It makes finding a pair of shoes so easy and keeps them clean and dust-free. You can purchase clear stackable shoe bins at The Container Store. Others are available on Amazon.

Back of Door Hanging Shoe Rack

If you don’t have room on your closet shelves or floor, adding an over door shoe rack is a simple and affordable way to create storage space that didn’t exist before. This is a great solution for sneakers, sandals, and other flat shoes. Amazon sells one that holds 36 pairs of shoes.

Shoe organization is not only important, it's necessary when you have a lot of shoes scattered throughout your home. Try one of these suggestions. Putting away your shoes just got a whole lot easier!

(Content provided by professional organizers at The Uncluttered Life, Inc.)

About Life Hack Decks™

Declutter Deck® is part of the life Hack Decks™ collection. Life Hack Decks™ are powerful micro-prompt motivational cards to make your life easier while reducing stress in your day. These instructional decks simplify ineffective routines and help you go from stuck and overwhelmed to inspired and empowered.

Life Hack Decks™ take the stress out of decision-making and motivate you to tackle things you’ve been putting off for years. Life Hack Decks™ (52 cards per deck) allow you to focus on the things that bring you joy, happiness, and connection with others rather than lingering in the mundane, anxiety-producing ruts in which we often find ourselves. The Life Hack Decks™ collection currently includes Date Deck®, Declutter Deck®, Dorm DeckNew Mama Deck and Random Acts of Kindness Deck.

Order your Declutter Deck® to get your shoe clutter in order. $19.95 plus shipping. And don’t forget to tag us and a friend at @lifehackdecks to show us your before-and-after photos.

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