Spring Cleaning: Shoes Edition

Because one can never have enough (nude) shoes!
‘Sabrina’ pumps by Charles by Charles David in nude (also available in black)
Photography by Carlos Pena of The Drifting Camera


Petite Version of this Post

Hi, my name is Berniedette and I am addicted to shoes. With a number of shoes I own, I decided it should be one of my spring cleaning projects I tackle this year. Below I note how I currently organize my shoes along with other fun options you might want to consider! Trust me, I’ve tried just about everything!

What are your shoe storage solutions? Comment below because I would love to know!


Full Post

I’ve always had a strong affinity for shoes. Perhaps it’s because I am Filipina and there is a joke about how my people love shoes as evidenced by Imelda Marcos. Who is Imelda? Imelda is the former First Lady of the Philippines, who had over a thousand (or thousands) of pairs of shoes. (Note that I am not a fan of Imelda, but I would love to curate and own a shoe closet like hers.)

Hard to believe, but in college, my favorite things to wear were my Rainbow slippers. Entering the workforce ignited my love for cute shoes, and a shoe monster was born.

I may not have a thousand pairs, but it’s safe to say I have over a hundred in rotation. Below are way’s I’ve organized my shoes over the years.


How to Start Organizing Your Shoes

Love Your Shoes

First off, it’s important to only keep the pairs you love. I’ve tried to Mari Kondo the way through my shoes, but let’s face it, most of my shoes spark joy in my life. If a pair of shoes  makes you unhappy or feel bad about yourself, or if they are too painful to wear, perhaps it’s a good time to say “Thank you, but goodbye.”

Find Storage that Suits Your Living Situation

As much as I dream of a walk-in closet with white bookcases specifically dedicated to storing shoes, most of us don’t have the space or budget for this

Over the years, I’ve found several solutions to storing my shoes, but with a growing collection, I think it’s wise to be open to evolving your storage needs as well – provided that your space can handle it.

If you need ideas for storing shoes in an apartment or condo, I share examples below, along with how I crafted my latest shrine to shoes.

Organize with a Method that Makes Sense to You.

It’s easiest for me to organize by type, but even that gets tricky if there’s room to squeeze in a wedge amongst the booties. I think that it’s important to make sure that there is a method to your madness, so you can easily grab the pair of green army wedge pumps you planned to go with your outfit.


My Shoes Storage Situations (Past and Present)

Keep the original shoe boxes

I originally kept my shoes in their boxes. The more pristine the box, the better. However, this was not conducive to a growing collection, especially with boxes on top of one another either at the bottom of my closet, or on the top shelf. Sometimes, I even kept some shoe boxes underneath my bed. I ended up ruining quite a few of the shoe box lids in an attempt to grab the pair I desired for the day.

Note that this solution is perhaps ideal for someone who doesn’t own a million shoes.

Upgrade to uniform shoe boxes

I then “upgraded” to IKEA shoe boxes. I noticed that you could store more than one pair in a box, so I thought this was a compromise for me.

I liked the idea of my shoes still being in a box to avoid dust. I loved the uniformity of the boxes because it was so much easier to create storage compared to playing Tetris with shoe boxes of different sizes. I purchased this simple wood storage shelf from Ikea named Gorm and stored most of my Ikea shoe boxes here.

I was typically able to store two pairs of pumps in these IKEA boxes, or even three pairs of flats.

Boot Care

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and due to the mild weather, I find myself wearing boots all year round. So how do I store my boots?

I used boot shapers like these cute pink ones that come with a hanger. I found the hanger was a perfect way to store my boots on alofngside the rails of the bottom of my laundry sorter. Not ideal for my growing collection, but I do think boot shapers are vital to maintaining the life of a pair of boots.

Storage for Pumps, Booties, and Sandals

Shoe Rack

Once my collection grew, I purchased this shoe rack, which stores at least 50 pairs of shoes. I managed to store quite a bit more since I was ok if a pair of shoes was split between two shelves. I had this rack for years, and I love the idea and how compact it is. If you do not have the floor space for this, you there are plenty of over-the-door shoe racks like this one.

The one thing I did not love about this shoe rack is where I had room for it. As you can see, it was a tight squeeze, but it was somewhat manageable with the wheels. Behind these, I stored my flats, and perhaps some excess heels in those IKEA shoe boxes I had before. In order to access my shoes behind the curtain, I had to pull the rack away and slightly swing it open. Again, not ideal, but I lived with this for years.

I previously stored my heels and pumps in this shoe rack.

Behind the shoe rack was this mess. I kept some flats in these Ikea Shoe Boxes.

This shoe rack was a fave of mine because of how slim it was. However, all those shoes proved to be too much weight. My shoe rack buckled at the wheels and that’s when I knew it was time to find a more permanent replacement. Also, my collection of booties grew and I ended up with a lot more shoes that went up to the ankles. These shoes worked only on the top row of the shoe rack, which was limited in space. Other booties ended up in my IKEA boxes.


I knew the best option was to commit to shelving. I already had the Gorm bookcase and thought I’d purchase some additional shelves to increase shelf space. I bought these shelves, but once I got home, I realized Gorm no longer existed as it was replaced by Hejne. Apparently, the two storage units looks very similar, but the Hejne is not as deep a the Gorm version. As you see below, this caused a slight gap between the new shelves and the shelving unit itself, but I worked with it. If it becomes a problem, I can easily stick a piece of plywood in between the shelves to hold things up.


Gorm Ikea Shelving Unit

I purchased these shelves, but didn’t realize that the new Gorm is now called Hejne and is slightly smaller than Gorm.

I now store my heels here, including my boots (in boot shapers) up top and a few boots on the bottom. Until my Pinterest dreams can happen, or until I can have a white bookcase within a walk-in closet, specifically storage to showcase my shoes without being cramped, this solution will work for me and my place.

This is what my shoes look like now, but note that there have been a few additions to my collection since I took these photos.


Main view of my shoe storage


Since I use these boots most often, it was ok to block the booties in the bottom row. I also wanted to grab these easily.


The boots I might not wear as often are located on my top shelf. The arrangement changes with the seasons and that’s ok.


I really do love how my current shoe closet turned out!

I’m very happy with the results. I can’t say it’s my final storage solution, but I know this will work for me for a while.


Storage for Flats

I previously kept my flats in those IKEA shoe boxes in my bookcase. And I used a white curtain to hide the mess. I bought this cabinet to update my foyer (more on that later) and covered the window with this frosted vinyl film for privacy. I also lined the shelves with this shelf liner for sanity purposes in cases I wanted to use this cabinet for things other than shoes in the future. I purchased wired shelving for kitchen cabinets to create more shelf space within the unit. I love how it allows room for me to grow.



Storage for Sneakers

My sneakers? They’re stored in the IKEA boxes on top of my coat “closet”/rack. I can fit in two pairs within each box.

Storage for Traveling

I think it’s very important to store shoes carefully when traveling, whether it be for a big trip, or your everyday gym bag.

I personally use a dust bag to store my shoes when I’m on the go. I typically wear sneakers or flats during my commute and then change into heels when I feel like being over 5’0″ tall, which is most days.

I am a fan of packing cubes (which I write about here) and I am considering purchasing one of these cubes specifically designed for shoes. The mesh allows for your shoes to breathe. The one problem I foresee is that these might not accommodate boots and booties.

Other Ideas I Love

I haven’t personally tried a shoe cabinet, but I love how sleek these are. My co-worker has this Stall one from IKEA, which she jazzed up with some chevron print contact paper to make it more snazzy. These is another great option for small area, like a foyer. Flats and sneakers work well in here, and perhaps most pumps, but booties and boots will definitely not fit here.

STÄLL Shoe cabinet. Photo Credit: Ikea

I’ve also seen this shoe wheel, which is great for saving space. I’m just not sure if they will accommodate booties.

Shoe Wheel by Rakku Designs (photo credit also)

A multi-tier, floor-to-ceiling carousel like this one is also a great space-saving idea. However, having to spin the carousel to get to my shoes was one extra thing for me to do in the morning. I love how with my current situation, I more or less know exactly where each pair is (just based on my memory).

Floor to ceiling Shoe Carousel
Photo Credit: Amazon

Other Tips

Now that I no longer keep most of my shoes in their original shoe boxes, I do have to think whether or not I need to keep certain packaging items.

For example, I have two pairs of lace-up pumps by Vince Camuto. I decided to keep the piece of plastic which set a foundation for the lace-up design. I wanted my lace-up pumps to look sexy, and not frumpy, while in storage.

Keep “foot” packaging for lace pumps that might need some structure while in storage.
Photo Credit: Nordstrom Rack



My shoe collection comprises of budget-friendly purchases as well as some splurges (though nothing over $500 – yet??? LOL). With that said, I do believe that it’s important to take care of my shoes, especially my investment pieces. I know we all have our favorite pairs, which are in heavy rotation, but unless we can easily find each pair (and I believe it helps to SEE each pair you have), then we might miss out on sharing the love amongst our other pairs of fabulous shoes.

What are your shoe storage solutions? Comment below because I would love to know!



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