As every sensible woman's shopping Achilles heel (pun intended), shoes are undoubtedly the fashion accessory that are most pleasurable to purchase, but they can make storage an issue. Shoes never make you look larger than you desire, rarely fluctuate in size, and bring to mind an array of outfits that will be completely transformed with their presence. Yes, it is undeniable that shopping for shoes is fun. However, if buying shoes is fun, storing said shoes is the opposite thereof. Luckily, you can minimize the guilt that accompanies your full-fledged addiction to acquiring just one more pair of pumps with these necessary tricks of the trade. Armed with these tips, you can ensure that every article of footwear from your flip flops to your designer heels has a proper place.
For those with large living spaces or closets, shoe racks are an excellent way to store heels and flats alike. Try a multi-tiered rack; three levels are ideal. If your closet is large enough, you can place the rack within the space. If not, an entryway or mudroom is an excellent place to keep this rack. On a three-tiered rack, put your favorite, most-worn selections on the top rack. This is where your work heels and most comfortable ballerina flats will live. On the middle rack, arrange heels. On a wire or rod rack, make sure the heel part of your shoes rests behind the wire to avoid messy mishaps. On a flat rack, simply arrange as you desire. Reserve the bottom rack for flats, since they will be easiest to grab without disturbing the rest of your footwear. In order to accommodate all your shoes, purchase as many racks as necessary and line them up adjacent to one another. Ikea and Crate and Barrel have great shoe rack options for under $40.
For those with less floor space, or the desire to be able to simultaneously see all their shoes, shoe cubbies are an ideal storage system. Cubbies can be built into a closet organizing system or free-standing. Because of their shape, these are ideal for the storage of flats, however, if you arrange your heels with the toe facing into the cubbie, they can be organized in this manner as well. Like with racks, place your most often worn shoes in the most prominent cubby row (this can be top or bottom, depending on if the cubby stands on the floor or higher up in a closet storage system). Arrange all subsequent shoes by color to allow for quick selection. Cubbies can be purchased from Ikea, Organize-It (awesome selection, moderate prices), and Target, and tend to range from $50-$100 for standard cubbies and $100-$200 for custom-designed ones.
If you have minimum space for shoe storage, the over-the-door shoe rack or bag is an ideal storage method. Over-the-door racks and bags do not take up any precious floor space, and allow you to display all your shoes in plain view. The closet or bedroom door is the best place to hang over-the-door shoe racks and bags. If you choose a rack, place your shoes so that they face towards the door with their heel hanging over the back of the rack. For purposes on consistency, do this even if they don't have a heel. If you select shoe bags, label the individual pockets so that you don't waste precious getting-ready time rummaging in search of your favorite tan wedges. A simple description such as "Red Christian Louboutin Platforms" will suffice, but for increased efficiency and maximum appeal, snap pictures of all the shoes you are storing in the shoe bags and tape the shot to the bag pocket. This method allows for instant outfit inspiration, and gives you an excuse to spend an extra hour with your shoes playing photographer. Try Bed Bath and Beyond's over-the-door rack/selection, which can store up to 48 pairs of shoes for $30, but Target and Organize-It offer affordable and creative selections as well. Shoe bags can be purchased for as little as $10 in various department stores, but you can splurge a little and go for a fun pattern or design. After all, you will have to look at this organizer every day!
No time, budget, or space for shoe storage purchases? Try these simple do-it-yourself options. In teeny-tiny closet situations (think college dorm room), hold on to the boxes that accompany your shoe purchases and store shoes inside them. Like with shoe bags, a simple way to keep these organized is to affix a description/picture to the box. Stack boxes in order of use or size in your closet or against your wall. Another easy DIY option for those with minimum funds and square feet to invest is to purchase an under-the-bed organizer ($5-10 at Target), and use the cardboard from your shoe boxes to make dividers rather than buying custom-made, and often pricey ones. Keep flats in one box and heels in the other, and store under your bed as to avoid cluttering your already tiny space.
No matter the storage method you decide on, some shoe-care tips are universal. Dust shoes often, especially if they are patent leather or suede. When storing seasonal items, be sure to wrap them in shoe bags (or, if you do not have any, clean plastic bags). Be sure to fill your boots with shape holders (or, if you do not have any, tissue paper) to maintain their shape when you are not wearing them. Take shoes to the cobbler once every season for heel replacement and shining. If you are good to your footwear, it will be good to you and last considerably longer.
With these tips, you are all set to organize your shoe collection, and officially have an excuse to go shopping for more!