“Help! The way I store my shoes is a mess.”
This was me recently after yet another morning rush made even harder by not being able to find the pair of shoes I wanted to wear.
As I opened and closed the doors of my closet looking in the various places I store them, time started tick, tick, ticking away and my window to get the kids to school and pre-school on time started rapidly closing. So yet again, I reached for one of my trusty go-to pairs instead of the shoes I knew I had in there somewhere and really wanted to wear.
Does this happen to you?
It’s so frustrating when (for once!) you’ve got the perfect outfit, but you simply can’t find the damn shoes to go with it. So you just end up wearing the same old pairs day-in and day-out by default, just because they’re at easy arms-reach, instead of wearing those shoes that are a little more different or a bit more special.
A peek inside my shoe-drobe
Even though I’ve previously tried to organise my shoes in all kinds of clever ways, they’re now still all spread throughout my wardrobe. I’ve got heels on an adjustable shoe rack, boots stacked along the front of that, and some more shoes jumbled on top of each other. More boots are lined along the top shelf of my wardrobe. Flats and sandals are stored in one of those in-wardrobe fabric hanging things, squeezed in 2 x pairs per section. My sneakers are piled on the shelf below that. I suspect there are also a few boxed pairs wedged into the top of my wardrobe that I’ve completely forgotten about.
And as if all that doesn’t sound bad enough, there are usually a couple of pairs on the floor near my bed as well. Plus, my dreamy (and well-worn!) Chanel brogues sit near my desk (mainly so I can look at them…) In a nutshell, my home is over-run with shoes. *Le sigh*
One day I dream of having a walk-in wardrobe with an entire wall devoted to shoes (can you imagine?!). But then again, I also dream of thick, luscious, frizz-free hair and a manicure that never chips. And world peace. I don’t think many of those are likely to happen any time soon.
In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to see ALL my shoes at once. They are too spread out so I can’t find the ones I’m looking for.”
These shoe-confessions which I’ve just vulnerably offered up to you, dear Foxes, I also shared recently with the lovely Cathy from Howards Storage World.
Cathy reckoned Howards could create a special place that could store all my shoes in the one spot, in an easy-to-see-&-access way, that also wouldn’t take up much room in our house. She called it a “Shoe Library.” I called it bloody awesome! But before she could design the perfect Shoe Library for my needs, Cathy needed me to answer a few questions, starting with:
1. Do you require storage for flat shoes?
2. Do you require storage for heels?
3. Do you want to be able to stack some shoes?
4. Do you want to display your shoes?
While I contemplated my responses, she shared some sage advice:
“Whether your collection of shoes is modest to mid-size or seriously big, there are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to shoe storage:
Visibility is key: If you can see your shoes, you will wear them.
Accessibility is a must: Rummaging is neither time efficient nor fun!
Protection is essential: Care for your shoes and they will last longer.”
I could see where she was going with this, and I was loving it. But then things got a little confronting.
Cathy ran her eyes over my shoe collection, looked back at me, and announced it was time to get ruthless.
Pull them all out, sort them into groups, and prioritise which shoes need the most accessible space. Then give away any unused or unwanted pairs.”
Gulp! My head spinning, I started to sort and cull: shoes I’d not worn for ages were passed on to the local thrift store, and some given to a friend with the same foot size. I offloaded a few brand-new shoe-mistakes on eBay, and threw a few others in the trash.
After that shoe-purge, I felt a little lighter. Like I’d just completed a 10-day detox diet without cheating.
Cathy then swiftly and efficiently moved into solution mode. Using the elfa shoe storage system, she custom-designed me a Shoe Library that would neatly fit into an unused corner of the spare room. I really think it’s one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen.
Check it out:
The elfa shoe library has solved my shoe storage problem by enabling me to group my footwear together in an easy to access way: I’ve got a bunch of flats, sandals and sneakers in the clear slide-out boxes on the top, and more tucked in clear cubby-holes below that. Heels, wedges and more flats sit on gliding shoe racks, ankle boots sit sweetly on a flat shelf, and knee-length boots hang on a boot bar at the bottom. It’s shoe heaven.
This elfa system stores up to 60 pairs of shoes, and cost around $1,300 but you can get a shoe library designed to fit your own needs, budget, and the space you’ve got at your place. All you need to do it take your measurements into your local Howards store for a free design consultation, or they can come to you for a free design, measure and quote. Sweet!
“A good library will never be too neat, nor too dusty, because someone will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.” Lemony Snicket.
This analogy by Lemony describes my Shoe Library to a tee. It’s maybe not quite as neat as the day I took the photos above. And some times I find the boys’ Ben 10 figurines hiding inside my boots. But because I can see them all, and put my hands on them easily, I’m now making the most of my entire collection of shoes. And I couldn’t be happier. Plus, I’m (finally) making it to school drop-off on time, too.
Got any great shoe storage tips to share?
And do you, like me, have a special pair that you like to have on display? (If so, hit me with a pic!)