Today at STYLEanthropy, I’m finally sharing our shoe closet transformation and how to organize your shoes. For me, getting ready to head out has definitely become quicker and easier now. With the new shoe organization in place, I can see everything immediately, making it easier to choose what to wear. Plus, I get to wear older pairs that have long been forgotten because I couldn’t see them before. Let me give you a brief background on how we used to store our shoes before. Oh, and FYI, I know we have a lot of shoes and you’ll probably say the best solution is to stop buying. BUT full disclosure, half of our shoes (yes, I counted) are sponsored/provided by clients I’ve worked with here on the blog. Also, I regularly donate and sell to make room.
Before the Shoe Closet Transformation
I used to keep our shoes in boxes for 3 reasons:
- They were kept in the garage because we didn’t have space in the new smaller apartment. So keeping them in boxes protected them from dust, dirt, and what not.
- Again, we didn’t have enough space. So with boxes, we were able to pile them up on top of each other.
- Lastly, we used to move a lot because of the husband’s work. Having them in boxes made it easier to transport (although bulkier).
PROBLEM 1: The problem with storing them in boxes is that you don’t see them right away. Even though I knew exactly what was in each shoe box, when you’re running late to head out, you don’t have the time to go glance at each box and try to remember or think what’s inside. Plus, it takes additional time to get that box, open it, and make sure it’s what you want.
I know the solution one might think is to get those clear box containers for each pair so that you can easily see the shoes. But I didn’t want to spend on boxes. PLUS, some shoes are bulkier, taller, wider, or thinner than the others. So that will require different sizes of shoe box – making them uneven when piled up.
PROBLEM 2: Another problem with storing them in boxes is when you pile them up, it gets tricky to get something in the middle or in the bottom without everything on top toppling over. While we have that flimsy 4-level metal shoe shelf, the top-most level is where we pile on boxes on top of boxes. It came to a point where I would get something and a few boxes would come falling down. So I’ve had enough. I needed a better solution and way to organize our shoes. AND I needed to downsize.
Shoe Closet Transformation
I’ve been seeing this Billy book case from Ikea and how a lot of other bloggers used it as their shelf for bags, makeup, accessories, shoes, and what not. I’ve always wanted to do it, but didn’t think to do it in our current apartment because one, NO SPACE. Two, when we move again, they would be additional furniture to haul. Third and lastly, I’d have to set aside budget for it especially if I need a couple of them to fit all of our shoes! So what made me do it? Like I said, I’ve had enough of the boxes falling down and sweating off while I’m all made up, trying to look for a pair to wear before I head out. I know I can prepare my outfit the night of. But hello? It’s not like I have the time to do that every single time.
So What Did I Do?
So first, I had to take some measurements to make sure it can still fit despite the tiny space left in our bedroom. I just made sure that a person can still walk through and that our heavy duty vacuum will be able to go through the space as well. Luckily, it did on both counts.
Two, I just had to accept the fact that we might need a bigger truck when we move again. And also, I will probably have to retire or donate older furniture before that happens. Such is life.
Three, I just had to set aside a budget for this. Since it will be used for blogging, styling, photographing (you’ll understand why later on), etc., it’s coming out of my business expense. I worked extra to pay for these.
So off we went to Ikea, grabbed two Billy bookcases (not sponsored), assembled, screwed to the wall for support, designed and styled, and we were done. But it felt incomplete. Besides the fact that the shelves weren’t enough for all our shoes, the wall begged to be filled with shelves for a built-in look. I wish I took a photo the first night after the 2 bookcases were installed. That side of the wall didn’t have anything except for the TV mounted on the wall. It looked so awkward after having two bookcases in the corner. So I measured the TV and it fit the width of the bookcase. I knew exactly what to do!
So the following day, we came back to Ikea and got two more Billy shelves. And voila… the perfect (for me) wall shoe closet… complete with a photo box feature. That display section with the NYC Skyline wall art c/o Minted is my custom photo box! It’s where I’m taking product photos for my blog now. So that’s why it’s both a personal shoe shelf and a business tool for taking my blog photos and background for my videos as well.
How To Organize Your Shoes
After transforming my own shoe closet, I saw how efficient and effective this new shoe organization has become. Plus, it looks so nice! That’s why I thought I’d share tips on how to organize your shoes too.
1. It’s easier to see all your shoes at once
It makes dressing up quicker and easier. You can opt for clear boxes if you have the budget or space. But if not, simple shelves (even wall shelves) that can accommodate everything is wonderful too.
2. Place your pair of shoes in opposite directions
Having one foot facing the front and one facing the back will help maximize the shelf space. Here, if I had all the shoes lined up facing the front (or back), I can only fit 4 pairs each level. By alternating the direction of each foot, I can fit 5 (sometimes even 6) in one level.
3. Organize according to season or styles and by color
For example, all boots should be together. That way, it’s easier to organize and make sure your shelves are even. But even better, you can easily see all options when looking for a pair to wear with your look. If it’s Fall, you can see all the boots in one section. If you’re looking for some heeled sandals, you can see them all lined up together. The same goes for color. For example, when you’re looking for black sandals to wear, all you have to do is to check that section of black sandals.
New York in my mind! I love this NYC Skyline wall art c/o Minted. Thank you!
4. Make your shoe closet pretty
Often times, shoe closets are neglected and buried somewhere – in an extra closet, underneath the bed, in the garage (ahem), in the laundry area, etc. And that’s the problem with hiding them. Sometimes you won’t remember you have a certain pair of shoes because you can’t see them. So why not make those shoe shelves pretty? After all, they house your pretty shoes. It’s okay to let them out in the open as long as you organize them well and make them stand out. They can look like a decorative feature too! If there’s space left in the shelf, consider adding decorative touches. It can be a candle, faux flowers or succulents, ornaments, or a picture frame!
5. Don’t forget to take measurements
If you found a designated area for your shoe shelf, make sure it will fit. Take measurements and visualize how it would look like in the space. Also, make sure ALL your shoes will fit the shelves. Because if there are still pairs without a home, then you’ll continue to have problems with piling up, and organization will be a fail. I love that I was able to fit all of my husband’s shoes here as well. Yes, he doesn’t have a lot considering that half of his shoes are sponsored too. He’s the type who will wear the same thing over and over again until it gets beaten up. Then that’s the only time he’ll move on to the next. So he has some shoes here that look good as new.
6. Consider downsizing
Do you use all of your shoes? Maybe there’s a really old, outdated pair you can get rid of. Consider donating or selling some of them that are still in good condition but you never really wear anymore. I sell mine on Poshmark. My closet name is myfashionjuice and when you first sign up (it’s free to join), use code HBMHJ to get $5 in your account to use towards shopping! Since I took these photos, I’ve already freed up some space so that those sneakers aren’t crowded anymore.
7. Maximize every inch of space
If you’re using a bookcase type shelf for shoes, you can use the top of the case for storage too. I like to keep the beautiful and sturdy boxes of some of my bags or other memorable boxes (like special packages or gifts that brands send me). They act as a reminder of beautiful memories and achievements. For example, I kept the box of my Chanel boy bag that my husband gave me for my Christmas Birthday in 2014. Others are pretty boxes of gifts I received from favorite brands I’ve worked with. When I’m feeling uninspired to blog or I’m questioning my blogging career, it’s a great reminder that I’ve worked with amazing brands. I’ve experienced a lot of things that I could only dream of back then (i.e. New York Fashion Week). It’s a great motivation to keep doing what I do best and the rest will fall into place at the right time. Obviously, they’re not just there for display. They actually hold seasonal items and what not like gloves, beanies, belts, etc.
I also allotted the top level for my bags because storing them has become a problem too.
Same with sunglasses and other accessories.
And lastly, I added hooks in our shoe closet for displaying a new outfit that I need to blog about. But if you’re not a blogger, it’s still useful. I use this to hang clothes that I’m wearing the next day. Or if you have an upcoming party or event, it’s nice to get your outfit ready and out in the open a day or so before, to make dressing up easier the day of.
7. Customize and accept that it can be a work in progress
Sometimes, you need to think out of the box. Use materials a different way. In this case, I used a bookcase for an accessories or shoe closet. And don’t be afraid to customize to make it your own and make it fit your space. It may be a simple white bookcase. But if you love color or print, who’s to stop you from painting, or using wall paper or fabric for the backdrop. Also, you may not be able to do everything all at once – whether it’s a time issue or a money restraint. And that’s fine. Life is a work in progress.
That’s it for today. I’m sorry if this post is way too long. I wanted to make sure I gave you all my tips and share our shoe closet transformation with you. I love a good before and after, so I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed creating this for you! As always, don’t forget to pin to save these ideas for later! Until the next. Xo.