How to Organize Shoes

Four Methods:Sorting Through Your ShoesStoring Your Shoes in Shoe BoxesUsing a Wooden PalletUsing a Hanging Shoe Shelf

If your large pile of shoes slows you down every morning as you try to find a matching pair, it may be time to organize them properly. First, you need to take some time to sort out what you're not currently wearing. Then, you can pick your preferred organization method to sort your shoes, so that you'll be able to easily find what you need.

Method 1
Sorting Through Your Shoes

  1. 1
    Designate four boxes to sort your shoes. Have one box for what you plan to throw away, one for donating, one for putting in a garage sale or selling to a consignment store, and one for what you're keeping. If you don't want to have a garage sale, you can eliminate that box. You can also add a box of items you'll put away, if you're keeping them for sentimental reasons.[1]
  2. 2
    Be critical. That is, you are likely trying to organize your shoes because you are out of space. Therefore, the best option is to get rid of what you're not using anymore. Be ruthless with yourself.[2]
  3. 3
    Ask yourself questions to help you decide. For instance, when was the last time you wore that pair of shoes? Are you keeping it for sentimental reasons? Do you wear it often enough to justify keeping it?[3]
  4. 4
    Sort your shoes into the boxes. The main shoes that could be sold for money are designer items, though they will only sell if they are in good condition.[4] Throw away anything that is severely ripped or that is stained or smells. Only keep what you wear on a regular basis. If you are keeping anything for sentimental reasons, such as wedding shoes, put it in a box to store for the moment.[5]
  5. 5
    Take the boxes to the appropriate places. That is, place the donation box by your door so you can remember to take it with you. Take the throw-away box to your dumpster. Label the boxes for sale and for storage, and put them away for now.
  6. 6
    Sort what you have left. That is, you only want to keep out what is currently in season, especially if you have a limited space. Therefore, sort out the shoes you aren't wearing right now to put in storage.[6]

Method 2
Storing Your Shoes in Shoe Boxes

  1. 1
    Purchase enough shoe boxes in the same style. Pick one style of shoe box to use for all your shoes so that they will stack properly. You can choose cardboard or plastic, depending on your preference. You can find shoe boxes at craft stores, big box stores, and storage container stores.
  2. 2
    Place each pair in a box. Only store one pair per box, so the shoes aren't crammed in the box. One point of having them in boxes is to protect them, and only putting one pair in each box will help you do so.[7]
  3. 3
    Print off pictures. If your shoe boxes aren't see-through, take a picture of each pair. Print off the pictures, and tag each box with the appropriate picture. That way, you don't need to dig through the boxes to find the right pair of shoe.[8]
  4. 4
    Organize according to style. That is, stack all of your fancy shoes in one area, your weekend shoes in the next stack, and your sneakers in the next one. Try putting in large shelves to hold all the boxes, which will make it easier to sort.[9]
  5. 5
    Sort by color. Once you've sorted by style, sort your boxes by color, so that all of your fancy black shoes are together, and so on.

Method 3
Using a Wooden Pallet

  1. 1
    Find a wooden pallet. The best place to find wooden pallets for free is at independent nurseries and hardware stores, since they are less likely to have someone who comes and picks up their pallets. Therefore, they'll usually give them to you for free.[10]
    • You can also check out local construction sites. Always ask before removing a pallet.[11]
  2. 2
    Pick a clean pallet. If it has spills on it, they could be hazardous. Therefore, choose one that looks relatively clean. Plus, clean ones will make a better finished product.[12]
  3. 3
    Pick one that will hold your shoes. The slates should be far enough apart that your shoes can slip through the slats but close enough together that it holds the shoes up.[13]
    • Be sure to wear gloves when picking up your pallet. It will have splinters.
  4. 4
    Look for how the pallet was treated. Some pallets are stamped with codes that describe how they were treated before use. One without codes is generally safe to use. However, if it has the codes EUR or MB or if the wood is colored, don't use it. If it has the codes DB, HT, or EPAL, it's generally acceptable to use.[14]
  5. 5
    Sand the pallet. Most pallets are left untreated, which can mean splinters and uneven wood. Take the time to sand the wood.[15]
    • Use an 80 grit sandpaper. You can use a power sander to help get the job done. If desired, you can move up to finer sandpaper for a smoother finish.[16]
    • Some people recommend planning the surface if you prefer a new-wood look.[17]
  6. 6
    Apply a stain. You can use a standard brush-on stain, but if you want something quick, try spraying on a stain instead of brushing it on.[18]
    • When brushing on stain, apply it in long, even strokes with a wide brush. Use an ample amount, and then wipe away any excess once the stain has absorbed.[19]
    • When spraying on a stain, apply it in even coats. Read the directions to find out how far away you should hold the can from the project when spraying. Use light coats, and wait for each coat to at least partially dry before applying the next one.[20]
  7. 7
    Apply a finish. The finish will protect the wood. If you want the natural look of the wood to shine through, try a beeswax finish.[21] Apply the finish in thin coats, waiting between coats. Once a coat is applied, run the brush over the whole length at a 45 degree angle to smooth it out.[22] Let the pallet dry.
  8. 8
    Prop the shoe rack up on a wall. You can put in your closet or your room. The beams should run parallel to the floor.[23]
  9. 9
    Divide your shoes by style. Place all the fancier shoes on one level. Insert them between the slats. The top slat on each level should provide enough support to hold them up with the ends sticking out. Place the sneakers on the next level, the casual shoes on one level, and so on.[24]

Method 4
Using a Hanging Shoe Shelf

  1. 1
    Buy a hanging shoe shelf. Hanging shoe shelves are an easy, inexpensive way to organize shoes. They're usually sturdy enough to hold up for years.[25]
    • Make sure you buy enough to house all your shoes.
  2. 2
    Hang the shelf. Hanging shoe shelves go over your clothing rod. They come with two Velcro straps. Simply wrap the straps around, and Velcro them down.[26]
  3. 3
    Sort your shoes by style. Sort your shoes by style, placing the fancy ones together and the everyday styles together.
  4. 4
    Place your shoes on the shelf. Put the ones you wear most often at eye level, so you can grab them more easily.


  • Don't forget to get a receipt when you're donating goods, as you can claim them on your taxes.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Home Organization & Recycling