Question: What is the Best Way to Store Shoes?
Jonathan E. Stewart offers a male perspective:
Contrary to what Kimora Lee Simmons' closet might lead you to believe, shoes (regardless of how expensive they are) do not need to be treated like your first born. Making sure you have enough space to house your shoes is essential, but they don't need a room. I know shoe organizers can be tempting, but they usually aren't best for keeping the shape of your shoes. Lining your shoes up, and keeping them either on the floor of your closet, or bedroom is the best way to keep them organized and in great condition. Another option is buying a small bookcase and keeping them on it, with ample room for each pair. What you primarily want to avoid is cramming too many pairs onto one shelf or space that may squash the shoes and force them to lose their shape. Boxes take up too much space for my taste, and while the Polaroids-on-a-plastic-box idea is cute, it simply isn't feasible if you don't have a lot of time on your hands.
He's right that there are many fussy options available to house or display The Shoe Collection, but with a little creativity, you could have something just as classy for a fraction of the price. I'm writing this article to provide you with further options so you can find one that works for you and that keeps your footwear safe and tidy.
Canvas hanging shelves are popular and affordable. Most furnishing stores stock them, frequently in a variety of cheerful colours. If you have more hanging room than floor space, this is a good option for you.
Do check that your closet rail is strong enough to support the weight you intend to load upon it. It's usually a simple problem to fix, probably only requiring purchase of a sturdier rail or nailing wooden support bars under the existing rail holders.
Here, a professional organizer talks about making sure your closet can handle the weight of items like shoe hangers.
I use a vinyl-coated metal frame for the shoes I wear most often, and shoeboxes keep the dust off special occasion and out-of-season footwear. The picture on the box doesn't necessarily match the trotters inside it, so I label the box so I can see at a glance what's in it.
Vinyl-coated metal (wire) shoe racks are well-known amongst shop keepers, but they seemed surprised to find their store doesn't stock them (I tried Mitre 10 and The Warehouse). Thanks to Yvonne for locating the above item at Howards Storage World (they have 11 shoe storage options) and on TradeMe.co.nz. The nearly-new TradeMe rack sold for $8, but brand new from HSW costs NZ$31.90.
They do have other, cheaper options, though, including 9-pair stacker shelves (sml) @ $25.90, and a 6-pair rack $19.90 @ (wall or door mounted). New Zealand shoppers can check them out here. To shop in Australia, go to www.hsw.com.au.
Mitre 10 has a chrome shoe organizer fitting about 12 pairs for $29.95, and a stackable mesh shelf at $52.95.
Above is the 2-tier Expanding Shoe Rack Chrome Finish available @ A$49.00, from The Storage Shop.com.au (also available at Briscoes, NZ). This can be adjusted to the width of your wardrobe, hall, or cupboard space. Remove the rubber pole caps and another rack slots on top (or underneath). You can build a tower as high as you need. (Thanks again for the tip, Yvonne!)
Buy or Build?
If you have funds, you could buy something like this pigeon-holed settee...
Or, if you have more time than $$, you could try a building project. Why not remodel an old chest of drawers, replacing the drawers with shelves and partitions to form pigeon holes, or you could use an old cupboard, with or without doors.
A simpler building project
Next to using shoeboxes (and plastic-coated wire racks), this is the cheapest shoe home I've encountered, and one of the few that will hold kiddie-size shoes. The illustrations show untreated timber, but a little attention with sandpaper then paint or varnish could create a very attractive piece of furniture.
For the top two planks and side pillars, the builder used a throwaway pallet (you can get these from places like Mitre 10, Tumu Timbers, or Carter Holt). The bottom 3 rails are Trellis Batten [40X10mm Radiata Trellis Batten Merch H3 RoughSawn from Carter Holt] valued at 83 cents per metre.
The joins are both glued and screwed (the trellis batten produced a lot of moisture when screwing). It is surprisingly sturdy -- the builder commented that his two preschoolers can stand on it at the same time and it hardly even flexes.
All the best with sorting your shoe family.