Closet Organization: Shoes

By Leslie (aka Missus SmartyPants)

The first step to a more organized wardrobe is with an organized closet. When your closet has some organization, you will find it easier to put together outfits—instead of everything a “crammed in mess”. If you are finding your closet looks better closed because of the chaos that lurks inside, let’s roll up our sleeves and get started…

It’s time to open our bedroom closets for our first decluttering mission. Let’s look at our shoes. Where are your shoes (besides the lace-ups on your feet)? Are they dumped in a pile on the floor and you can’t find the other navy shoe–only a similar one in black? Or are you wearing the same 3 pairs over and over (and they are looking rather worn) while the others collect dust on the shelves?

Take 15 minutes and pull out all your shoes. Examine each pair individually and ask yourself these questions; are they worn out, scuffed, out of style, or too small? When was the last time I wore these? Toss the shoes that no longer fill your needs into 3 different bags:

  • One bag is for the give-away pile. These shoes are still good enough to wear, but you don’t like them (and therefore don’t wear them) or they are too tight and uncomfortable. Give them away so they can bless someone else’s feet!
  • Grab another plastic bag for shoes that have expired and are headed for the trash. Throw out any shoes that are simply too scuffed, or those with heels unevenly worn past repair or ones with soles lifting up or stitching coming undone. If you are still wearing any of these shoes, now is the time to toss them and replace them with some brand new ones.
  • Use the last bag for shoes that are in good shape…but need minor shoe repairs before you can wear them. Add shoes that need expert repair like having the heel tips replaced or the toe box stretched larger.  Collect the shoes and place them in your car right now–so next time you run errands you can take them to the cobbler. (Tip: For shoes that are slightly scuffed, try a felt tip marker in a matching color to cover over the scuffs)

Having good basic shoes is essential to a good wardrobe. You can build from there by adding in some fun trendy shoes too. A basic shoe wardrobe doesn’t really contain that many shoes. Your basic shoes should cover every occasion for your lifestyle. Here is a list of shoes most women need:

Basic Shoe Wardrobe

  • 1 pair of athletic shoes
  • 2 pairs of black, brown or navy (depending on your wardrobe colors) casual or walking shoes
  • 2 pairs of shoes for work in black, brown or navy
  • 1 pair of boots for winter
  • 1 pair of sandals for summer
  • 1 pair of dressy or evening shoes

Buy the best quality you can afford in your basic shoes–these are the ones you will wear over and over. Spend money on quality classics and less on the trendy shoes. You may need to buy shoes for special occasions (like flip-flops for the beach, or espadrilles for a certain summer dress)…but with the trendy shoes, don’t spend too much because they are not worn as much. Have fun with the trendy styles—but keep comfort in mind too. Many women wear shoes that hurt their feet for the sake of fashion. Try brands like Aerosoles, Munro or Naturalizer–these brands bring fashion and comfort together in footwear.

You may have a lot of shoes already, but chances are you aren’t wearing most of them. A recent survey conducted by Mervyn’s department stores found that 61% of women own 11 or more pairs of shoes. Most women only wear half of these shoes on a regular basis. However many women have a shoe fetish and own many more pairs than this. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Shoes have a magical quality to them and women will gravitate towards shoes (more than any other accessory). Shoes can change the look of an outfit completely. Take basic jeans for example, add a colorful tee and athletics shoes with a cardigan sweater for a casual look—then, take the same jeans and add a lacey blouse and slip-on wedge heels—the look of the jeans instantly becomes dressier because of the heels.

Now let’s talk about how to store them. I keep most of my shoes in a shoe cubby (this is a box with individual boxes big enough for each pair of shoes) I also store several pairs of boots on a low shoe rack along with my lace-ups. (Tip: keep your boots upright with several rolled up magazines inside) I keep dressy shoes stored in their original boxes on a higher shelf. You should store your shoes that you wear often together preferably on a shoe rack…this allows you easy access to your regular favorites. If you are tight on space, perhaps an over the door shoe organizer would be best for you. For shoes that you wear occasionally, get clear plastic shoe boxes and store them on a higher shelf. If you want, you could store these same shoes rarely worn in their original boxes and take a picture of the shoes inside. Apply the picture to the front of the box…that way when you want a specific shoe you know what box to get down from the shelf instantly. Since we’ve decluttered and tossed some shoes from your closet today, take an inventory and assess your needs. Write a list of what you need before you go shopping.

Here are some shoe shopping tips for your next outing:

  1. Schedule shoe shopping for when you have plenty of time to try on and visit several stores…especially if you wear an unusual size.
  2. If you find shoes that you like and fit well, put them on hold—then go and compare other stores. You may find the exact same shoes at another store for less!
  3. Always shop for shoes towards the end of the day. This is when your feet are their largest and you will find shoes that fit best.
  4. If feet are slightly different sizes, buy to fit your largest foot. You can add an insole to the other foot.
  5. When trying on shoes, make sure you wear similar socks or hosiery that is appropriate for that type of shoe. For example, if you are trying on boots that you will wear with a thicker sock—don’t try them on with nylons!
  6. Only buy shoes that are comfortable…walk around the store in them. If you are hoping they will stretch out, chances are they won’t and you will be stuck with a pair not comfortable enough to wear. Go for comfort!

Now that your shoes are organized and lined up, try different shoes with other outfits and see if you can wear the same shoes in a new way!


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