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13 Wild, Wacky and Workable Shoe Storage Tricks You Need to Know

You love your shoes (and so do I). It’s estimated in 2018 the average woman has 30 pairs of shoes and the average guy weighs in at 12 pairs. 

This shoe/boot/sneaker obsession has reached such epic proportions I recently noticed a guy at my local mall whose entire business was shining sneakers (hey, marketing gurus out there – how’s that for a niche business?).

You love your shoes so much it’s estimated 13% of woman have turned shoe buying into a ‘clandestine’ operation. Not sure what I mean about this? Well – it’s estimated 13% of women hide their shoe purchases from their significant others. OK Rose (that’s my wife), are you hiding anything I need to know about?

Since it’s likely your shoe, boots, high-heels and sneaker collections are growing (whether your spouse realizes it or not), there are 2 key questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Question 1 – Where are you going to put all your doggone shoes?
  • Question 2 – How can you develop a system(s) to find the pair you need so they aren’t buried in the nether-nether lands of your closet?

This article is focused on answering these two questions.

I’m going to dish out 13 wild, wacky and workable solutions to help you create shoe storage solutions to keep up with what you’re buying – even if own a 1900’s home with closets designed around a farmer who owned 2 pairs of shoes and 3 sets of clothes.

At the end of the article let me know which of these ideas were useful and questions you have to solve your specific shoe storage problems.

Shoe Storage Trick #1 – Get your ‘shoe religion’ on. Investing in a ‘shoe shrine.’

The most important thing you can do for your shoes is get them off the floor of your closet where they’re buried underneath hanging clothes. However, just getting them off the floor is not enough. The challenge is how can you get the maximum number of pairs in the minimum amount of space and still be able to see them?

Here’s an idea for you.

It’s a ‘shoe shrine.’ No, it’s not a religious cult or a place you go to idolize your shoes. It’s a system of thin (yet sturdy) aluminum shelves which allow you to get more pairs inside a smaller space. What’s nice about this ‘shrine’ is you can adjust these shelves to fit boots, flats or mid-height shoes – and they work in small spaces like reach in closets.

Aluminum shoe shrine efficient shoe storage | Innovate Home Org | #ShoeShrine #WalkInCloset #ShoeStorage #StorageSolutions

Shoe Storage Trick #2 – It’s time to climb (OK, not literally) the ‘shoe ladder’ of successful storage

I don’t know about you, but some of the DIY shoe organization ideas on Pinterest look downright ugly to me. Repurposed pallets and PVC pipes wouldn’t cut it for me (and my wife would throw out these ugly approaches in a “New York Minute.”)

However, with that being said I thought this ‘shoe ladder’ pic I saw on a Pinterest closet board was an ingenious idea. Even if your closet is too small you can put this decorative ladder in the bedroom, in a wide hallway, in an entryway – you name it. Shoe storage can be fun and purposeful.

Shoe Storage Trick #3 – The Lazy “Shoe-Shen.”

OK – this is a bad play on words – but it’s always a good idea to figure out what to do with the ‘dead corners’ (whether they are in your kitchen, pantry or walk-in closet) and a Lazy Susan type of system can be a savior. Even though I can’t to this day figure out who the heck this “Lazy Susan” woman is (and why no one has motivated her to get off her butt by now, but I digress).

Using the concept of the revolving tray for shoes in the corner of a walk-in closet is an idea which is long overdue. You can gain shoe storage space and get something out of useless corners. Sounds like a concept to me.

Lazy susan shoe rack for closet storage | Innovate Home Org | #ShoeRack #LazySusan #ShoeStorage #ClosetStorage

Image Source: Lazy Lee

Shoe Storage Trick #4 – Closet tension rods repurposed into being a shoe rack

Unused spaces behind doors and corners can be hidden storage gems. I loved this idea of buying low-cost closet tension rods and installing them between wall niches for shoe storage. They use unused space in a productive way without any large amount of your money going out. Good thinking!    

DIY Tension Rod Shoe Racks | A Loyal Love | Innovate Home Org | #DIYShoeRod #ShoeRacks #ClosetStorage

Image Source: A Loyal Love

Shoe Storage Trick #5 – Alternate your shoes on shoe shelves

This is a budget-saving tip anyone (with shelves in their closet) can benefit from. Since the wider part of your shoes is in the front and the thinner part (the heal) is in the back, you can magically gain room on your shelves by alternating your shoes.

This trick costs you ZERO dollars – yet you’ll get more of your pairs in the same square footage (get it – ‘foot-age’ – now that’s a bad pun!).

Alternating shoes for more space | Innovate Home Org | #shoeladder #AdjustableShoeShelves #ShoeStorageTips

Shoe Storage Trick #6 – Install shoe drawers underneath your stair treads

I’ll grant you this idea is totally impractical in an existing home – but this technique is used frequently in new-build tiny homes where every inch of space is at a premium. The idea is to create shoe drawers underneath the stair treads. They are not only a fun way to use unused space, but since the stairs are close to the door, it’s a logical place to put shoes as well.

Clever Stair Shoe Storage Solution  | Innovate Home Org | Impressive Interior Design | #ShoeStorage #ShoeShelf #UniqueStorage

Image Source: Impressive Interior Design

Shoe Storage Trick #7 – Find a ‘shoe rack on a diet’  

The ‘entryway’ (if you can call it that) or ‘glorified hallway’ in my home is a grand total of 39” wide. There is no way to put a 14” to 24” deep entryway system in the hallway leading out to my garage. Plus, my wife and I certainly don’t want to be “greeted by a shoe graveyard’ (you know, all the family’s shoes in one large heap when you walk in. Can you relate?).

Years ago, we installed this 7 ½” deep x 65” high shoe gem which holds 15 pairs. What’s cool is it hides all the shoes! It’s a shoe masterpiece – IMHO. We got this unit from IKEA eons ago. It still works flawlessly.

Shoe rack for a narrow hallway | Innovate Home Org | #IkeaStorage #ShoeStorage #ShoeStorageTricks 

Shoe Storage Trick #8 – Go deep with slide out shelves

Using your depth can be a wonderful way to get more shoe storage in the same space. However, the problem with most closet shelving is it is a scant 12” deep – so there’s no room for more than one pair of shoes deep.

If you invest in slide out shelving which is 18” to 24” deep, you’ll be able (depending on your shoe sizes) to fit 2 pairs of shoes deep. BOGO your storage. Not a bad idea, hey?

Slide out shelves which are deeper | Innovate Home Org  | #RolloutShelf #Shoestoragetips #Slideoutshelf

Shoe Storage Trick #9 – Have one ‘big-old’ shoe drawer

If you’re asking if it’s possible to overthink your shoe storage and make it more complicated than it has to be, the answer is yes. Besides some of the systems I’ve discussed above (including the tall “shoe rack’’ in trick #7 and the ‘shoe ladder’ in trick #2) require more height than you may have.

Given height constraints I loved this ‘fill up the box’ approach one of our customers used for a multipurpose entryway/hallway storage and kitchen area off their back door entrance. It’s simply one ‘big old’ shoe drawer. The family comes in. They open the big old drawer. They heave their shoes inside. Simple – and it works.

Large and deep shoe drawer in Columbus entryway | Innovate Home Org | Columbus, Ohio | #EntrywayStorage #ShoeDrawer #MudroomShoes

Shoe Storage Trick #10 – Shoe cubbies

While I’m not a huge fan of shoe cubbies (because they are impractical for boots, high heels and mid-height shoes) they do have their place. If you like to wear flats and sneakers (which can be sandwiched inside cubbies), this approach can be effective.

Shoe cubbies in a custom closet Columbus | Innovate Home Org | #ShoeCubbies #CustomCloset #OpenCubbies

Shoe Storage Trick #11 – Repurpose your kid’s skateboards as shoe shelves  

I wish I had known about this trick before my middle son Parker went off to college. He was our “Skate-Board-Dude-Man’ back in his Junior High days. He had more boards than he (and we) knew what to do with. Here’s one fun idea we could have taken advantage of with his graveyard of unused boards (except stuff them in the garage).

We could have taken the unused skateboard decks (the top part) and made them into shelves. It adds storage to a boy or girls’ room in a fun, decorative way.  

DIY Skateboard Shelfs for shoes | Innovate Home Org | #Shoestorage #UniqueStorageOptions #ShoeShelving  #DIYStorage

Image Source: Hometalk

Now only if you can get your kids to put their shoes on the shelf (Note – the goal of this article is to be informative, but I make no promises to be able to perform miracles!).

Shoe Storage Trick #12 – Invest in flat adjustable shelves

The biggest problem with shelves (and shoe shelving is just one area where shelving is used in your home) is you have ZERO flexibility with them. You can’t adjust the height to fit the specific things you want to put on the shelves.

As you know shoe styles and types change. Their height also changes (you can see this with the lack of space for your boots today) Since most shoe shelves are as fixed as your Dad back in the day when you asked him to give you a longer curfew as a 16-year-old starting to date, this lack of flexibility is not a good thing.

Since the height of your shoes changes as styles come and go, it’s critical for your shelves to move with your shoes. This is the biggest reason you need to have adjustable shoe shelves. With laminate closet systems you can use the ‘increment’ holes on side support panels to change your shelf heights as needed.  

Flat adjustable shoe shelving in Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org | #AdjustableShoeShelf #ShoeShelf #OpenShelving

Shoe Storage Trick #13 – The ‘guilt trick.’ Donate shoes you aren’t using

If we’re going to get ‘real dog’ (as Randy Jackson might say if he was still doing American Idol) and we look into our closets we all have dusty pairs of shoes. We look at them and say, ‘I might use this pair someday.’ However, some day NEVER comes.

In my closet it’s a pair of brown dress shoes I haven’t worn in 4 years (and I’ll confess here I only own 6 pairs of shoes – if you can believe it or not). Yet I still keep this pair. It does NO ONE any good. I need to wake up and smell the ‘declutter roses.’ I need to donate this pair ASAP!  

If you’re like me, you’ve got dusty shoes. Look into your closet. Find the dusty ones. Donate them so you’ll help someone else. You’ll gain shoe storage space (or find more places to hide new pairs you don’t want your spouse knowing about– just kidding about that).

Shoe donations for an organized closet Columbus | Innovate Home Org | #ShoeDonations  #ShoeStorage #OrganizedCloset


Now that we’ve gone through the 13 wild, wacky and workable shoe storage ideas which one(s) do you need to get motivated to do TODAY? Are there any you think are waaaay out there you’d never do? What shoe storage ideas are you using you think are fabulous and would like to share?

If you’d like help planning your shoe storage (or closet, or entryway or pantry shelving) in your home in the Columbus or Cleveland Ohio areas, we’d love to assist. Call for a Free 3D Storage Design or ask for input in the comments below.

Do you want more help from me or my team?

For assistance with a pantry, walk in master closet or reach in closets in Columbus or Cleveland Ohio call Innovate Home Org at 614-545-6888 or 216-658-1290.


For more information on organization products or remodeling (with a bit of wacky humor thrown in) follow me on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.



Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Harry Ike


    I’m interested in your Shoe Storage Trick #3 – The Lazy “Shoe-Shen.”


    • Avatar

      Mike Foti


      Harry – thanks for your comment. The company who wholesales these units is called Closet Works and they’re located in Chicago Illinois. Hope this helps you – Mike


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