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How to Organize Kids Shoes

Sheryl Cannes
Updated on: November 18, 2022

Kids shoes are a mystery as sometimes they multiply when you’re not looking. Before you know it, you’re tripping over sneakers and flip flops, or you can’t find the match to a cleat right before the big game. If you can at least get your kids’ shoes on, life feels less stressful, and you can get all of your littles out the door on time. With shoes, a little organization goes a long way.

We’ve put together a few do’s and don’ts along with some organization tips and ideas to spark your (shoe) creativity.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Kids Shoes Organization

Do:

  • Sort: Have your children try on their shoes to weed out those that no longer fit. Separate all of the fitting shoes into categories like seasonal, sports, or special occasion shoes. Sort twice a year (or more if your kids are going through growth spurts).
  • Donate: Donate the shoes they’ve outgrown. If the shoes are completely worn out with holes and floppy soles, throw them in the garbage.
  • Think creatively: If you can’t afford the extra cost of a big shoe organizer, don’t fret. Worth with what you already have. Empty bins, baskets, and even cardboard boxes can work as shoe storage containers in a mudroom, laundry room, or other storage space.
  • Store and save: Families with several children can save money by storing the shoes that older children outgrow, especially when it comes to specialty shoes. Cleats, bowling shoes, and water shoes aren’t used often, so they can make it through several siblings before they wear out.

Don’t:

  • Donate shoes that are falling apart. If you can use the shoe’s sole as a puppet, it’s not worth donating. Only donate children’s shoes that are in wearable condition.
  • Keep a shoe without a partner. Somehow kids manage to lose one shoe but not the other. If you’ve hung on to the remaining shoe for a reasonable amount of time and the partner still hasn’t shown up, toss it.
  • Think you have to store all of the shoes in one place. Consider of all the different kinds of shoes your children wear. It’s easier and more practical to store some kinds of shoes in the garage and others in their bedroom or on the closet floor.

Organization and Storage Options for Kids Shoes

Every family, home, and closet presents a different organization challenge. Here are several options to get you started.

Outside Shoe Storage and Organization

All of the kids shoes don’t need to be in the same place. Think about all of those rain boots, snow boots, basketball sneakers, and soccer shoes. You don’t want all that outdoor dirt and grime finding its way into your house.

Keep the dirt, mud, sticks, and leaves outside by using an outside storage bench to hold boots, cleats, water shoes, and other seasonal or specialty footwear. Outside storage benches, racks, and shelves are made to withstand the elements. They come in a wide array of sizes and depths, from a simple box to a long bench that doubles as a place to take shoes on and off.

Do you want the shoes visible or hidden away? Benches come in closed or open designs with visible racks. Children may have an easier time keeping the shoes organized on an open rack. It takes less effort to put their shoes away if they don’t have to open a door or lid. On the other hand, the visual clutter of racks doesn’t work for everyone. You’ll have to weigh which is more important to you, ease of organization or visual appeal.

Open racks can also pose an issue if the shoes get exposed to too much sun and inclement weather. Sun, wind, and rain exposure can break down the shoes’ material. An open rack often works better in a garage where there’s some weather protection.

Entryway Shoe Organization

Entryway storage options continue to grow in sophistication. Of course, you can always opt for a bench with a shoe rack underneath or one that fits storage baskets to hide away shoes. But there are entryway organization furniture pieces with shoe cubbies, a bench, hanging hooks, and overhead storage. These pieces optimize the use of floor space. You can organize the shoes your kids wear most often and keep their backpacks, gloves, and hats tidy and contained, too.

If you don’t have space for a bench or a bench just isn’t your style, consider using baskets or bins at the bottom of a coat closet. Shoes piled at the bottom of the closet present a disorganized mess. However, give each child their own basket, and you make it easier (and faster) to find shoes.

Kids’ shoe storage doesn’t have to look like shoe storage. Faux buffets and dressers abound online. These unique furniture pieces either have drawers or bins that, once opened, reveal interiors designed specifically to hold shoes. They’re neat, tidy, and come in a wide range of colors and styles. The only downside is that they only hold a few pairs of shoes and sneakers. It’s best to use them for the shoes your children wear the most since you’ll be limited in the number of shoes you can store in them.

Out-of-Season Shoe Storage

In some parts of the country, snow boots only make an appearance for one or two months of the year. But seasons aren’t always weather-related. Sports seasons come with a whole set of shoes, too. Baseball, football, and basketball shoes and gear may need storage until the competition season gets started. You need to think about how you want to handle your out-of-season shoe storage.

These kids shoes don’t need to be used often, so they can go in places that aren’t as easy to access as the front porch, garage, or closet. Under-bed bins and drawers are excellent options. Designs often feature wheels and perforated lids so you can open one side without opening the other.

The attic may be out of sight, but it’s not out of mind when looking for more storage space. Attic storage works well for out of season items. Be sure to use containers that protect the shoes from rodents and dust like plastic bins with lids.

Hanging Shoe Organizers

We’ve talked a lot about baskets and bins, but hanging closet or door organizers offer some vertical storage options, too. Closet shoe hangers hang from the clothing rod in the closet. They’re a good solution for special occasion shoes like dress shoes that could get scuffed and ruined in a basket or bin.

There are also hanging shoe organizers that attach to the top of a door. These take advantage of unused vertical space and are easily accessible. Look for a design that won’t scratch your door frame or door.

Creative Kids Shoe Storage and Organization

Bins and baskets, drawers, and racks—we’ve covered the main shoe organization options. However, none of those may fit with your style or even the space available in your home. If you’re still stumped for ideas, consider:

  • Wooden crates: Stack several crates to create a shoe organizer that you can reconfigure anytime you want. You can paint, stain, or wood burn them to add personality and style.
  • Wood pallets: Pallets get discarded from shipping centers and grocery stores every day. They’re a quick shoe organizer DIY. Lean one against the wall and instantly place shoes between the slats for quick, rustic storage.
  • Buckets: If modern farmhouse is your mantra, a bucket holds shoes just as well as a plastic bin. Galvanized steel has outdoor appeal, or stick with plastic for wet boots and shoes.

Conclusion

Shoe organization keeps the home running smoothly. To keep things organized, you’ll need to spruce up the shoe organization once or twice a week. But if you can stay on top of organization, you can get kids ready and out the door faster and with less stress.

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