Fashionistas and footwear lovers struggle to find room for their coveted collections. From the bottom of the closet to the boxes in the hallway, here's how to organize and store your shoes properly

They’re in a pile by the door. They’re shoved in the back of the closet. They’re all but forgotten, languishing somewhere on the back porch. They’re your shoes, and you have never been able to organize them.

“Shoes can be tricky, especially for women,” says Brandi Booher, professional organizer in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, “We seem to never have enough.” Booher says that for ladies (and a few guys too) looking to clean up that nasty mass of footwear, assessing your situation is the first order of business.

“The two biggest factors in getting organized are space and budget. From there, an individual has to approach the task in a manner that works best for him or her.” Teeny apartment? “An over-the-door hanging shoe organizer [works] for small closets with little shelf space,” Booher says.

“Closets with sliding doors often have more space for stacking. I would suggest clear plastic bins, uniform in size. Take a picture of each pair of shoes, label the picture, and adhere the label to the end of each bin. You can then organize by color, style, etc.”

If your shoe chaos is a result of lots of different pairs of little feet, Booher says it’s helpful to organize in a way that allows those little hands to keep things neat too. “For busy households, I would suggest either a bench with in-seat storage or possibly cubbies for children, again dependent upon space and budget.”

And as painful as it might sound, one of the quickest ways to eliminate a shoe pile is to, well, eliminate the shoe pile. Do you really need that second pair of pink platforms? What about that three-year-old pair of dress shoes you’ve never actually worn?

“Everything should have a purpose and a place,” Booher says. If you’ve got shoes without a purpose, they’re not ever going to be in the right place. So get rid of them! Giving shoes to charity or good-will makes your organizing adventure a lot easier, helps someone in need, and is certainly a lot “greener” than simply throwing them in the trash.

“Just devoting fifteen minutes a day to organizing can save you hours you might spend looking for items you need,” says Booher. And we know you need those patent leather pumps, ladies. So get yourself some bins, a storage bench, or a shoe rack so you can know right where they are when the time comes.

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