Friday, January 21, 2011


You may remember Pig Pen, Charlie Brown’s friend who always had a dust cloud around him that swirled even when he was still. Despite his uncleanliness, everyone loved Pig Pen. Why? Because he's relatable. We all seem to have our own little invisible (or not so invisible) dust cloud. And somehow it never fails that our home organization efforts are thwarted because of this lingering nuisance.

Where are places in your home where the dust cloud hovers? For me - it was my shoes. I always had good intentions of keeping them nicely lined up on the floor but in a hurry I would kick a pair here, there and everywhere. Somehow my shoes never seemed to make it back to the closet. They were in the entry way. Next to the couch. Outside on the porch. One under the bed, the other inside my gym bag. Or if by some fat chance they were all together, it was a disastrous pile of mismatched chaos. Nine times out of ten my tardiness could be blamed on my inability to find find a match.

Being that I am 1) a perfectionist and 2) hate being late, I needed to get rid of this dust cloud. Through trial and error, I found the shoe solution that works wonders for me - clear plastic boxes with a drop front opening. I've tried boxes with lids but un-stacking them every time I needed to open a box was annoying and time consuming. I was thrilled to find the drop front at the Container Store.

If you're in dire need of finding a shoe solution that works for you, here are some recommendations depending on the amount of space you have. And no a basket is NOT an option. Although throwing boots, flip flops, heels and sneakers into one big bin gets them cleaned off the floor, it doesn't solve the problem of the keeping pairs visible and together.
18 or 30 pair Shoe Wheels/$42 or $65. Holds men's and women's shoes. How cool are these?? If I had a big walk-in closet, I am almost positive I'd have a shoe wheel. The shoes are inserted into the pockets through elastic bands that secure them into place. The 1/2 wheel (Shoe Pod) holds 18 pairs and sizes up to 14+. The full circle wheel (Shoe Wheel) holds 30 pairs.

Couture Shoeboxes/$29.99 per box. Holds women's shoes only. With a solid box, it is imperative to display a picture on the front. These couture boxes have a 4x6 frame on the outside of the box to make this possible. A genius idea but a little pricey for my taste.

12-pair Under Bed Shoe Organizer /$19.99. Holds men's & women's shoes. If space is an issue, under the bed - the most under utilized space in the home - is an excellent option. But this doesn't just have to be used for shoes. Think outside the box - you could organize winter scarves and hosiery nicely in something like this. For tennis shoes or larger men's shoes, you'll have to put one shoe per pocket allowing it to only hold 6 pairs. 12-pair Shoe Organizer /$37.99. Holds men's & women's shoes. The only downside I see, is that it's made for sandals or low-heeled shoes. Unfortunately if you rock the high stilettos, I'm afraid they won't lay right. And for larger men's shoes or athletic shoes, it is best to put one shoe per opening. Not ideal. What I do like is that if you have a free compartment, you can store small handbags.
12-pair Canvas/Bamboo Over the Door Shoe Organizer/$19.99. Holds men's or women's shoes. Love the idea of utilizing the back of the door if you are limited on space but I personally can not stand seeing the hardware exposed on the front of the closed door. Pockets are very functional for belts, scarves and accessories.

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE - Drop Front Shoe Boxes/$7.99 per box for women; $9.99 for men. I love the transparency of knowing what is inside each box and the drop front opening so I don't have to unstack. Only downside - the women's box only will hold up to size 9 and the men's caps out at size 10.

If none of these work for you, I encourage you to check out Target's wide selection here. There are a million ways to organize. Pick one and stick with it. And before you organize, make sure you have the heart to heart with each pair. Ask yourself - when's the last time I wore them? Are they even still in style? No need to spend the time organizing shoes you'll never touch again.

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