In order to know someone better you must walk a mile in his or her shoes, as the old adage goes. But, in order to walk in their shoes you have to be able to find them. Which has been precisely my problem. My closet it full of pumps, flats, and athletic shoes that I absolutely love. However, keeping them organized is a different tale, indeed. Like most on-the-go gals, I don’t have time to keep things in order, so my beautiful heels end up on the floor of my closet. The result is a giant heap of shoes – a graveyard of sorts where beautiful pumps go to die. My challenge: come up with a system that keeps shoes in order, but is realistic enough for upkeep.
In the past I have tried other methods of keeping things organized. Racks and hanging shoe bags never worked. Even though these options were purchased with the best of intentions, I found that they didn’t inspire me aesthetically, thus my shoes continued to end up in a pile. I wanted a plan that would look both structured and fashionable. Enter in the Beautiful Shoebox System (or at least that is what I have named it). I’ve seen versions of it in magazines, but didn’t know if I could a) pull it off and b) be inspired to keep things going. The end result of individual “photo shoeboxes” was gorgeous and functional. Here’s how it was done:
Weeding Out: I pulled all of the shoes and shoeboxes from my closet. Even though I have made sure to donate / throw away shoes over the years that either went out of style or were beyond the point of repair, I found that I still owned pairs that, in all honesty, I will never wear. Thus, 9 pairs were removed for donation.
I Heart the Container Store: A trip to the Container Store cemented a new vision of organization. I went into the store with a non-scientific experiment, namely I threw three pairs of shoes into a large purse, and while in the store I placed them in different containers to see what would work. There were clear shoeboxes available that were invented for the sole purpose of solving my particular shoe dilemma. However, after placing shoes in the boxes I realized that a number of my shoes are similar enough that the system would not work for my organizational personality. I knew that I would still end up digging in my closet to make sure I was pulling the correct pump.
Genius Idea 1: I purchased 10 mailing boxes because the 13x7x7 depth was appealing. Deep box = not having to place shoes in each container precisely. And, at $1.29 per box it was much cheaper compared to the plastic containers.
Genius Idea 2: I also bought a small laundry bag for $9.99 because I wanted to enact a “get real” factor into the organizational system. The chances that I will return to my closet at the end of each day and place shoes into the correct box are low. However, the addition of a bag that will hold my shoes until I have a few moments to gather them together and place them in their respective boxes seems more do-able.
Photogenic Shoes: Once at home I took a digital photo of each pair of shoes, then printed the photos at a local pharmacy for a total cost of $9.81. I placed a large, clear picture on the outside of each shoebox, thus eliminating any guesswork of what was inside the individual container.
The End Product: I am absolutely thrilled with the new system. It is functional, fits my lifestyle, and looks whimsical. I can clearly see what I own, which will ultimately give me more options when creating outfits. The question now is upkeep – will this system still work in one month? Two? I will keep you posted.
Total Cost: $34.02
Total Time: 3.5 hours
Do you find that, at the end of the day, your shoes end up in a pile somewhere? Have you created a system that works for your organizational personality? Do you have an observation that will improve this idea? Leave a comment and let me know what is and isn’t working in your own closet.
by Kaarin Moore
Karin Moore turned her fashion savvy and shopping know-how into a career, wardrobe editing. She is the founder and CEO of Closet Caucus and believes your wardrobe tells your life story. We totally agree. Karin can be reached at ClosetCaucus@gmail.com at www.Twitter.com/ClosetCaucus.