Sole Searching - A Shoe Storage Solution

2 Materials
2 Hours

After a lot of 'sole searching' (the kind of searching you do when you can't find the pair of shoes you really want to wear, that is), I finally came up with a shoe storage solution that works for me.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I have an amusing story about my shoe fetish. I worked for a downtown creative firm many years ago and was known for keeping a ton of shoes under my desk. One year at Christmas time, because we were a creative bunch, the party committee decided to shoot a video. Every time they shot a scene, they would cut back to someone counting shoes under my desk. This was a running joke that went on for the entire length of the video! Anyway, that 'amusement' soon faded when the reality of the situation finally sunk in - which resulted in me having to come up with a solution to store more of my shoes at home :)

With some plastic storage containers, self laminating cards, a camera and some double face tape, this is what I came up with:

At a glance dust-free show storage

Even though I have a walk-in closet, it is fairly small and was a cluttered mess. I wanted to be able to easily locate the shoes I wanted at a glance. It would take a mega-storage solution to organize my myriad of shoes!

The as-is section at Ikea can be a great resource for finding items at a fraction of the price. When I happened upon a Pax 2 wardrobe frame floor model, I just knew that it would work perfectly as a shoe tower! The metal shelves it came with were meant to be used for shoe storage, as shown below, but I really wanted a dust free solution so I reinstalled the shelves in a horizontal position instead.

Shelves positioned horizontally

The wardrobe turned out to be the perfect size to hold up to 40 pairs of shoes in plastic storage containers (it measures 19 5/8 wide by 13 3/4 deep by 93 1/8 high). Although it already came with some metal shelving, I bought a few more so I could stack the shoe boxes 3-high between each shelf. Stacking them in this way made it easy enough to pull one out from the bottom without risking an avalanche of the ones on top.

Stacking 3-high on each shelf functions well!

I found this pack of 'self laminating cards' for only $3 for 50 at the dollar store!

Love the dollar store!

Then I took digital pictures of every pair of shoes I had. I arranged them on a white board to neutralize the background. I arranged each pair, as shown below, so that I could see the shoes from the side as well as from the top. I tried to be consistent with this layout so it would look organized once stacked on the shelves.

You'll need to practice a little to get everything into frame. Some of my pictures got cut off a touch because of the size of the laminated card, so be mindful of this as you're taking pictures to leave enough white space around your photos so you won't have to retake them again!

Our local photography store was having a sale on 6" by 8" prints so I set the pictures up collage-style (four to a page) so I could cut them down and fit them into the laminated cards. The laminated card is only 2 1/2 high x 4 wide, so you might want to do a test print to make sure the printed photos will work with that size.

When the pictures were processed, it was just a matter of trimming them to size to fit into the laminated cards and then pressing around the edges to seal them up.

I then needed stackable containers that would fit within the wardrobe. Because I needed so many, I waited until one of our local organizing stores was having a sale and I was able to get perfectly sized containers for $2 each. For anyone who's wondering what I used, the boxes are from IRIS (13.63 x 8.13 x 4.38 - 6 quart containers).


Once I had all my laminated cards done, I put some double face tape on each one and stuck it to the outside of the box. If you prefer, you could use clear double side tape and stick the picture onto the inside of the box facing out instead.

All that's left is to put the matching shoes into the box, closed the lid and put it onto the shelf.

The beauty of this project is that it takes up little floor space in the closet. It's only two shoe boxes wide - the rest of the space is essentially vertical air space, leaving me plenty of room for clothes storage too!

I can store up to 40 pair of shoes in this tower. Because of the height, I need a step stool to reach the very top but I store less used shoes on top.

Even if you don't have a walk-in closet and don't have space to devote to a whole tower of shoes, you can still utilize the laminated card idea on the outside of your shoe boxes to see what you have without having to open the lid! Easy peasy and dust free to boot!

Here is another storage solution we came up with to store some shoes and purses with the added bonus of keeping my silver jewellery tarnish free:

Below are a few storage projects you'll find on Birdz of a Feather. For more inspiring ideas, in and around the home, follow our blog here

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Suggested materials:

  • Shoe boxes  (Organizing store)
  • Self laminating cards  (Dollar store)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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4 of 52 comments
  • Val
    on Dec 30, 2017

    I drill several good-sized holes in each box. Leather needs to breath.
    Thanks for sharing
  • Donna
    on Sep 13, 2019

    This post was an inspiration for my own shoe closet. We already had a shoe closet using dead space over a staircase and hubby built shelves for me instead of those ugly wire hanging things that always made marks on my shoes. I absolutely LOVE it and it's so easy to access all my shoes. Thank you for the inspiration

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