Shoe organization to avoid the mountain of shoes by your front door

Updated Oct 12 2015
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shoe pile

What systems do you have for storing shoes by the entrance to your home?

Problem 1: I have too many, mostly sneakers.
Problem 2: My husband has large feet (Size 12 US).

All of those cute little 12 x 12inch cubby systems or baskets in a drawer don't work because I can fit one (if that!) of my husband's shoes per basket. And boots don't fit in those cubbies, either.

How do you avoid the mountain of shoes by the door?

I, too, have a partner with huge feet. You know what that means… enormous shoes and flip flops scattered around the house, rife for tripping over! The photo above is my shoe organization solution…

seagrass basketI utilize the space under a side table, with a decorative basket on one side for flip flops and my (smaller) shoes, and the empty space on the other side for his large shoes.

Here are some other options…
shoe shelfI know cubbies won't work with the big shoes, but what about a shelving system like this? You can always put your boots on the top shelf, and even line up the bigger shoes sideways so that they don't poke out.

shoe shelf and cubbyOoh, check out this deluxe shoe shelf! Boots can fit on any level, and it also has cubbies for smaller shoes, or all the rest of the stuff you like to keep at your entryway.

shoe rackIf you don't mind having your shoes in plain sight, an over-the-door shoe rack might be a good fit. The one pictured above is super-sturdy and has a built-in look, but there are TONS of different options to check out.

orange trunkWhat about a trunk? You can toss the shoes in so they can be in their natural state — a giant messy pile! Then close the top, and the shoe pile disappears! There are so many styles of trunks that can fit your home decor.

Your turn! How do you organize your shoe pile?

  1. My mom uses a big plastic bin lined with newspaper. She and my father have muddy chicken poop boots, so this is a great solution for them. Just be sure to measure your shoes before you purchase them. This isn't the most elegant solution, but stash it under a table or a bench and boom. Suddenly sleek.

  2. One of my neighbors was throwing this out: Natural Wood Household Shelves
    I took it, used it for a few months. It was shaky, but it helped our shoes to dry, and helped to keep them out to the typical pile formations.
    Then I sketched up and built an entry table / shoe thing myself using the rack as shelves for shoes. The mail lands on the upper deck, there is a cubby for reusable bags, and hats, and 2 shelves for shoes, which isn't quite enough. I wish I had built it 8 inches higher with another shoe shelf.

    • I have this shelf in the bottom of my front hall closet but it's not enough for the shoes my boyfriend and I have in usual rotation. There's another row of shoes on the floor in front of it so I can't close the closet door, and the floor of my bedroom closet is full of all the less-frequently-worn-but-cannot-bear-to-cull shoes.

      I'm starting to just develop a grim acceptance of the shoe piles in front of the door. sigh.

  3. My husband has size 11 feet, so I get this, Basically, my daughter and I use the back door, and he uses the front door, so our day-to-day shoes live near our respective doors. Seasonally inappropriate shoes are in a cardboard box on the floor in a deep closet, and dress shoes are in our bedroom closet. Things can get a little messy in the summer, because there are more options for daily wear, but in the winter we just have a couple pairs of boots on a rug or cheap shoe rack (basically this : http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-2-tier-fsc-beech-wood-shoe-rack/p164504 ) near each door.

  4. I also have a LOT of shoes, I can go 8 weeks and not wear the same pair twice, and hubby has UK size 13 feet.
    We use a bookcase for our shoes. It gives us the whole wall from floor to ceiling. I cram mine in by alternating the ways the shoes face as this allows 1 more pair of shoes per shelf. My husband puts his on the floor underneath the bottom shelf. i have hung one of those over the door foot organisers behind the bookcase for flipflops and other flat, seasonal shoes, this puts them out of the way but still pretty easy to reach when needed.

      • Yes it is. We have a rather thin long corridor from our front door to all our rooms. There is about a foot of space either side of the door. The bookcase is against the wall, where the door opens to. We hang our coats on hooks opposite. It does make the entry way a little thinner than I would like but provides a designated 'hats, coats, shoes off here' space and stops them taking over the rest of the flat.

  5. We work VERY hard to make sure that we only have at most two pairs of shoes (each) that are stored by the door. All of the rest of the shoes go into the bedroom where there is more storage space. Right now I'm pretty much only storing my hiking boots, which are doubling as winter boots, and a pair of sneakers, for midnight dog pee trips by the door. The rest of my shoes are hiding under the bed. That way the majority of the shoes stay hidden (that makes my wife happy (Happy wives are important)) and we both remember to take our wet-salty-sandy-snowy boots/shoes off when we get in the house.

    • This is what has been working for us recently. We both have tons of shoes and after years living together I learned that no matter what type of rack or bin we put by the door the shoes are ALWAYS going to end up in a pile – so might as well work with it. We have a strict two pair policy which means each of us only gets to have two pair max by the front door. All other shoes go in our respective closets (in piles, natch). It means taking an extra thirty seconds once every couple of days to bring an extra pair to the closet but it's worth it to keep the clutter from getting to be this overwhelming WELCOME TO THE CLUTTERHOUSE greeting.

    • Me too. Three pairs of shoes I wear most workdays are by the door, and weekend shoes and dress shoes are upstairs. It's worth the extra 30 seconds of putting them away to save at least 30 seconds by not needing to unbury my work shoes 5 days a week.

    • Yes! We have these too (or something really similar from Costco). We've stacked a couple and can fit basically all of our everyday shoes there now. And it looks pretty nice.

  6. Topical! I just installed new shoe storage this week. We have those plastic ikea shoe bins (trones) that hang in the wall. Each bin fits 2-4 pairs of my husband's size 13 shoes. We have four of them. Because we have wood paneling in the entry and I didn't want to drill holes in it, I mounted them with command picture hanger strips (basically glorified, removable Velcro). These can hold up to 16lbs according to the packaging, which is more than a couple pairs of shoes usually weigh. Boots get lined up underneath. So far everything seems super secure, but I will replace the picture hanger strips with screws if need be.

    This is just to the left of our door when you come in, so the top is doubling as a place to dump keys etc. I'm going to mount a shelf on the top (with L brackets hidden behind the shoe bins) to class it up a bit.

    I'll try and get a picture of this and post it to the Flickr pool when I've got the shelf mounted. I'm super happy with this setup!

    • Every time I go to IKEA I'm amazed by the number of shoe storage options that they have. I don't know if Swedes are obsessed with shoe organization, or just the IKEA purchasing department. 🙂

      • They are a "no shoes in the house" country (all of Scandonavia is). But when you have the muck of snow and stuff, I guess it makes sense.

  7. My ex husband has a great setup. His front door leads in to a good size entry hall, and he's lined up several shelves kind of like this:
    Honey-Can-Do Bamboo 2-Tier Shoe Shelf

    Right along the wall as you come in. He put an extra rug down to protect the carpeting (it's a rental), and basically it is a wall o' shoes but each shoe is on a shelf and not cluttering up the floor.

    I really want something like that, except we don't use our front door at all. We come in from the garage door which goes right into the dining room/living room dividing line. The way we line up our shoes on the floor is perpendicular to the walls, so I don't know what I could use that would look decent since it would be at a 90 degree angle to the wall and not against it.

    We do need a good solution too since we live in Alaska and especially at this time of year, our shoes are always snowy and dirty and need to not be dropping dirt all over the floor.

  8. I got one of those big ol' beverage tin tubs (like this). It looks pretty enough, and does well to contain my shoe pile. Maybe one per person?

  9. Both me and my husband both have collections of converse. Along with our other sneakers and other shoes, they all are in our front closet – where a metal shoe rack holds the majority of our footwear. While he doesn't have massive feet, the rack is deep enough that larger shoes could fit comfortably on it. Big boots and the most frequently worn pairs of sneakers sit on the floor, since there isn't enough room on the shelf for everything. During the winter, our flip flops and sandals are put into a box, and stored on a shelf at the top of the closet. Winter boots get put in the bedroom closet during summer.
    When we have guests over, their shoes get tucked neatly under a chair we have in the front entryway, and the closet door is closed for the neatness effect.

  10. I have the same problem (I have lots of shoes, he has big feet). I keep my shoes on a shoe rack in our closet with one, maybe two pairs near the door for working in my office. He keeps his shoes on the bottom shelf of a bookshelf we use for storage in our living room. It works out really nicely and we always know where our shoes are.

  11. We use the bottom level of an Ikea Expedit Bookshelf placed near the door to hold shoes right now (though I'd be lying if I didn't admit I still pick them up quite a bit). I like the look and even though the shoes are somewhat exposed, they recede into the background.

    I fantasize about getting a beautiful cedar chest to put near the door as both a shoe-hider and a bench… My parents had one in our home growing up, and I miss it. Plus, cedar naturally deodorizes the things inside it, a serious perk for shoes!

    • We do the same thing with an expedit bookshelf. We use the bottom shelf for shoes on the bookshelf near the door. It's also where we keep our umbrellas too. I might change it up though because shoes have started getting stacked in front of the bottom shelf too…which sort of defeats the purpose. I'm excited to try out some of these suggestions!

  12. We are on the first floor and have a big communal hallway outside our front door. This gave us loads of space to put a Hol cube from ikea outside our front door. We added hinges so that the lid is easier to manage and bingo, place to store shoes and also to sit when we're putting our shoes on. If I am super in love with a pair of shoes they are allowed into the flat for a while until they are half worn to death just in case anything should happen to them but I realised after a while that none of my neighbours is really interested in my shoes.

  13. I am unlucky enough to have giant feet myself (size 15) and due to the hard to find size, I buy anythin that fits in every color and keep it forever. End result: 70 pairs of shoes that are 12" long. I'm drowning in shoes!!! My current solution is a combo of several hanging racks from ikea, a giant bin full of flats and flip flops, and two rows of boots/clunky things on the floor of the closet. It works decently for now I guess, but it's not great.

  14. I was hoping to get some inspiration here (our new house has essentially no entry way, you open the front door and almost immediately have to go up a flight of stairs) but so far nothing will work for us. Since I live in New England, shoes on top of shoes is always a bad idea (salt, rain, slush, snow etc dripping into and onto other shoes sucks), as are putting the soles of shoes on anything wood (for the same reasons).

    I think we may end up trying to classy-up what my grandfather did in his front hall. He screwed a 2 by 4 into the wall, then mounted 3inch long pieces of 1/4 inch dowels facing upwards (at about a 40 degree angle) into the 2 by 4. When you take off your shoes, you can hang them on the pegs (which were over a radiator) so all the water and whatnot would drip onto the floor, and they would be warm when you put them back on. Maybe we'll actually paint ours and mount it in the garage instead.

      • After staring at the garage a bit longer, I think this is gonna be my first project after my thesis is done. Take my grandfather's design and make some improvements…. and then submit to Offbeat Home. Now I just have to figure out the protect the sides of the 2 cars in our barely 2 car garage…

          • That would work for the tips… the hard part is going to be finding a location to mount them and how long the dowels can be without 1. scratching the cars and 2. without having the hanging shoes rub against your clothes as you walk by.

            It will probably just take some measuring and some math to figure it out. But you did just solve my other problem of protecting the insides of the shoes from the dowels. Thanks!

  15. We got three milk crates, turned them on their side (so they were standing tall and thin with the open end facing out), and then placed a thick board across them. Voila, instant bench for putting on shoes that doubles as shoe storage in the milk crates! Extra bonus, even tall boots fit in a milk crate! We can fit two pairs of boots, or like 7-8 pairs of shoes in each crate. It's great!

  16. Since I no longer have a need to keep hundreds of CDS, I re-purposed an old wooden CD rack (the kind that holds 1000 CDs). I painted it to match the other furniture in our living room. The three wood rods are perfect for placing high heels on the upper levels. The husband keeps his larger shoes on the bottom two racks. I am able to tuck it on the back side of a side wall in our entryway and it is pretty invisible to visitors. I also did the same thing in my closet so my dressier heels also have their own place.

    For my business, I picked up a rolling shoe shelf from The Container Store. It isn't pretty but it holds a lot of shoes. I think it works well for garage storage where it isn't visible to visitors. http://www.containerstore.com/shop/closet/shoeStorage/floor?productId=10029931&N=73669

  17. I'm pretty sure I stole this idea off the internet, but I got an empty liquor box with all the dividers from the liquor store. You have to reinforce the dividers with some tape so they don't sag, but it works great for flats, sandals, etc. They have different sized boxes, so maybe a box for handles of liquor would work for bigger shoes.

    If my closet is more organized, fewer pairs of shoes end up by the door!

  18. What clever and resourceful folks you all are! So impressed and you've got me thinking how we can do better at our house.

    We are a family of four living in snow country so we deal with a plethora of different types of snow boots for six months of the year—hiking, snow, school, dress, and don't forget fashion! I have had the most luck with a metal shoe shelf (same as the second example in the story) and a couple of plastic boot trays for wet things. The trays are about the size of a lid from a plastic tub and are sold in all the stores around here in the winter time. If the boots are super-wet I put out the old rag rugs I keep under the bathroom sinks for just this purpose. Shoes and boots still accumulate in our entry but at least they are somewhat orderly and the drips are contained.

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