Keep your favorite accessories right where you can see them.
blue rocking chair beside shoe closet
Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / Getty Images

If you were asked to quantify the number of shoes you've bought over the course of your lifetime, what would it be? It's likely a high number. And if yours are currently disorganized, it can be easy to lose track of what's actually in your collection, which can lead to an unnecessary purchase (not to mention an organizational headache) down the road. We tapped organizing experts for tips on how to get your footwear in order—which starts by identifying the pairs you already have.

Gather and Sort

Before you can properly organize your shoes, you need to take stock of what you have, notes Dara Friedson, owner and chief organizing officer of Orderly Method Professional Organizing. Once you've gathered all of your shoes in one place (including any stray pairs that may be hiding in the trunk of your car or in the mudroom), it's time to go through the collection and figure out which shoes you want to keep in your wardrobe—and which you need to get rid of, says Naeemah Ford Goldson, professional organizer and owner of Restore Order Professional Organizing. "Go through each pair, one by one, to determine whether you should keep, donate, or toss them," says Ford Goldson.

Identify Shoes to Keep

If you're struggling to decide whether a specific pair of shoes deserves a place in your closet, ask yourself a few questions, says Ford Goldson: "When was the last time I've worn these shoes? Do I like these shoes? Are they comfortable? Are these shoes worn out?"

If they're uncomfortable, damaged, don't fit with your current lifestyle or wardrobe, or haven't been worn in a year or more, get rid of them. The point of the sorting process is to make sure that any shoes in your closet are shoes you actually wear—and that any you don't are tossed or donated (and no longer take up space in your closet or life).

Find a Grouping Method

Once you've narrowed down your shoe collection to the pairs you actually want to keep, it's time to actually begin the organizing process—starting with grouping your shoes. "I always recommend sorting by type and then by color," says Friedson. "This allows you to easily and quickly find exactly what you're looking for."

For example, you might start by separating your flats, booties, tall boots, high heels, and sneakers or athletic shoes—then arranging each category by color. The way you organize your colors is up to you, but Ford Goldson recommends "going from light to dark to create an ombre effect. It's pleasing to the eye, and it will be easier to select a shoe to pair with your daily outfits."

Put Your Shoes Away

Once your shoes are sorted by category and color, it's time to put them away. The way you store your shoes is up to you. Depending on how many pairs you have and the amount of space you can allot for storage, you can line them up on shelves in your closet, store them in clear bins on the floor of your closet, or keep them on a free-standing shoe rack.

Organize by Category and Color

However you decide to put your shoes away, they need to stay organized (again, by category and color) and be easily visible. "It is key to be able to see the actual shoe," says Friedson. If you can see your shoes (and they're properly organized), finding the right pair of shoes every day is a breeze. And when you take your shoes off at the end of the day? Make sure to put them back where they belong. "To maintain the organization, always put the shoes back in their place once you take them off," says Ford Goldson.


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