If your shoe closet is overflowing, half of your stash may not see the light of day for at least a year. But you may not be ready to part with your favorite footwear. Instead of donating, selling, or throwing your excess shoes away, consider storing them. Take a look at what you need to know about safe storage and your shoes.
Sort the Shoes
While it's tempting to simply bag or box up your entire closet-bound collection, this tactic could result in damage. When not properly stored, shoes can crease, bend, or develop signs of wear. Beyond potentially causing damage, failure to properly sort your shoes makes it difficult and time-consuming to access specific pairs while they're in storage.
After removing every shoe from its present storage space, sort them into commonly used groups such as the following:
- Seasons. Winter boots, summer sandals, fall flats, and spring sneakers can each go into their own seasonal group.
- Dress style. Sort shoes by casual, formal, business, athletic, semi-dress, or any other style you have.
- Family member. If your shoes stash includes footwear for different family members, sort them according to who owns/wears each item.
- Child/adult. Reduce the number of total groupings in a family shoe storage situation by separating the footwear based on child or adult. Add in a teen category if needed.
Shoe owners with extensive collections may need to break down groupings into more specific categories. This may include sorting shoes by heel height, color, or material.
Clean the Shoes
Never store dirty, damp, or debris-filled shoes. This can cause damage to your shoes and, in the case of damp or wet footwear, may allow mold to grow. Before storing your shoes, do the following:
- Spot clean. Spot clean areas of dirt, road salt, or other types of debris.
- Clean professionally. If you can't remove marks or stains (such as salt stains), consider a professional-level cleaning.
- Dry thoroughly. Leaving recently cleaned shoes damp can result in water marks or mold growth. Always completely dry shoes prior to storing them.
Along with cleaning the visible part of the shoe, wipe the interior thoroughly and remove mud, dirt, and other debris from the soles.
Support the Shoes
Shoes require support during storage. Failure to provide an interior structure can result in misshapen, flat, or damaged footwear. Try these things to support your shoes:
- Use a shoe tree. If you have the space to do so, place shoes on shoe trees (again, sorting them by group type). Cover the trees with clear plastic. This allows you to see in but keeps dirt and dust out.
- Use wooden shoe horns or stretchers. These devices allow you to provide structure for individual shoes. A firm wood material provides sturdy support that is ideal for long-term storage.
- Use acid-free, color-free paper. Stuff boots or tall shoes with thick paper. Crumple the paper into balls, filling the footwear item completely. Never use colorful paper or paper with print on it. Over time, the print can color the interior of the shoe.
Instead of buying pricey, ready-made support options, you can create your own version. Washed and dried towels can also provide structure to shape your shoes while they are in storage.
Cover the Shoes
Covering your footwear is necessary to keep them clean and dust-free. There are several different options for covering shoes in storage:
- Plastic sheets. Clear plastic is an ideal option for shoes that are already in shoe trees.
- Plastic bins. Like clear plastic sheets, clear plastic bins allow you to see which shoes are in storage. Avoid stacking multiple layers of shoes on top of one another. This can crush, flatten, or damage the bottom row.
- Cardboard boxes. Cardboard is an economical alternative that can keep your shoes debris-free. Always seal cardboard boxes completely with packing tape before storing your shoes.
Original shoe boxes are also excellent storage options. For convenience's sake, stack the packed boxes into a larger box or bin.
Do you need to rent a self-storage unit? Contact All American Storage for more information and storage tips.