You need your shoes. If you’re moving, you’re naturally going to take them with you…but before you do that, you’ll need to pack them. You may even need to store them for a while!
To ensure that your kicks stay in pristine condition, it’s important to follow proper protocol for packing shoes. But have no fear; we’re here to help you out. Read on to learn how to pack shoes and store them the right way, and book self storage with our team here at Stor-It today!
1. Lose What You Don’t Wear
We all have several pairs of shoes, but chances are you don’t regularly wear all of them. In fact, many of us probably have a few pairs we never wear. For shoes like this, sometimes the best packing and storage strategy is to just get rid of them.
When it comes to getting rid of shoes, you have a few options. You can throw them away, you can donate them, or you can sell them. If you opt for the trash, make sure your shoes are in sufficiently poor condition to warrant their relegation to the landfill or recycling bin. Major holes, worn or falling-off soles, or other big structural damages are good reasons to throw shoes away — especially if repairing them will be costly. If you want to recycle your shoes instead, check out this guide to learn how to do that properly.
Next up is donation. You may no longer wear your shoes, but someone else might. You can easily donate your shoes to a drop-off and ship service like Soles 4 Souls, or you can take your old shoes to a local charity thrift store in your city. Have a sibling or a new member of your family? There’s always the hand-me-down route.
The final option, selling your shoes, is great for those more expensive pairs that are still in relatively good condition. List your kicks on sites like eBay, craigslist, letgo, or Facebook Marketplace to reach hundreds (if not thousands) of potential buyers worldwide. You can also stay local by taking them to consignment shops or setting up a yard sale and selling them there.
2. Clean Before You Pack
Once you’ve decided which shoes you’re going to pack and store, it’s time to move on to cleaning. Shoes spend a lot of time on the ground, so it’s no secret that they get dirty. While you may be thinking that a dirty shoe is no big deal, the unfortunate fact is that stains, dust, dirt, and other buildup can permanently ruin a shoe’s shape and finish if left to sit for long periods. Keep your shoes in great condition by getting rid of these unwanted offenders before you pack and store.
Shoes come in a wide range of materials, so proper cleaning methods can vary from pair to pair. A good place to start for most shoes is dish soap, warm water, and a gently abrasive cloth or sponge. If you feel uncomfortable cleaning your shoes yourself, we recommend taking them to a service shop in your area to get the full treatment.
Besides brushing, scrubbing, and wiping, it’s a good idea to let your shoes air out and deodorize before packing and storing them. Start by leaving them in a covered outdoor area for a day or two. Fill particularly stubborn shoes with dedicated air fresheners or unused tea bags to eliminate odors that may worsen or persist during storage.
3. Fill Each Shoe With a Pair of Socks
There’s a reason new shoes come filled with paper or cardboard — the material helps them retain their shape. This also keeps them from getting smashed by other goods if they’re stored in close quarters. Replicate this process when packing your shoes by using a pair of socks or similar material to fill the front of your shoes near the toe. For particularly fragile shoes, you may also want to add some material in the heel area.
This will accomplish two feats (no pun intended): It will keep your shoes in great shape, and it will give you a convenient area to store your socks. Both necessary and efficient, this stuffing method is the best way to pack shoes for moving — even if you’re just traveling overnight.
4. Use Clean Wrapping Paper
Paper is a fast and easy way to form a barrier between a shoe and the outside world. You should use it whenever possible when packing and storing your shoes. Just make sure you’re using the right kind. Dirty paper or any paper with dyes (such as newspaper or decorative wrapping paper) can bleed and leave stains on shoes over time. Steer clear of these paper options and use clean packing paper to wrap up your shoes.
5. Tie Your Sneakers Together With Their Laces
For less expensive pairs of shoes, the easiest, most efficient way to pack them up is to put them all in one big box. To ensure that each pair stays together, we recommend tying them together by their laces. If you’re wondering how to pack sneakers, this is an essential step — at least for those pairs that won’t be getting their own dedicated shoebox. When you go to grab your shoes during unpacking, you’ll have both in hand immediately, saving you time and hassle.
6. For Boxes With Multiple Pairs, Stack According to Weight
Make sure you’re not just throwing shoes into boxes or bins at random. There should be a rhyme and reason to your process, and it should revolve around weight. Heavier, tougher pairs of shoes go at the bottom. Lighter, more fragile pairs go at the top. That way, nothing gets crushed. Following this method will also make your box more evenly weighted and easier to carry.
7. Use Plastic Wrap, Not Bags
When packing shoes, paper isn’t always to cut it. Sometimes, an extra layer of cushion is needed. In this case, plastic wrap (ideally bubble wrap) is the best choice. While you may be tempted to use plastic bags, these can rip or tear during and packing storage, rendering them useless. Specialized plastic wrap for packaging is much stronger, which means it will do its job as a barrier in almost any storage condition. Better yet, bubble wrap will provide a necessary layer of cushioning for sharp or fragile shoe components like heels and buckles.
Always make sure your shoes are completely dry before you wrap them. Your wrapping can trap water with your shoes, which will not be good for them long-term.
8. Keep Your Nicer Pairs in Their Own Boxes
In the packing and storing process, sometimes a shoe’s biggest enemy is other shoes. We’ve already covered using paper wrap and bubble wrap as strategies for keeping shoes partitioned in storage — but there are certain cases where more extreme measures are needed. While it may sacrifice space, the best way to keep your most prized pairs in pristine condition during packing and storage is to put them in their own boxes. Of course, shoeboxes are best for this method. If you’re going to be stacking them or placing them among other objects, it’s important to also cushion their interiors and wrap your shoes.
9. Sort, Pack, and Store By Season
If you have enough pairs of shoes to give each season its own box, go for it. This simple method is the best way to pack shoes because it saves time and energy. When you go to look for a pair, you won’t have to dig through several boxes. Plus, you’ll have other relevant pairs in front of you, too.
10. Invest in Self Storage
For small spaces (and big shoe collections), off-site storage is sometimes the most logical solution. Storage units give shoes their own dedicated space where they won’t be smashed or soiled. There are even climate-controlled storage units for ultra-nice pairs of shoes. Of course, storage units will also free up space in your home, giving you room for plenty of other things that don’t belong on your feet.
11. Label Your Boxes and Unpack Them Carefully
Last on our list of packing and storage tips for shoes is a two-parter: Label your boxes and unpack them carefully. If you’re packing season by season, list the season on the exterior of your box so you know what you’re opening. You can also label your boxes by shoe type, such as “boots,” “sneakers,” or “sandals” to simplify searching. Finally, when you open your boxes, be very gentle and avoid using sharp objects whenever possible to avoid accidentally cutting your shoes.
Learn More and Store Your Shoes Here at Stor-It
Need more tips on packing shoes for moving and storing them properly? Ready to invest in storage for your shoes? Our team at Stor-It has you covered. Visit our Locations page to learn more about our 16 industry-leading storage facilities in Southern Idaho, and contact us for in-person assistance today!