You might not consider yourself a collector of anything…until you take a peek at your shoes. If you’re like us, you’ve likely managed to accumulate quite the shoe collection over the years, from sandals and dress shoes to work boots and sneakers. And maybe you even forgot you even had a few of them, like those flip-flops you got on vacation or the high heels you only ever wore once.
Whether you’re packing up for a big move or just looking to get organized, it’s time to figure out how to store your shoes long-term. But that can feel like an uphill battle if you don’t know where to begin. That’s why we’re here with advice on the best ways to store your shoes.
Check out our guide below to find the perfect place for all your shoes. When you follow these six simple steps, storing your footwear will be a breeze!
Step 1: Assess What You Have
Our first tip in our guide on how to store shoes involves taking inventory of what you have and getting rid of what you no longer need. Those 10-year-old sneakers that served as chew toys for your puppy? Those can probably go in the trash. And those practically new hunting boots you wore five hunting seasons ago? Perhaps you can donate them to Goodwill for someone else to enjoy.
There’s no point storing shoes you have no intention of ever wearing again. Toss them or donate them, but don’t waste valuable storage space with shoes you don’t need or no longer wear. Once you do so, you might just wind up with a much more manageable collection of shoes—and maybe even find a few you plan on wearing again.
Step 2: Clean Your Shoes
Now that you’ve narrowed down your shoe collection to those you want to keep, it’s time to clean! You don’t want to put away wet, dirty, dusty, or muddy shoes in storage because that can lead to bigger problems, such as mold and mildew growth or deterioration.
Wipe any dirt, sand, and mud off your shoes and try to rid them of any stains. On stubborn areas, you can use some gentle dish soap, warm water, and a toothbrush to gently scrub them. Depending on the type of shoe, you might even be able to pop it in the washing machine for a deep clean (but check the washing instruction label first). If you have leather shoes, consider giving them a good polish. This can help prevent them from cracking or getting brittle while in storage.
Whatever you do, make sure your shoes are fully dried before storing them.
Step 3: Prepare Your Footwear for Storage
Next, you’re going to want to prep your shoes. To help prevent mildew and mold from growing on them, we suggest placing silica packages or acid-free tissues inside them to absorb dampness.
If you plan on storing any of the following kinds of footwear, check out these helpful tips and tricks:
- Sneakers: The best way to store sneakers is to deodorize them and then remove the laces.
- Boots: To keep them from losing their shape, creasing, and flopping over, place plastic bottles, boot molds, or acid-free cardboard inside.
- Dress shoes: Condition and polish them and put wooden shoe horns inside to help maintain their shape. If you don’t have shoe horns, consider stuffing them with acid-free cardboard.
Step 4: Sort Your Shoes
Your shoes are looking good, so now it’s time to sort them into groups. How you categorize them is up to you. Maybe you’ll sort the shoes you wear most often together, or perhaps you’ll categorize them by season. You could put all your dress shoes in one pile and your leisure shoes in another. Doing this will help you organize your collection when you go to store them and make it easier to find a specific pair in the future.
Step 5: Choose a Storage Location
Now, it’s time to decide where you’re going to store your shoes long-term. If you’re just looking to organize your space, you might decide to make room in your closet, under your bed, or in your spare bedroom. But if you’d prefer to have your shoes out of your home, you might decide to go the storage unit route.
Storage units come in many sizes to accommodate all your storage needs. If you’re just storing shoes, look into a 5×5 option, which is roughly the size of a closet. That said, you’ll find tons of larger units if you’d like to store other items with your shoe collection.
Next, determine if you want a non-climate-controlled unit or one with climate control. Climate-controlled units can maintain a specific temperature and humidity range at all times. This means outside temperatures and inclement weather should have no effect on the belongings (like your shoes!) you’re keeping in it.
When making this decision, it really comes down to personal preference and what you’re storing. If you’re just storing your spare gym shoes and flip-flops, you might not need climate control, but if you’re putting your vintage cowboy boots and antique loafers in your unit, climate control may be the better choice. When in doubt, speak to your local storage facility manager for advice.
Step 6: Pick a Storage Container
Where you decide to store your shoes may determine the kinds of containers to keep footwear that you use. For instance, if you’re using a storage unit, you’ll likely want to keep your shoes in a container of sorts. However, if you’re storing them in your home, a shoe rack will work just fine.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
Original Shoebox Containers
If you have the original shoeboxes your footwear came in, consider keeping your shoes in them. One perk of this avenue is that the box clearly labels what’s inside, so you don’t have to guess. When using the original shoebox, we recommend placing a rubber band around the box, so you don’t lose the lid when transporting or storing it.
You can store these original boxes in all sorts of places, including under your bed, in the corner of your closet, or on a shelf.
Plastic bins are easily one of the best ways to store shoes. For one, you can seal them to keep out any dust, dirt, and water. They tend to be clear, so you can see exactly what’s inside—a big part of staying organized. They’re also easily transportable and stackable.
Depending on the size of your plastic bins, you may dedicate one bin to each pair of shoes. But if the bin is big enough, you might be able to store your shoes in their original shoeboxes inside.
Wondering how to store shoes long-term in your home? Consider picking up a shoe rack. These are great not only for organizing your shoes but also for keeping them out of sight—and out of mind. You can find all kinds of shoe racks. Some hang on the back of your door, while others can hang from a hanger in your closet. They’re inexpensive and offer a convenient way of storing your footwear inside.
How Long Do Shoes Last in Storage?
Now that you’ve sorted out a suitable storage solution for your shoes, you’re probably wondering, how long do shoes last in storage? Well, it depends.
A lot goes into the shelf life of your shoes, such as the condition they were in when you stored them and how you cared for them. For example, if you toss dirty, damp gym shoes into your storage unit, they won’t fare as well had you properly washed, deodorized, and dried them in advance. The shoe’s age and material may also play a role in how long it’ll last.
That said, the more care you take in preparing your shoes for storage, the longer they’ll likely last.
Learn More About Storing With Stor-It
Here at Stor-It, we offer short- and long-term storage solutions. Whether you’re looking to store some shoes and clothing or you’re searching for a place to keep your belongings during a big move, we’re here to help.
We’re the oldest and largest storage company in the great state of Idaho, so we know all the ins and outs of storage. Have questions about storage or want to reserve a unit with us? Contact us today to find out more!