Over the years, I've tried every possible shoe storage solution. This is not an exaggeration — just about every possible solution that is available, I have purchased, tried, and discarded. Regular shoe racks require a good amount of closet space. But even when I have had the closet space to store, I found that my shoes often lived in cluttered piles since I'd be less likely to bend over and put them back on the rack. More often than not, however, I've lived in places with tiny enough closets that shoe storage required a bit more creative thinking.
I tried bins and under-bed storage, but that turned into another black hole. Typical over-door storage you see all over the place during back-to-college shopping (you know, the ones with the plastic pockets) only fit flats, meaning I was still left to hunt for solutions for the rest of my shoes. I had begun to wonder if I was just doomed to never have organized shoes.
It wasn't until I moved into a closet-less apartment five years ago, though, that I finally landed on what worked for me and my footwear storing needs. After going back to the drawing board for what to do with all those shoes, I finally tried a product I had overlooked all these years: an over-the-door option that mimics the set-up of a traditional shoe rack.
While it's certainly a bit bulky, it solved nearly every problem other shoe racks had failed to fix. It kept shoes right at eye level, meaning I wasn't having to bend over to store or retrieve a favorite pair. (I keep my everyday shoes at eye level, and store heels and out-of-season shoes high and low.)
Unlike other over-the-door options I've tried, this also solves the problem of accommodating different types of footwear. Heels, chunky sandals, gym shoes, and even booties can all be stored in one place. The only shoes I can't fit on it are my snow boots, which continue to live under my bed.
I also recently discovered another great use for the shoe rack: it's a low-key way for me to keep myself Marie Kondoed. While the design claims it can hold 36 shoes, I find it easier to store no more than two pairs per row. I have started grouping shoes by type — oxfords, sandals, gym shoes. Not only is this a good visual clue to use when putting up a pair that was just worn in the same place, it also has kept me constantly editing my closet by restricting myself to two types of shoes in any given category.
In other words, one simple shoe rack took me from chaos to consistently organized, without even trying to. It almost makes not having a closet worth it. (Almost)