After 3 Moves (and 5 Years!), I Still Rely on This Space-Saving Ottoman to Store My Shoes

published Mar 17, 2023
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Credit: Mary Cornetta

Several years ago, I was living in an apartment that I lovingly (and sarcastically) nicknamed “the shoebox” because of how tiny and cramped it was. With minimal square footage and closet space, I had to get creative with storage. I had a standing mirror in my bedroom that opened up to reveal a jewelry armoire, used the chaise end of my couch (which lifted) to store extra rolls of paper towels, and put a microwave cart in the kitchen that also housed my to-go cups and Tupperware on its lower shelves. Basically, I was at a point where I didn’t buy any furniture unless it served a dual purpose.

So when standing over the pile of my (admittedly) oversized shoe collection, I was slightly sweating. I didn’t know how or where I would store them all. There was no entryway to place a shoe rack in, and my closet doors were sliding, so a hanging organizer was out of the question. I was able to line my high heels along the very top shelf of the closet, which worked fine, as I didn’t have to reach for them often. (I had recently begun my professional organizing business and traded pumps for sneakers daily anyway.)

In coming up with a plan to save both my shoes and my sanity, I came across this ottoman on Amazon. Designed with 12 inner compartments, it’s meant to hold between six and 12 pairs, depending on their type and size. I have relatively small feet and, because I used it for mostly flat shoes, at one point I was able to comfortably fit a whopping 18 pairs in it. This saved a considerable amount of space, as you can imagine, but then I ran against the issue of where to store the ottoman itself.

It stands a little over 16 inches high and has a diameter of 22 inches, so it’s not overly cumbersome. Still, I had only one spot that made sense: the area between my couch and the TV. It served as a mini coffee table while I was living in my small apartment. A tray holding remotes and coasters could easily be moved each morning when I went to grab my sneakers or flip-flops for the day. Now, I know what you might be thinking: Shoes that are close to your nose while you’re trying to relax and watch your favorite TV show might be kind of, well, stinky.

Credit: Mary Cornetta

But believe it or not, the lid prevented any smells from escaping. Of course, I would highly recommend airing the ottoman from time to time. About once a week, I would let it sit sans lid on my balcony for a few hours to breathe. Every other month or so, I would also remove all of the shoes and knock out any dirt and dust.

Credit: Mary Cornetta

Five years and three moves later, this ottoman is still as useful as the day I brought it home. These days, I’m fortunate enough to have a larger apartment with a walk-in closet. Still, the ottoman hasn’t left my side. It holds all of my flip-flops and slides, with room to spare, and sits tucked in a corner of the closet, providing seating if I need it. There are plenty of smart solutions to store shoes, but this is one I’ve found that has saved the most amount of space while also letting me keep my many favorite pairs of shoes.