15 Ways to Use an Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer in Every Room of the House

published May 12, 2024
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Interior of closet with shoe racks, multiple hanging racks, and shelves
Credit: Anna Spaller

Don’t let the name fool you: Over-the-door shoe organizers can help you organize your entire home while taking advantage of untapped real estate. As someone who’s lived and worked (as a pro organizer, no less) in my fair share of small spaces, I’ve learned to lean on vertical storage when square footage is tight. The backs of doors are a no-brainer because they’re a blank canvas, and you can close them to hide visual clutter.

Hanging pocket organizers are an easy and inexpensive way to increase storage space in any room of the house! In addition to filling the individual slots with sneakers and flip-flops, here are 15 more ways I recommend putting them to work.

1. Seasonal Gear

If you have a coat closet, hang an over-the-door shoe organizer inside and stuff your gear into the pockets. In the winter, store beanies, gloves, hand warmers, and anything else you need to brave the cold. When summer rolls around, swap those items out for sunglasses, bottles of sunscreen, and more so you can grab them when heading out the door.

2. Outfit Accessories

Regain some space in your closet by hanging an organizer on the back of its door (or use your bedroom door if your closet has bi-fold or slide doors, or none at all). Small accessories such as belts, scarves, and clutches can live here rather than get lost amongst your clothes.

3. Small Pantry Items

A shoe organizer inside the pantry door can better organize items like seasoning packets or individually wrapped snacks in the slots. Plus, it’ll allow for better visibility on things that you might forget about. 

4. First Aid or Extra Toiletries

Need room for those extra bottles of shampoo or razor packs you bought while they were on sale? Tack on one of these organizers to the inside of the linen closet door to store them rather than stuffing them alongside towels and sheets. They’re also helpful for making first aid supplies accessible in an emergency, but I would be cautious if you have little ones in the home.

5. Beauty Products

Whether inside the linen closet, bathroom, or bedroom door (wherever is more convenient when you’re getting ready), hang an organizer to arrange your stash of skincare products, makeup, hair-care products, DIY mani-pedi tools, and more. Because some of these products may leak, I highly recommend using a clear shoe organizer instead of a fabric one. It might not look as pretty, but they’re much easier to clean.

6. School Supplies

Rather than waste time looking for extras or money buying more, corral your kids’ extra erasers, markers, and glue sticks and organize them into a shoe holder. I suggest using a door out of the way, but still accessible when you or they need to replenish their pencil case.

7. Office Supplies

Working from home has its benefits, but it also means you must set aside some space for the necessary supplies. Just like with the kiddos’ stuff, use an over-the-door organizer to hold backup packs of pens, highlighters, paperclips, and anything else you don’t want cluttering up your desk.

8. Craft Supplies

Perhaps you (or the kids!) craft as a hobby and continually struggle to keep things like acrylic paint bottles, rolls of yarn, and scissors neat and in one place. You know the drill by now: A shoe organizer can help regain some order, so hang one inside the closest door of the room where you tend to craft. As with beauty products, I advise against using one made of fabric (including mesh) in case there’s a spill. 

9. Gift Wrapping

Even if you’re not a crafty person (hey, I can relate), you might have a collection of ribbons, bows, gift bags, tissue paper, and wrapping paper. And, from the many conversations I’ve had with clients, no one really knows the best place to store it all. Try using one of these organizers on an out-of-the-way door to keep them neat. For gift wrap items that are too large or long to fit in the small slots — like wrapping paper and bigger bags — cut along the bottoms or sides of some pockets so they can slide in and stay put.

10. Gardening Tools

Those who are good at keeping plants alive know it’s a hobby that involves a lot more than plants. Moisture meters, gardening gloves, hand tools, and seed packets can be stored in a shoe organizer placed inside a centrally located door to your greenery.

11. Tiny Toys and Games

Barbie dolls, action figures, LEGOs, packs of cards, and anything else small enough (or that you’re tired of tripping over) can get tucked into the compartments of an over-the-door organizer in the playroom or the kids’ bedrooms. Because they’re tall and kids are usually not, organize it so that the things they play with the most are within their reach.

12. Electronics

Rather than dealing with cords, chargers, headphones, remotes, or other small devices lying all over the house, make a shoe organizer their central location. As long as everyone knows this is where things are found and returned to, it will prevent (potentially valuable) items from disappearing (and contributing to clutter).

13. Pet Supplies

If you have a door near where you take the pup out, make the inside pet-central. Pop rolls of waste bags, tennis balls, leashes, or their little coats into the pockets so they’re easy to grab on your way out to a walk or the park.

14. Cleaning Products

One of the categories of things that is hardest to keep organized in a small space is cleaning supplies. Cabinets under the sink are too small to hold all of them (nor should they all be stored here), laundry rooms are usually reduced to a closet (if you have one at all), and anywhere else there might be room for them seems inconvenient. If you can relate, try using one of these organizers on the back of a convenient door to contain product bottles, microfiber cloths, and dusters. Be mindful of this method if you have small children or pets so they remain safe. And I recommend using one made of PVC for easy cleanup.

15. Household Utility Items

No junk drawer? No problem! Place the items you need access to from time to time in an over-the-door organizer. Everything from a multi-purpose tool and Command hooks to stamps and a lint roller will fit in the pockets and save you space in the kitchen.