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Genius ways to store your shoes

Summer shoes. PICTURE: Cotton On

Summer shoes. PICTURE: Cotton On

Published Nov 28, 2016


"Honey, when can I put my new heels?"

The average person owns several pairs of shoes - some people in our consumerist society own dozens. So finding a place in the home to store all that footwear is essential.

Leaving them standing around is not the solution.

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"That just looks untidy - especially if the shoes are dirty," says Claudia Schulz from the footwear industry association DSI. Not to mention their stale sweaty-foot smell.

One practical solution is to get a shoe cabinet - even if it's not the most attractive item of furniture for an entrance area.

"A shoe cabinet was, and will always be an entirely utilitarian item of furniture," says Ursula Geismann, a trend analyst at the VDM furniture industry association.

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Meaning: no one wants a huge one, but everyone wants to fit a huge number of shoes in it. At least shoe cabinets offer a choice of different materials including wood, metal and plastic. A more practical aspect is to choose one that is robust and well aired.

"Its doors shouldn't be so tightly closed as with a fridge," says Geismann. Ventilation holes on the side will help air circulate inside. If the cupboard is made from wood, this should be untreated, aside from wood-oil, according to Geismann.

To reduce the build-up of odour, don't put a pair of shoes directly in the cupboard after removing them from feet.

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"Leaving them in the open air for 24 hours is generally a good idea," says Schulz. Placing an air-freshener, a lemon or a jar of coffee beans inside the cupboard will also help.

Another good reason to have a shoe cabinet is that it will protect your shoes from ultraviolet light and dust. But they also have one big drawback: the size of the bins will define how large the footwear is they can store.

"The bins are usually big enough for women's shoes, but not for men's," says Schulz.

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If your shoes are larger than average, you may have to store them sideways, or else resort to an open shelf-style rack. By lining up the shoes with their toes forward you will avoid smudges on the wall and this makes for a more tidy appearance.

No matter whether you choose an open or closed system, organizing the available room in it is essential. Carelessly thrown in, or stacked footwear, is not what shoe cabinets are for. The shoes will end up out of shape and you will end up forgetting you own the shoes that sink out of sight.

Lifestyle coach Rita Schilke recommends regularly culling old shoes or shoes that have fallen out of favour. She also advises only keeping the shoes in your hallway that are used on a daily basis.

Occasionally worn shoes need their own special place such as a separate shelf in a wardrobe.

"They should definitely be sorted according to the occasion they will be worn for," advises Schilke. Sorting according to the season is also a good idea. Depending on the season you might want to shift boots or sandals away to whatever storage area your home has.

"That way you will have only the right footwear to hand when you need it."

For long-term storage, footwear should be kept not in boxes or plastic bags but in air permeable cloth sacks. Always clean and polish shoes before placing them in storage for a longer period of time or you may find afterwards they have grown mould.


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