hanging shoes on the wall

bedroom closet with wall-mounted shoe rack, left side

I've been unhappy with my shoe storage for years. In former apartments, my shoes sat upright on boxes and bamboo mats on the closet floor beneath my clothes, though in my most recent downtown apartment I also had a rotating shoe rack in the entryway for dressier shoes (though tennis shoes and boots were still hidden away on the bedroom closet floor). The rotating rack was an improvement in organization but didn't fit in my narrow closet, and I also didn't like staring at the bottoms of scuffed, dirty shoes.

In this latest duplex apartment, the galvanized IKEA shelving unit thrifted from Goodwill a couple years ago (that I'd used for bathroom storage in my walk-in closet downtown) had morphed into a shoe shelf standing in my bedroom closet.* It worked but took up most of the space on that side of the closet, crowding my clothes on the other side. Plus, the unit's shelves are spaced wide apart, leaving big gaps of air between layers of shoes—all meaning there was too much wasted space in my one precious closet. And even though I've culled possessions and sold off most of my furniture, including, most recently, my dresser (gasp!—more on that later), one still needs clothes and shoes and a hiding place to stash a suitcase and the cat carrier.

bedroom closet, left side

But last week I scored a brand-new-in-box, wall-mounted, 18-pair shoe rack at DI—still the cheapest thrift store in town—for just three dollars: a gleeful find. To give credit where due, my housemate actually spotted the wire rack for me while we were shopping together. (He grabs things for me to consider, and I do the same for him.) He'd thrifted and installed for himself in his master-bedroom closet a similar rack a few months ago, one I'd envied, so he knew a good organizer when he saw it. I thanked him profusely.

Then on Saturday he drilled the wire rack into the studs on the left side wall of my closet (shameful secret: I still haven't learned how to use a drill), freeing up space. The rack could also have hung over a door, but my closet is too narrow for that and my bedroom door has already been claimed by an over-the-door rack holding clothes that have been worn but aren't quite ready for washing. The only shoes that don't fit on the new rack are my boots, but I only have a couple pairs of those at this point, and they tuck under the rack quite nicely. My hanging clothes can now breathe. Ahhh.

bedroom closet, right side

Don't want a wire wall rack? Here is a list of even more creative ways to store shoes. I especially like the idea of shoes on old ladders (found or built) or in antique glass display cabinets—though not all of us have that kind of space or that many beautiful pairs of heels.

How do you store your shoes? Are you happy with your shoe-storage system?

*Yes, I do hate the cheapo doors and carpet in this place, but it's a rental and just temporary.

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