Garage Shoe Storage

"With the right tools and a little motivation,
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Buying or building a practical garage shoe storage system is one of the easiest and most beneficial steps you can take when organizing your garage. If you only have one pair of shoes, this article is not for you. For everyone else (and that's most of us), following are some tips, techniques and product recommendations to help.

Why do you need a garage shoe storage solution?

Garage Shoe Storage

For many people, it comes down to space. If you don't have room in your clothes closet, the shoes tend to pile up (see picture). Does that look like your closet?

Even though the pile isn't literally a pile, it is a big distraction. Dress shoes, running shoes, sandals, hiking boots, etc., just take up too much space.

If you have winter boots, work boots, ski boots, sports shoes, etc., they really don't need to be stored inside. On the other hand, you may want to keep dress shoes, running shoes and similar in your closet unless you don't wear shoes in the house.

Where do you want to put your shoe storage area?

For most people, putting shoe storage shelves, bins or the like just outside the door from your house to the garage is ideal. If you have a closet just inside the door from your garage to the house, that's another option.

Mud room? If you have one (utility room or similar space just in from the garage, usually sporting a vinyl or tile floor), this is another excellent place for shoe storage. For this article we will stick to the garage.

What kind of shoes do you want to store?

Generally, you will want your primary garage shoe storage area to hold the shoes you wear most often. This may include running shoes, slippers, work shoes, gardening shoes, etc.

If you have snow boots, ski boots or other seasonal or specialty footwear, it's better to store them in their own designated area. This is a practical garage organization technique that really works. For example, if you are a skier, put your ski equipment in the "sports zone" or "winter sports zone" in your garage. That way, your skis, poles and boots will always be together. For snow boarders, ignore the poles comment.

Golf shoes can also fit in the specialty category. Store them with your clubs if you have a special garage storage cabinet for doing so. If not, you can keep them in your main garage shoe storage area as long as you have enough room.

Boot Tray
Boot and storage tray

Will your shoes be wet when you take them off?

If you live in a rainy or snowy area, you may want to add a water catchment tray to your shoe storage area. What's that? It's just a plastic or rubber tray that catches water and other debris from the bottoms of your shoes rather than letting it collect on the floor. Here is an example: (picture)

For the hard core, you could also include a boot dryer to quickly dry snow boots, work boots, or even soccer shoes after a wet day at the field.

How many pairs of shoes do you need to store?

Unless you are an Imelda Marcos fan (if you don't recognize that name, see below for an astonishing fact), you will probably have a dozen or so pairs of shoes, boots, etc., that need to be stored in the garage just outside the door from your house.

That doesn't mean you ONLY have 12 pairs of shoes. It means you have about 12 pairs that are worn regularly. For shoes or other footwear that are seldom worn, there are other garage storage solutions. Just treat the extras like seasonal storage, e.g., store it in plastic totes or bins and place those bins on garage shelves or in your overhead garage storage areas.

If you have 7 kids like my brother, you may need a bit more space. The same principles apply. You just need a larger garage shoe storage system.

Will your garage shoe storage area include other clothing?

In other words, will you want to hang coats, rain gear or other regular worn apparel in the same area. If no, you can just focus on shoe storage. If yes, you will want to consider options that include clothing hooks or you might just install hooks above your main shoe storage area.

Cheap or Free Garage Shoe Storage Solutions

If you have lots of cash and a big imagination, the possibilities are nearly endless. More often than not, an affordable shoe storage system is preferred. Here are two of the best garage shoe storage solutions I have found:

Garage Shoe Storage Rack
Seville Classics Resin-Wood Composite Shoe Storage Rack

Seville Classics Resin-Wood Composite Shoe Storage Rack

At about $30, this shoe storage rack will be a nice addition to your garage and it won't break the bank. The unit is made of a tough composite material and, according to very positive consumer feedback on Amazon.com, it is very attractive

Another neat feature is that you can stack two units for more garage shoe storage capacity, or you can put two side-by-side.

Unlike some shoe storage units, this one does not require any assembly. Plus, if you decide you don't need it for a while (not likely), it can be folded flat and stored.

Bamboo Garage Shoe Storage Rack
Honey-Can-Do Bamboo 2-Tier Shoe Shelf

Honey-Can-Do Bamboo 2 Shelf Shoe Storage Rack

At under $25, this bamboo shoe storage rack is another quick, affordable tool to help corral your shoes.

If you don't know, bamboo is wood that grows fast and is resistant to moisture. Consequently, you will be using a sustainable wood product and benefiting from the practicality of a long-lasting product, even if you ocassionally put damp shoes on the rack.

This shoe rack is available with 2 or 3 shelves (2 shelve model shown) and it does require some assembly. With a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.com, consumers do like this product. Common feedback includes easy assembly, the cleanability and sustainability of bamboo and attractive looks.

What can you do for free or almost free?

Here are two of my favorites. First, you could remember back to your college days when you had absolutely no money and you used cinder blocks and plywood to make shelves. If you don't own the cinder blocks or plywood, someone you know probably does and would be happy to have you haul them away.

Second, you or someone you know may have an old bookshelf they are not using. Or, you may find one for $5 at a garage sale. Bookshelves are great for books, but they work well for shoes, too. If you want to dress it up a bit, paint it with some extra paint you may already own, sand it and stain it or just leave it as-is.

Garage Shoe Storage
Photo by Editor B. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

Too Many Shoes?

If your closet looks like the photo to your right, you may have a shoe problem (unless you are related to Imelda Marcos). To solve your problem, you can either get rid of some shoes, build a killer shoe organizer in your closet, move everything to your new garage shoe storage location, or some combination of all three (which I would recommend).

By the way, if you have never heard of Imelda Marcos, she is the widow of President Ferdinand Marcos, former President of the Philippines. Among other things, Imelda Marcos was famous for her immense collection of nearly 3,000 pairs of shoes. I'm afraid she would need an entire garage to store her shoes!

Final Garage Shoe Storage Thoughts

When designing your garage shoe storage area, try to include a place to sit down. That could include the steps from your house to the garage, a folding chair, or a bench with shelves below. The shelves hold the shoes and the bench holds your bum when you put them on. It is much easier to put your shoes on when you have a place to sit down.

If you have the room, install hooks or hangers for coats and other often worn apparel above or near the shoe storage area. If you wear the same shoes and same coat nearly every day, hang your coat on the hook above and store your shoes on the shelves below. Walking out the door to work just got easier.

Finally, garage shoe storage systems don't have to be expensive. There are many cheap or free options that will do the trick. From cinder block shelves and repurposed bookshelves to inexpensive by high quality shoe racks, you can make this happen on a shoestring budget (pun intended). Happy hunting!


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