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Shoe Storage Ideas for Small Closets: Custom Solutions to Make Your Life Easier

3 minute read, by Closet America, on Oct 9, 2017

Even in a reach-in closet, shoe shelves and other custom design solutions can help you make the most of your space.

Shoes are entirely essential in every closet. Trying to capitalize on this, off-the-shelf organization companies are ready to sell you any number of contraptions to add to your closet that claim to wrangle your footwear. It only makes sense that whether you have a massive walk-in boutique-style closet or you’re stuck with a too-small reach-in, shoe storage would be at the top of your priority list.

Rather than depending on shoe boxes, racks, or carousels that can waste valuable space in a small closet, give custom shoe closet design a try. Even in a reach-in closet, a custom arrangement of shelves, hanging rods, drawers, and—yes—shoe shelves will help maximize the space you do have. Read on for our designers’ top five tips and shoe storage closet ideas within your small custom closet.

custom walk in closet shelves

Shoe Storage Tips for Small Closets

Tip #1: Ditch the over-the-door gadgets.

The main goal of a small closet design is to maximize the amount of space you have to store things in, as well as the amount of walking or moving space you have to work with. Over-the-door hangers, hooks, or shoe holders may seem helpful, but actually end up adding to the feeling of cramped clutter.

Tip #2: Use custom, adjustable shoe shelves.

With custom designed, adjustable shelving, you’ll be able to fully maximize the storage space even in your small closet. You can easily customize each shelf’s height to perfectly store flats, heels, boots, and everything inbetween. Plus, they’re incredibly chic.

Tip #3: Save your wall space for shoes.

If you’re used to the standard reach-in closet with one hanging rod at eye level, this idea will blow your mind. Most garments don’t reach even close to floor length, so it makes more sense to place a hanging rod lower on the wall (perhaps at 3.5 feet high) to leave space for shoe storage above.

Tip #4: Lose the shoe boxes.

Whether you’re stacking the original cardboard boxes on top of that one standard shelf you’ve got, or you’ve graduated to clear acrylic shoe boxes stacked on the floor, it’s time to migrate all of those boxes out of the closet. Not only do they make the daily shoe search more difficult, they waste valuable space.

Tip #5: Optimize your storage priorities.

While a custom layout and adjustable shoe shelves for closets will go a long way toward transforming your space, you may also need to reevaluate which items you’re storing where. If shoe storage is your priority, consider folding knitted clothes to store on shelves or in a chest of drawers instead of hanging in the closet. The more space you can free up, the more shoes you can store!

custom shoe shelves

Securing Your Custom Shoe Storage

While beautifully displaying your shoe collection may be a top priority, the main problem of small closets is the difficulty we face in making such a small space work at all. Reach-in closets are definitely workable, but they do require a bit of creative planning and the help of custom design elements. As a designer, some of my favorite transformations have been the smallest closets—simply because it’s a surprise to everyone involved how much you can actually fit inside once the design is finished. Don’t lose heart! With the right layout, the eye of a designer, and some creative reshuffling, you’ll be able to store your entire shoe collection beautifully even in a small closet.

Want to learn more about how custom shoe organizers for small closets can make a difference in your daily life? Schedule a free design consultation with one of Closet America’s design experts! We’ll meet you at your home in the Washington DC- Baltimore metro area and discuss exactly how custom design elements can transform your existing storage spaces. From shoe storage in small closets to a complete walk-in renovation, no project is too big (or too small) for us!


Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

Let’s Start Your Project

Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.