Efficient ways to organize and move a large shoe collection

When you start to downsize your house, some tasks are more daunting than others. If you have a large shoe collection, this is especially true. The first of many challenges is to choose which shoes to keep or discard. Next, how do you transport them during the move without squashing or damaging them? Finally, how do you efficiently store your shoe collection in your now reduced storage area? After thousands of relocations, Interiors for Seniors has some tips and tricks to help you.





You’ve decided to tackle the job of sorting through your shoe collection. After years of collecting the many styles and colors, this can be an emotional task. As a shoe lover, I have many memories tied to my various pairs of shoes. Perhaps it was a special shoe for a much anticipated vacation. Maybe this was a pair of shoes I wore to my sister’s wedding, or a funeral. Most important, this may be my most comfortable pair of shoes and I can never find another pair just like it. However, you can’t move all 279 pairs of shoes with you! The huge storage area that normally houses your shoe collection is going to diminish into a 2’x4’ space. Begin by making piles of like style shoes. All sneakers in a pile, dress shoes in another pile etc. Put aside worn out and/or damaged shoes which can be of no further use and make sure you get rid of them prior to the move. Be brutally honest with yourself and eliminate any shoes that are uncomfortable. The pair that is so pretty but always gives you blisters...donate. The sneakers that cost way too much money but always pinches your big toe, GONE! Shoes that are almost duplicates, i.e. two pairs of teal flats, pick your favorite and recycle the other pair. It is helpful to enlist the assistance of a good friend or relative to help with this procedure. An impartial set of eyes can point out the pros and cons of your shoe assortment.


You’ve accomplished your goal of sorting and downsizing your lifetime accumulation of shoes. Now, how do you pack and transport them?

  • Begin a few weeks before the move in time allows. Sort through any specialty shoes or those that are seldom worn. Any shoe wear such as formal shoes, dancing shoes, hiking shoes, beach shoes can be organized and boxed. Be sure to clearly label the boxes with a permanent marker on all four sides and the top.

  • Set aside the shoes you will need for the day of the move. Comfortable shoes with a non-skid bottom will help you during a long moving day.

  • Set aside any footwear you will use during the first couple of days in your new home –shoes to wear when running chores around town, a comfy pair of shoes to put on when unpacking your items and arranging your new home, shower shoes, slippers, etc.

Next, pack your shoes in an efficient manner:

  • Pack shoes in boxes, hopefully you have the original shoeboxes they came in. You should wrap shoes in packing or tissue paper and put them in the original shoeboxes for best protection. If you don’t have the original shoeboxes, you can purchase clear plastic boxes from places such as Dollar Tree or Walmart. Sometimes, you can go to a shoe store and ask for shoeboxes they are no longer using After you have your shoes in separate boxes, you can pack them inside of a medium-sized moving box. Just make sure you double-tape the bottom of the larger box to reinforce it and be careful not to make it too heavy. If you choose to pack your shoes in plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes, make sure both the footwear and the containers are completely free of moist before packing the shoes.

  • DO NOT pack your shoes in plastic bags! Plastic bags are inadequate protection for your shoes and can tear very easily. The shoes could get crumpled beneath heavier items during the move. Bags have no s firm support to avoid shocks and impacts. Also, plastic bags trap damaging moisture which can allow mold growth and deformation. If the moving and storage temperatures are very high, the plastic could melt and stick to your shoes, ruining their surfaces;

  • A good tip is to put tea bags inside your shoes when you pack them. Another alternative is to spray the insides with anti-bacterial spray or a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water the night before you pack…. and let them dry well to remove any bad odors and keep your footwear fresh during the move.

How do you efficiently store your shoe collection in your now reduced storage area? You get clever! There are some great and inexpensive storage options on the market today. Many can be ordered over the Internet so you don’t even have to leave your home.


If you order from one of the large chain box stores such as Home Depot, one can even arrange to have it delivered and assembled. Many times, the retirement community you may be relocating to can have one of their maintenance people come in and install separate shelving in your closet area. Communicating with Missy Donaghy, the Senior Move Specialist on staff at Interiors for Seniors, can bring many helpful suggestions. She can guide you towards places to purchase storage items and suggest new storage possibilities!

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