16 March 2010


Everybody who walks needs shoes, and everybody pretty much needs an everyday/outside pair and a church pair, and everybody needs those for warm and cold weather, and everybody's feet keep growing. So that's a minimum of three or four pairs per kid per year (boys can wear the same church shoes for warm or cold), assuming everyone does me the favor of not outgrowing of a pair mid-season which is obviously ridiculously optimistic. And also snow boots.

No one is allowed to have more than the necessary shoes in our house. It just can't happen. That's a matter not only of frugality and storage, but also circulation. In order for us to get out of the house in a reasonable amount of time, there can only be a reasonable amount of shoes to dig through since they're all jumbled in a big box by the door.

I read in Real Simple to use wine boxes to store shoes--finally, a magazine idea that actually works and is free. A pair of little shoes can fit into one bottle compartment. Bigger shoes need a compartment each or even two compartments (fold the divider up or down). Sturdier shoes go on the bottom to keep the compartments from collapsing. Then I label them by the gender and size. I check them out as we need them and return them at the end of the season.

I get empty wine boxes at the grocery store. The ones that are the full height up to the top of the bottle are better. The boxes that just come up to the shoulders work fine too but they look messy, as I have demonstrated for your benefit:

Get thee behind me, Imelda.

We have this many shoes stored (55 pairs), and our oldest kid is only seven. I am afraid.

We use boots often enough to need them but still rarely enough that I won't buy another pair just to keep a 3-yr-old boy from going out in the Strawberry Shortcakes in a pinch. Easily accessed and size-organized boot storage is harder than shoes. For now, I'm keeping the boots on the bunk bed ladders we're not using. You can see that there are some unfortunate estrangements I need to work out, but I'm not giving up until boot season is officially past:

I look forward to finding a nest in one of these before my life is out.

And that's what I know about shoes. If you know something I don't, please tell me, because I find the issue rather overwhelming.


Gauntlets said...

You have an attic. You are cool.

Dakotapam said...

shoes make me cry. I already hated shoes when I just had the four boys. When we had the ultrasound that showed us two girls...all I saw was shoes. The Rev. saw wedding dresses, all I saw was feet...and shoes.They are two months old and they already have several pairs of shoes.

Grant me patience...

Lucy said...

You are way more organized than I am. There's just a bag with a shoe size thrown in a tub marked boy or girl. However, with our oldest not quite 5, I too worry for the future, as our collection is large and our basement is starting to look small. Glad I'm not alone!

Ewe said...

Mrs. Kieschnick spoke to the MN N wives a few years ago and her topic was shoes-somehow she used that to talk about being pastor's wives. She lost me at the part about loving shoes, because I don't-I'm too practical- have what I need and not more. So far our shoes are either in use or we have one tub with the extra shoes. That's one nice thing about having all boys! Plus, living in MN, the boots are in use 3/4 of the year either for snow or mud so I never bother with storing those.

Katy said...

That's cool--I might try that. I have organized our kids shoes about 5 times, and they still just end up in a big box after a few days (or all over the closet floor).

One thing I've decided--for everyday shoes, keep it gender neutral (I'm beginning to feel the same way about footsie jammies). Also, don't bother with shoes before walking-age.

Karen said...

We purchased a tall 5-drawer metal filing cabinet. The file cabinet is kept next to the children's coat closet. Each child has 1 file drawer to store all their normal shoes and boots. Specialty shoes are kept in a bag with the appropriate clothing. Dance shoes, leotards, and tights are stored in the child's dance bag etc. Because we have 7 children, the oldest 2 children keep their shoes in their closets. So far, this has been our best system for keeping track of shoes.

Rebekah said...

Gauntlets, it's also Dad's main venue for indoor shooting.

DP, stand strong. Only necessary shoes.

Lucy, I did the tub method for a while but there are just too many now. I can't risk buying shoes in a size I've already got.

Ewe, somebody else complained to me about that shoe speech too (although I didn't know it was Mrs. K.). You know, the only thing women can relate to is shoes or similar frivolities.

Katy, I try to get away with neutrals where I can, or shoes that will double for everyday and church. I love the rugged Mary Janes for little girls.

Karen, that's good news! I was hoping that maybe when they got older they could manage their own system.

lisa said...

In a recent fit of maternal preparedness I purchased about 5 prs of various sized boys shoes from local thrift stores. I thought, "What great deals! I am so prepared!" I stored the shoes in our basement, a la Lucy's method.

The sad bone-crushing reality: My little son - my sweet little boy that was to one day wear these shoes - is....wide-footed. WIDE! WIDE! WIDE!



How did I ever overlook those budding sweet little hobbit feet? And WHY isn't this is in the birth memo we're all supposed to get the day we get married?

lisa said...

Ok, so what about all those snowsuits & bulky winter coats?

Rebekah said...


Lisa 2--how did you know this was my next project? I've had them in our old wardrobe moving boxes, but I'm running out of room. I'm going to install makeshift rods up there so I can hang them all in size order.

lisa said...

I have attic/cellar/basement envy. Our house just isn't cut out for storage. We recently put shelving (the closetmaid coated wire shelves) up in our garage for shoes but we've found that, although there's an entire wall dedicated to shoes in use, we still have more kids coming (Lord willing!) and then there's all those shoes that are too small, big, boots, etc. You get my drift. We don't have room for all those rockin' wine boxes so they're all in tubs. However, before dumping them in, I photographed all the shoes & made a photo index with the sizes written next to them. The indexing was a bit tedious but it's made shoe hunting a lot easier!

Pam said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here... yes, me the former queen of extreme organization when it comes to storing out of size/season/gender clothes, etc. for other kiddos down the line!

I have (gasp) given away an AWFUL lot of stuff in the past six months, under my newly adopted principle that God will continue to provide what we need when we need it (think Goodwill, Salvation Army, and handmedowns), so if I don't anticipate the item being used in the next year or less by SOMEbody, it may as well be passed along to someone who needs it NOW.

This, along with my even newer policy adopted as we hurriedly packed and moved out of our former residence last month-- which is... is it worth loading on the truck and paying to move several hundred miles, maybe more than once?... and if not, it doesn't go-- has been the reason all our worldly possessions now sit in A (yes, ONE) 26' Uhaul truck.

This may sound totally crazy to some, but there is a definite freedom that goes with NOT being attached to all the extras being stored for later in addition to the already challenging amount of "stuff" in current circulation.

Gee, maybe I need to get back on my blog finally, and not take up all this room on yours? ;oD So much to tell...

Dakotapam said...

Pam! It is n the name...I did the same thing! When we left Minnesota I had a HUGE garage sale and sold every bit of clothing that someone was not currently fitting in. Even my maternity clothes, even all of the baby clothes. And since the boys had a strict dress code at the Lutheran school, anything that did not fir dress code went as well...I let each boy keep one pair of jeans. As for their shoes, their feet grow slowly and they wear out shoes long before they can hand them down. Snowsuits get pretty rough by the end of a LOOOOONG North Dakota winter, as do boots. There is such a HUGE size difference between the boys...our oldest wears 16, or 18 or 20 pants, the next boy wears 12 but they are a bit too long and the next one wears a 7. I can't hold on to clothes for three years between each boy...So I bless someone else with their hand me downs and others do the same for us. It has worked out well, and we have much less being stored. I have yet to buy a stitch for the girls (other than a pair of tights and sweaters for Easter....and I don't forsee needing anything for them for at least three years. As a matter of fact they have tubs of clothes waiting at other people's houses. And yay...they wear the same size...so that simplifies things quite a bit.

Pam, don't worry...I have two blogs and I still take up way too much space here!

Rebekah said...

Pams, talk all you want. :) For my part, I will keep buying shoe insurance with my time.

Lauriinnc said...

Holy cow! It is nice to read of others who share my experience!

I have so little storage here...well, it would be enough if there were only 4 people. I have bins of boys' shoes and a chart on the door of what I have and what we need...Sunday, sneakers, sandals. That works til they are men size and wear out the sneakers. The boy's clothes go from drawer to drawer as they grow. That is nice. Poor(?) Leah has more clothes than any girl I know because there is 7 years between her and her next older sister...EVERYONE gives us clothes. They multiply as I empty garbage bags onto our Living room floor to look through. I have learned to get everything OUT OF THE HOUSE the moment it is decided the item isn't a favorite.

Back to shoes-we have a closet overflowing with them. It is horrible. I cannot contain that monster. I have tried. In heaven there are no SHOES. I am glad!

I hate when we get snow-I have to dig into a closet and drag out a box full of boots, a box of gloves and hats-all of which end up floating around my house til about July when I can contain them again.

I've missed you gals!

Rebekah said...

Lauri, oh, the horrible hatglovescarf box! :O