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Photo: Business Insider

It's time to stop tripping over your heels or digging through mismatched sneakers every time you want to leave the house and look presentable for society.

There are many different ways you can organize your shoe mess, whether you prefer to stack them or line them up — or maybe you'll take any configuration as long as it saves space and makes your shoe situation neater.

7 shoe organization tips that can help you make the most of your limited closet space:

1. Get Rid Of Shoes You No Longer Wear

Before you can properly organize your shoes, you need to take stock of what you have. "The first step to organizing your shoes is to gather all of them in one place," says Dara Friedson, owner and chief organizing officer of Orderly Method Professional Organizing. Once you have all your shoes together (including any stray pairs that may be hiding in the trunk of your car or in the mudroom), it's time to go through the collection and figure out which shoes you want to keep in your wardrobe—and which you need to get rid of. "Go through each pair, one by one, to determine whether you should keep, donate, or toss them," says Naeemah Ford Goldson, professional organizer and owner of Restore Order Professional Organizing, as said by Martha Stewart.

2. Utilize Shelves To Keep Shoes Off The Floor

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Photo: Organized Living

When it comes to storing shoes, your first instinct may be to chuck them on the floor of your closet. This is the wrong instinct. It makes your shoes harder to find when everything flops over each other in a big space. They’re also more likely to get beat up when you’re constantly moving pairs aside in the search of your favorite flip flops, according to Make Spaces.

If you insist on sticking with the floor plan, though, implement some basic shoe organization. “Don’t throw them in a heap,” says Sharon Lowenheim of NYC-based Organizing Goddess. “Line them up nicely. You paid money for them, so treat them well.” But as you’ll see, there’s much more you can do to keep your shoe collection tidy.

3. Avoid Storing Shoes In Wire Racks

After you move past the floor-heap option, your next thought is likely a shoe rack — one of those wire contraptions you can find in-home goods stores. That’s also a bad call.

“Every time I see clients with those metal shoe racks that are tiered, I throw those away,” says Aron. “They don’t store everything, and they always get pushed to the back anyway. They get in the way of the clothes that are hanging.”

Wire racks are also a nightmare for certain types of shoes (almost anything with a heel), so really, they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

4. Sort Shoes Into Categories

Before you start implementing any new shoe storage solutions or schemes, organize your shoes into groups. First, divide your shoes into two categories:

The shoes you wear all the time

The shoes you wear less frequently

The ones you wear less frequently (think stilettos or snow boots) should be stored, as Aron puts it, “up high and far away.”

Now it’s time to categorize the remaining everyday shoes even further. Similar styles should stick together. Shoes you wear to work should be in one group. Shoes you’d wear out to dinner might be in another group, and shoes suited for doing a lot of walking could be in a third group.

Think of the activity you’d wear each pair of shoes for so that when it’s time for you to head out for that event, you know exactly where to look.

5. Use Clear Stackable Shoe Boxes To Keep Everything Organized

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Photo: Business Insider

As any organization pro will tell you, it’s harder to pick out clothes and accessories when you don’t know what you’re looking at. Stuffing everything in a tub makes it impossible to imagine your options, so when you’re sorting your shoes, try to keep them as visible as possible.

If you’re using shoe storage bins or boxes.

If you’re getting a shoe organizer, look for ones with clear slots.

Prefer to reuse some of the shoeboxes you already have?

Stick a picture of the shoes on the outside of each box. This easy visual aid will help jog your memory in the morning and prevent you from tearing your closet apart while you consider your outfit options.

6. Store Flats, Sandals, and Slip-ons in Over-the-door Organizers

Shoe organizers that hang over the closet door can be lifesavers — particularly for lightweight, casual shoes since you can bunch an entire pair into one slot.

But if you have a sliding closet door, or just don’t have the space for the standard 24-pocket organizer, Lowenheim recommends a slim vertical organizer that ties over the closet rod.

“You can fit a pair of shoes in each slot, and there are 10 slots. You can get two [organizers] and those should see you through your day-to-day shoes,” she says. “If you’re considering more than 20 pairs of shoes each day, you have too many shoes.”

7. Store Boots Upright

Depending on their length, boots have a tendency to flop over and take up a lot of unnecessary floor space. To keep them in shape (literally), use rolled-up newspapers or magazines, or even old plastic bottles.

Once you’ve got your boots standing at attention, storage becomes a lot simpler. You can stick them in a clear bin or individual boxes.

DIY sandal holders using wire hangers

One of Pinterest’s favorite DIY shoe storage ideas is fitting sandals and flats onto ordinary wire hangers. To do this, cut the bottom rung off a few wire hangers. Next, use a plier to bend the ends into curled hooks.

You can just stop there — the thongs of the sandals or the tops of the flats will hang off each hook — or you can really DIY this thing with some custom ribbon hanger jackets, a la Epbot.

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