By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

Cinderella wasn’t the only woman to ever have problems keeping track of her shoes. In fact most of us have a frustration over our shoe collection and our inability to keep them neatly organized.

If you are like me, you probably have the original shoebox your pumps came in, and you try hard to put them back in said box each time, before stacking it among the other boxes of various sizes and stability. This, usually, resulting in the smaller, more narrow boxes, on the bottom of the stack giving way and toppling the entire pile over. Not only does this method not work as far as keeping them organized, but it’s also impossible to either find the shoes you’re looking for and/or to even remember what shoes you own.

I start off with the best intentions. I clean up my closet and put all of my shoes in their designated cardboard cells and stack them neatly, but in a matter of a week or so, I have lost the gumption to take the time to put them away, and there is soon a jumbled heap of sneakers, pumps, wedges, mules, flip flops, etc., etc., etc. littering the bottom of my not-grandiose closet.

In light of this constant struggle, I thought it might behoove us to spend a little time discussing some shoe storage options to help us all wrangle those much beloved, but frequently neglected, footwear collections.

Weather you have a huge closet, or share a very small one with your better-half, there are lots and lots of different ways for you to store and/or display your shoes.

  • Don’t Hide Them: Instead of putting them away in the dark recesses of a closet, bring them out into the light and display them. Most of us spend a pretty penny for pretty pumps. Why not put up some floating shelves across a wall in your bedroom and actually use them as an art installation that you can also wear pieces of? Not only will this free up closet space, but it also makes the shoes easier to see and more likely to be worn.
  • Use Crates in a New Way: Stack some rustic wooden milk crates and secure them to your closet wall. Add a middle shelf to each and store your shoes in them. I love this idea for use in a mudroom as well. It’s a great way to get those muddy shoes up off the floor and put away without worrying about ruining nice shelving. The crates can also be washed down easily.
  • A Basket Comes in Handy: Flip flops are one of those shoes that are hard to store and easy to leave piled up. Use a cute basket to store them all in. You can fit a lot of these thin little summer-must-haves in a basket with a fairly small footprint that won’t take up much floor space.
  • Think Outside the Box: Try cutting PVC pipe to one foot long sections and adhering (Liquid Nails is a great adhesive for projects like this) them together in a floor to ceiling column. Store your shoes in the ‘honeycomb’ structure that is created. Again, this makes it easy to see your shoes and convenient when putting them away.
  • No Need to Have Them Exposed: Shoe cabinets have been around for many years now and work great. These storage solutions are designed to look like furniture and yet to hold numerous pairs of shoes without anyone being the wiser. Another take on this idea is to use an old china hutch in your room. You can either frost the glass to hide the trove being stored within, or, if you want to show your shoes off, but have them actually shut away, leave the glass clear. Use the bottom of the hutch to store winter sweaters or blankets and you just freed up a huge amount of closet space.
  • “Drape” Them: Place several curtain rods either in a closet or out in your bedroom and actually hang your shoes on them. This works wonderful to display and organize heels, but does leave tennis shoes, flats and even wedges to fend for themselves. However, if you have a large pump/stiletto collection, this would be a great way to show them off.

The reality is, no matter the size of your collection, nor the styles it’s composed of, everyone has shoes that can use some organizing and, with a little research and planning, be corralled.




By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

We all know the line, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ No matter what the answer returned by the all-knowing reflective oracle is to that question, the unmistakable effectiveness of a mirror to add detail, form and function to a room is a sure thing.

Mirrors can be added to any space for any number of reasons. They can be hung on a wall opposite a large window to reflect more natural light about the room, or included in a place with little to no natural light to volley the illumination from lamps about.  Mirrors are wonderful ways to add a design element to a space that serves as both a piece of artwork and a reflective tool.  Mirrors can be used, obviously, in bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms above fireplaces; but what about trying them in less obvious locations.  Try adding one to the entryway above a small table for those last minute hair and makeup checks before running out the door, a laundry room to make the space look and feel larger than it really is, or even on a covered patio or deck to heighten the style of an outdoor living space.

However and wherever you choose to use these versatile design pieces there are a few rules to consider.

  • When using a mirror someplace other than a bath or powder room, you want to make sure it is hung in a location where it is reflecting something worth seeing twice. Placing a mirror across from a window overlooking the garden or across from a beautiful piece of artwork are wonderful options.  What you want to avoid is hanging a mirror across from a blank wall, a set of stairs, or anywhere else that the reflection will do nothing to improve the space.
  • When hanging your mirror someplace other than above a fireplace, always remember the ‘thirds-rule’ (actually this rule is good to remember when hanging any artwork, creating chair rails, and/or art ledges). Think of your wall as being divided into thirds.  You want to hang artwork and mirrors a third the way down from the ceiling (or put chair rails a third the way up from the floor).  Never place anything at the halfway mark on a wall, doing so bothers our eye and creates discomfort in our subconscious.
  • Make sure you are selecting a style of mirror that suits the room. If your space is contemporary then a 1960s melamine framed mirror will feel out of place.  Mirrors are large statement pieces that cannot be overlooked and will not go unnoticed.  Assure that the mirror you choose supports your vision for the room and confirms the style you are wanting.
  • As with everything, you get what you pay for. Mirrors come in a broad range of styles and prices.  You can get everything from inexpensive mirror sets shaped like flowers, squares, or circles on up to large extravagantly wooden framed floor mirrors that will set you back thousands of dollars.  How much you spend will depend on both the style you are looking for and your budget.
  • Make sure that you are not ‘over-mirroring’.  Often when we find something that we like, and works well, we have a tendency, as humans, to overdo it.  If you hang a mirror in a room make sure you pay attention to how many other mirrors are visible in the line-of-sight from the position the mirror will be viewed from.  Too many mirrors can give a home a funhouse effect and create a sense of confusion.  One or two mirrors are plenty for any home’s main living area.

Overall you can’t go wrong with a beautiful mirror added to your décor. If you remember these few basic rules and assure that it is hung correctly, a mirror can be the crowning touch to any room.