closet shelf organizersThink about the bottom of your bedroom closet. What does it look like? If you’re like many other people, when you open your closet door and look down you see a jumble of running shoes, sandals, flats and so on. And that pile of shoes is probably taking up much—if not all—of your closet floor.

So what can you do to take back that square footage? Read on for five tips that can help you reclaim space in your bedroom closet by using proper shoe organization.

1. Step 1: Downsize Your Shoe Inventory

The first step in organizing anything is to do some downsizing. This holds true when it comes to shoe organization. Go through your shoes and toss out smelly sneakers with soles that flap, uncomfortable flats you never wear or pairs that the kids have outgrown. If you have footwear that is still good but never sees any use, donate it or—in the case of more expensive shoes—sell them online. You’ll instantly have more space, which means less to organize.

2. Step 2: Use a Hanging Shoe Organizer to Hang Your Shoes

Get shoes as far from the ground as possible by using a hanging shoe organizer. There are several different types of hanging shoe organizers from canvas cubbies that fit neatly beside your hanging clothes to pockets that you can fasten to the inside of your closet door. What about boots? Well, they not only take up space but tend to topple over and lose their shape. You’ll be pleased to know there are hangers that are specially made for boot organization, so you can get them off the floor and get more wear out of them.

Step 3: Organize Your Shoes with Shoe Racks

A rack can do wonders in terms of shoe organization, as it takes up much less square footage than simply storing shoes on the bottom of your closet. There are numerous styles to choose from including standard racks that house your shoes vertically, narrow stands that swivel and models you can attach to your closet door. You can even add some fun to this practical concern with a Ferris wheel-style shoe rack that’s capable of holding up to 30 pairs of shoes.

Pro tip: Place a shoe rack right inside the main entrance of your home to hold shoes that see the most use, such as flip-flops, running shoes or the kids’ school shoes. You’ll free up a little more space in the closet, and keep your floors cleaner, too.

Step 4: Install Shelves to Store Shoes

Shelving is always an excellent means of maximizing space and it can really make a difference in terms of shoe organization. You can easily install shelves on the walls of your bedroom closets. This is as great way to capitalize on the wasted space on the sides of your closet and underneath hanging clothes. If you rent, shelf installation may not be an option that your lease allows. As an alternative, you can use a small bookshelf to organize your footwear.

Step 5: Store Shoes in Their Boxes

Most people throw away or recycle the boxes their shoes come in. What they don’t realize is that they’re getting rid of perfectly good—and free—means of shoe organization. Store shoes that you don’t wear on a routine basis in their boxes, and stack those on a shelf in your closet. You can make retrieval easier by attaching a photo of your shoes to their box so it takes you no time at all to find them. If cardboard boxes aren’t your style, you can also purchase clear boxes that are specially made for storing shoes. While you’ll be able to see into the boxes, you still might want to consider using the photo idea if your closet isn’t well lit or if the boxes will be placed on high shelves.

Now you’re well on your way to become a master of shoe organization. Ready to tackle a new challenge? We’ve got some tips on clothes organization we think you might like.