A Closet Update: Hacking Shelves for Boot & Shoe Storage Solution

Years ago, shortly after my home was built in the early 1980’s, the first owners turned the bedroom that’s beside the master bedroom, into a dressing room/closet area. (Read more about that in this post: If These Walls Could Talk: A Mystery Alcove.

The bedroom was around 12 x 13 feet and they closed off the door/entrance from the upstairs hallway and cut a large double opening from the master bedroom, into the room. They added two long closets with bifold doors down the right wall, you can see those in this older photo.

 

The door you see straight ahead is the original walk-in closet for the bedroom. We were told by the second homeowners (from whom we purchased the house) that this closet had its own zone on the security system because it was the fur closet of the original homeowner. When I upgraded the security system, I had that changed since I don’t own any clothing that’s worthy of its own zoned security closet. ๐Ÿ™‚

The original owners also added built-in drawer storage and a dressing table of sorts, as seen on the left. I’m pretty sure this was the closet space for the lady of the house because of the dressing table/fur closet.ย Plus, the the actual master bedroom closet that’s on the other side of the master bedroom, had a tie rack mounted to the wall. They were a little ahead of their time with his and her closets.

Dressing Area of Master Bedroom

 

The actual master bedroom closet is off the master bath, on the opposite side of the bedroom. It’s a relatively small closet measuring around 7 1/2 by 5 1/2 feet. That’s a pretty small closet for two people to share, so I can see why the first owners converted the next door bedroom into a large closet/dressing room. (Bedding below is available here: Tartan Bedding.)

 

Today I’m sharing a very small upgrade I made to the original master bedroom closet. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any “Before” photos, but just imagine boots lined up along the wall with another row of boots in front of that. It made for a crowded experience in an already too-small space. But most of all, it was killing me that there was so much wasted space on the wall above the boots. I needed a shelf of some sort–just wasn’t sure where to find one.

Purchasing several new pairs of boots this winter was the catalyst that motivated me to find a better storage solution for my growing boot collection. Even though the dressing room closet area has slanted shoe shelves built-in along the bottom of each closet, they offer zero storage for boots.

 

Boot Storage

So here’s how the process unfolded: I Googled my head off looking for boot storage, boot shelves, etc… and couldn’t find anything that fit what I had in mind. I found some interesting boot racks where you could store boots hanging upside down and I found boot storage boxes, but I couldn’t find shelving that looked like it would work in the lower section of my closet.

I came across these shelves and thought theyย  might work if I just removed the shelf in the middle, but the picture was very deceiving because though this shelf looks pretty big, the whole shelving unit is only 11.6 inches tall. My boots measure about double that in height, so that definitely wasn’t going to work.

Shoe Storage Shelves for Closet

You can see in this photo from the website how short these shelves are, they only allow enough room for two pairs of very low shoes (like sneakers) to fit on each shelf. But I noticed that the shelves were stackable, so I started wondering if I could stack a couple of these units, leaving out the inner shelves to get the space I wanted for boots.

I did some measuring and drew out the plans I had in mind on a piece of paper and thought it just might work. If I stacked two units, I was hoping I could leave one of the shelves in the unit near the top. Unfortunately, it appeared my boots were going to be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch too tall, but I decided to order a couple of shelves (shipping was free) to just test out the idea. I ordered these shelves in two sizesย HERE and HERE.

Note: I didn’t want to spend a lot on this mini-closet update because if/when I do the master bath renovation my home so badly needs, this closet will probably be demolished and the space will be absorbed into the new bathroom. So this upgrade was less than $100 to complete.

Shoe Rack Shelves

 

Yup, I was right. I stacked two shelf units on top of each other and with the shelf left in place in the top shelving unit, the boots were just barely too tall to fit. I even thought about having a new shelf cut at Home Depot and adding it across the bottom, screwing it to the side walls, instead of the way the bottom shelf is currently designed to be inside the unit, but the space that would have added was still not quite enough to accommodate my black boots and a taller pair brown boots. You can see that in the photo below, the black boots are sitting directly on the floor and they still don’t fit into the shelf space. Rats!

Boot Storage Ideas

 

So I had to remove all the interior shelves, which I knew would probably create a stability problem. Imagine for a minute stacking two of these on top of each other, then removing all the inner shelves, except the top. The inner shelves help give structure and stacking them as I wanted, would leave only a single wood dowel holding the top unit to the bottom unit.Shoe Storage Shelves for Closet

 

I decided to use some wood glue in between the units where they connect when stacked. The raw wood that’s visible on the side pieces where they meet when stacked together, provided a good surface for gluing. The next day when I moved the unit, I was really surprised how well the glue had bonded the two units together.

Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue

 

So here’s the configuration I came up with: I purchased four of the 24″ long shelf units and four of the 31″ long shelf units. I had measured and knew I had the space/width for two 31″ shelves side-by-side along the wall you see below, and two 24″ units, side by side, on the end wall of the closet. I basically turned one unit upside down and let its top be the bottom of the whole unit…that’s what the boots are actually sitting on. Then I used the one little wood peg that came with the shelves, along with some wood glue, and attached the other shelf unit to the top. I’m amazed by how well the glue worked, it’s pretty strong!

Boot and Shoe Storage

 

By the way, I’m not recommending you do this, it’s just what worked for me. I definitely wouldn’t build the shelves this way if you have pets or children going into your closet. You would need to anchor the shelves together in a better way, maybe using braces to hold the top part to the bottom unit, as well as anchoring them to the wall with the anchor screws that come with the shelves. If you anchored the top and bottom with metal plates/braces, plus anchored them to the wall, you would probably be fine. I don’t have young children or pets now and these shelves won’t be moved around, so this works for my situation.

For my tall boots seen below on the bottom right, I had to leave the top shelf out of that upper shelving unit to have space for the boots since they are so tall. I had planned to put more boots across the top but ended up using that space for a few of my handbags. My wicker/summer bags are stored on shelves in the dressing area closets. This closet is working well for winter bag/shoe storage, and theย Darjeeling Limited, Very Troubled Child bag. (Read more about that bag in this post: Stalking a Darjeeling Limited Safari Bag.)

Boot and Shoe Storage

 

Here’s how the 24″ shelving units look at the end of the closet. Again, the bottom shelf unit is turned upside down so its top is now the bottom of the unit. I was able to leave the top shelf inside the other three shelf units since my other boots are short enough to fit underneath.

Winter Clothes and Boot Storage

 

This was basically what I had envisioned all along, having my boots along the bottom and a single shelf above to hold the shorter boots. I never expected to end up with as much storage as I did, so I moved other shoes that I primarily wear during the winter to this closet, as well.

So here’s how I’m using this space that’s mostly for winter shoe/boot storage:

Tall leather boots are on the far right with a few handbags on the top of those two units. You’ll notice that I have my three pairs of Frye leather boots and one pair of Ralph Lauren boots stored with one boot facing forward and the mate facing into the shelf.

The reason for that is tall boots flare out at the top in the calf area. I would have had to kinda squish them together at the top, to get four pairs across that shelf if they were all facing out. But by alternating how they are positioned, all four pairs fit with room to spare. I didn’t have to do this with the other boots, just the taller boots.

You’ll find the brown boots available here: Frye Boots, and the black pair is available here: Black Boots. Some are available in the “Extended” calf size which would be good if you’re wearing them with a thicker jean tucked inside, as opposed to jeggings.

Boot and Shoe Storage

 

To the left of that unit, I have three pairs of Ugg boots on the bottom with some winter loafers/shoes 0n the shelf above, followed by four pairs of waterproof Tevas: 2 black, 1 brown & 1 black olive-green. I’ve had all those boots for several years now. Ugg boots really hold up well and are so warm for winter! It was you guys who told me about Ugg boots a few years back. I purchased a couple of style the next winter in the Ugg store in Atlanta, then later bought the brown plaid pair “New with box/tags” on eBay.

To keep my tall leather boots and Ugg boots standing up nice and straight, I ordered these boot supporters in two different sizes: Boot Shaper.

As you may recall from previous posts, my Teva boots are my go-to boots when I travel, along with a pair of Sperry duck boots. They are stylish, go with any style pants, dressy or casual, and are waterproof. They saved me in the constant monsoons we had in Italy and Holland/Belgium. They were also great for the rainy days we had in Ireland, too. Teva boots are available here: Teva Boots.

Shelves for Shoe and Boot Storage

 

On the 24″ wide units at the end of the closet, I’ve stored three pairs of Hunter rain boots, above which I have three pairs of Stubbs and Wootton shoes. Two of those are very much winter shoes since one pair is tweed and the other is velvet, but the leopard print in the middle could be worn any time of the year. I just put them all in this closet to keep them all together. Tip: If you like Stubbs and Wootton shoes, J.Crew often carries them in the winter and they sometimes go on sale.

Above those are three pairs of Sperry duck boots: Navy Plaid, Red/Brown leather and Brown Plaid. You’ll find the brown/red plaid pair that I have available,ย HERE. All the other styles for this year are available HERE. Looks like they are having a sale, too.

I love these bright yellow duck boots! They would be so cute with the yellow raincoat I purchased a few months ago. I think this is their new plaid boot for this year: Plaid Duck Boot.

Boot Storage, Hunter Boots, Sperry Du

 

The end unit on the left has a pair of Old Gringo boots on the bottom shelf…see those up close here: Winter Survival List, 2015. I need to create another Winter Survival List post sometime soon. I always love reading your comments on those posts, you share the best ideas! That’s how I learned about Ugg boots–from your comments on a previous Winter Survival post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Above the Old Gringoย boots are some adorable kitty shoes shared in this post: 5 Popular Shoe Styles: Get The Look Without the Price.

Above that are another pair of red, plaid rain boots, my L.L. Bean duck boots and some hiking boots I’ve had for many years.

Oh, and almost forgot to mention, I added the little protective pads that you can buy in Home Depot to the bottom corner of each shelving unit. It really helped to slide them around and position them on the hardwood flooring and it raised each unit a little bit up off the floor.

Again, the shelves I used for this mini-closet update were purchased here in two sizesย HERE and HERE.

 

The Legal blah, blah, blah:

Warning: If you configure your shelves as I did in my closet, I can’t be held responsible if you get injured or a shelf falls/collapses and ruins your new pair of shoes/boots/etc…, You have to use your own judgement regarding how you use or alter these shelves. They also come with anchors so they can be anchored to the wall, so you may want to use those, as well. Again, use your own judgement, especially if you have children or pets who may try to climb or pull on the shelving, which is definitely NOT recommended.

I just ordered a new pair of Old Gringo boots. Hoping I will like them when they arrive, if not I’ll return them. It’s hard ordering boots online, you just have to see them before you can really commit.

Boot Storage, Hunter Boots, Sperry Du

 

Here’s how the new pair I ordered looks. Hope they are this pretty in person! I think they’ll look great with jeggings…at least that’s the plan! This color combination may have been discontinued, but they still have one in size 9.5 at Wild West Bootstore. com online where I purchased my pair. The boot is the Old Gringo “Raelene Studded Boot in Chocolate Brass” so you can google for it that way, too. I just love the artistry that goes into Old Gringo boots, they amaze me!

I wish my brother was still alive to see these. He wore cowboy boots almost daily and would have gotten a kick out of seeing his little sister wearing them.

Old Gringo Raelene Boot

 

Hope this post was helpful, or at least interesting. I don’t know why someone doesn’t make closet shelving with a tall space underneath for boots and shelving above for shorter boots/shoes. I know I can’t be the only person needing shelving of this type for a smallish closet.

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Comments

  1. This looks perfect for your needs. If there is anyone that can figure out how to make just the right storage for anything…it’s you!!
    I love that you can see all your clothing, shoes, bags, boots. How easy it will be to decide what to wear. Good job, Susan! Thanks for always sharing your ideas.

    • Thanks, Anne! It’s so much better than having everything on the floor taking up space. I think I will rotate wearing things a lot more now that I can actually see them. Some shoes were tucked away in boxes, so they weren’t getting worn very often.

  2. You are on an organizing tear this year girl! Love that. Looks very nice. I broke down and turned a whole big bedroom into a closet this year. Just had to happen. Still need to make shoe shelves though.

    • I have been! lol I think organizing my closet helped relieve some of the stress I was feeling from all the chaos of the having the deck furniture piled on to the porch for the last week or so while they stained the decks. That was driving me crazy, but at least I could organize something! lol
      That’s brilliant, Jillian! If I ever get around to the bath renovation, that small closet will vanish as it gets absorbed into the bathroom. That would be a good time to renovate the dressing area into a large closet with an island in the center. I bet you are loving your closet now! Makes life so much easier when you can see/find what you need!

  3. Susan, I’ve been reading your blog for years and can’t believe I haven’t posted until now. What a great update to your closet! I like how you take such good care of your possessions whether it’s an Hermes Scarf, Ugg Boots, or your table linens. I thought I was the only person who stuffed their unused leather goods so it’s good to see someone else is as fastidious as me. I see you have some beautiful Christian Dior quilted purses and I don’t recall you ever blogging about them. Would you mind writing about them at some point? Did you buy them in the US or oversees? What size did you purchase? How do they wear? Do you think they were worth the expense? I’ve been eyeing a black quilted Dior bag for years but haven’t convinced myself to take the plunge. I would appreciate any info/advice! And thank you so much for your lovely blog.

    • Thanks so much, Susan! I do stuff everything! lol I found acid free paper on Amazon and use it inside all my handbags.
      I would love a Dior bag and visited the Dior in Atlanta about a year ago look at those, but I haven’t actually splurged and purchased one yet.
      I think the bag you’re seeing is a Chanel bag. I purchased the black Chanel bag from an individual on eBay. She had stored it upright so the quilted sides/areas were still puffy and not flattened out like you see on so many older bags. The red quilted bag is a Chanel WOC (Wallet on Chain) that I purchased from the New York Chanel store (via phone) a couple of years ago. I couldn’t find one in red here in Atlanta and gave them a call and they had one.
      I’ve eyed some of the Lady Dior bags on eBay but many don’t look like they’ve been stored properly and the quilted area has flattened, so imagine if I ever do buy one, it will be new and not preloved.
      If you do buy a quilted Dior or Chanel bag, the most important thing is how you store it…don’t lay it on it’s side. I’ve use my red Chanel WOC a lot and even when I’m actively using it, when I get home I sit it upright on the chair or desk in my office instead of laying it on its side. That really helps keep the quilted areas looking puffy. Also, the Chanel bags in the caviar leather hold up a bit better than the lambskin leather bags.
      Regarding the Dior bags, the one I like is the traditional Lady Dior in the medium size. That’s the one Lady Diana carried.
      I also like the old style Lady Dior with the zippered opening. They just recently changed that bag giving it a flap closure. I hope they don’t stop making it with the zip closure entirely!

      • Susan, thank you for your thoughtful response. I tried to write this reply earlier but my iPad froze went I hit the send button. Yes, of course, I meant to say Chanel bag. I think I got so excited when I saw the pictures that I tripped on my words. You provided me with good information such as the flap versus zipper closure. I’ve been eyeing vintage Chanel bags on various websites such as One Kings Lane and 1st Dibs but can’t bite the bullet because often returns aren’t allowed or the purse isn’t in mint condition. So as you said, I think it might be best to purchase it myself directly from a store. I’ve never been to Paris, so perhaps a trip is in my future! But I’ll have to stop by a Cartier store, too, as a traditional Cartier Tank watch is also on my Wish List!

        Once again, thank you for your blog. You’ve influenced many of my purchases (travel converter set, emergency interior lights, stainless steel polish, to name a few) and we have similar tastes, especially in clothing and decor. You are as fussy and persnickety as me, and I appreciate it!

        • lol I am! I admit it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Buying preloved is always a bit scary. The woman I purchased my black Chanel bag from on eBay allowed returns. I would never buy from any place or anyone who didn’t allow a return, especially when you’re spending a good amount. It’s just not worth the risk. I do prefer to buy directly from the store when I can since you know you’re not getting a fake that way. Also, you’re building a relationship with the sales associate, so if down the road you’re trying to find a hard-to-find bag or item, you know they will do their best to locate it for you.

  4. You are more clever than Emelda.:) I am so jealous.
    .

  5. What an imaginative reconfiguration of that shelving. I chuckled a bit; it looks to be footwear for someone living up north, not Atlanta ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Tina Carpenter says:

    Wow, you always amaze me! I am a super freak about maximizing space & organizing. All my clothes are organized by season, then color. I even do it say, like, solid blue shirt from lightest to darkest,, then stripes, plaids, etc., I love your closet!

    • Thanks, Tina! I love organizing…ridiculous how much I enjoy that. lol I have my summer top organized by color but haven’t done that with my winter tops. I should though…thanks for the inspiration to get that done! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Cyndi Raines says:

    Good job Susan. My closet is on my to do list and I am dreading it. I think I will wait for a cold day in January or February to make the dive. It is basically organized, just have to decide, what to keep, what to donate and what to get rid of. Yup, a cold winter day sounds good for this project. lol

    • That’s the perfect thing to do when you’re stuck inside on a cold winter’s day, Cyndi. I’ve been going through all my closets and donating so many things…feels good to pair down to just what I really wear!

  8. Ann Seigman says:

    I am in closet envy! My husband has so many pairs of cowboy boots that I can’t figure out how to store them properly and to keep them from becoming a jumble on the floor of his closet. I really enjoyed the peek inside of your closet. I hope that I can come up with a plan someday!

    • Thanks, Ann! I’ll have just two pairs of cowboy boots once my new pair arrives, but I really do love them! You don’t see people wearing them that much here, which is a shame.

  9. I agree…you have more winter boots and shoes than I do in Minnesota! ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, I am also the one who wears flip flops into November and starts up again in March, what can I say, I am a cold weather girl. Love temps in the 40s…my ideal comfort zone. Great organization. My boots are lined up, with pool noodles inside…but that is as far as I got. Keep on inspiring with your projects!

    • lol I’m afraid my feet might be cold for two seconds. Ha! It rains a lot in Georgia, well it normally does, hasn’t that much lately. So the rain boots get a lot of wear! I guess you wear more non-leather boots in the winter to cope with the snow…is that right, Rosie?

      • Hi Susan, shoot, I typed out a long reply and it just disappeared….long story short, I wear all kinds of boots, and am trying a Sperry kind this year, rated #1 for walking on ice. Even Uggs hold up in water and snow if I clean and waterproof them well. LOVE Mucks too. Come on Winter! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. You are so very organized Susan! … great idea for the boot storage…and LOVE your new boots!!!

  11. Oh Susan,

    I miss coming here regularly, and this is one of the many reasons why! This post made me smile and was reassurance that I’m not the only one who tends to be obsessive about such things and want them to be ‘just right.’ Lol. Like me, you probably spent much more time than you would have preferred on researching and figuring things out, but the end result is that you got exactly what you needed. Everything looks so great and what a delight to open your closet and instantly spot what you want. Excellent job.

    It’s funny that you mentioned acquiring a new yellow rain slicker, because I’ve been wanting to find one for years! I’ll have to search the site to see if you mentioned where you got yours. I love walking in the rain and nothing suits that better than the old fashioned slickers of our childhood. I want the whole get up, coat, hat and boots, lol. Perfectly suited for stomping in puddles. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • It’s a curse, Pam…it’s a curse! lol I love organizing and being able to find something right away when I need it. I should have been one of those folks you hire to come organize your closet or life! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I bought mine from Country Club Prep. I didn’t discover it until the end of the season and that was the only place I could find it by then. It was pretty pricey but I do love it. You can see it in this post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/barbour-gustnado-jacket-in-mist-trevose-jacket-in-yellow-frye-campus-shopper/
      Talbots usually has a yellow rain slicker each spring. Another good place to check is Joules online.

      • Haha, well, at least it’a a curse that renders worthwhile results! I hate to have to ‘hunt’ for something. Everything has a place, and everything’s in it’s place. That’s what I like. Of course, my DH is oblivious to all of this so things don’t always go as planned. ๐Ÿ˜€

        It was kind of you to come back with that raincoat link. Thank you! We typically have a very wet and thundery spring here, and I love the idea of long walks in the rain, snug inside my raincoat. Can’t wait to get my gear sorted. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Oh, btw, when I followed that raincoat link I saw the post about the baby birds. While we usually find nests in funny spots around the house each year, a couple of springs ago a mama bird built her nest right in one of our front door wreaths! The doors are glass and one day I was walking from the office toward the kitchen and caught something out of the corner of my eye. Upon closer inspection, I found a nest! Luckily, I have plantation shutters on the inside, so I was able to sneak up and peek in on the eggs several times a day! It was incredible. I was able to watch as they hatched out and went from tiny jellybean sized lumps to fledgling birds who left the nest. I was a city kid, so this experience was just amazing to me. I was able to take pictures and film the whole process. I even got a picture of the mama bird sitting on them one night! I will always treasure that experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I have some of the shelves you used for your boots and wanted to make them (and a lot of other units) look like they were built into the closet. Some of those shelves and cubes come with a horrible paper back. I discarded those and attached mdf beadboard to mine using 1.5โ€ finishing nails VERY carefully driven from the beadboard in the back into the rather thin sides of the shelves. Then I used white caulk to make a very tight seal along the the back where the beadboard and shelves meet. So, if you add beadboard to your shelves you will gain a whole lot of stability! Of course, your shelves are fine as they are, too. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with us. I always love a look at that gorgeous plaid bedding!

  13. Great job and very inspiring, Susan! Living here in Canada, I find the biggest challenge is finding storage solutions for ‘outer footwear’ which accommodate the changes, in our four-season’s climate. As for the others (and handbags), I don’t find they present the same problem as can be stored easily in most closets unlike the aforementioned. -Brenda-

  14. Joanna Shumaker says:

    Hi – I have a question about a post from 2013, so I hope you can answer it. It was a Christmas tablescape and you had sleigh place card holders on your table. I would love to make those or buy them. Can you tell me where you got them. It wasn’t in the post. They are the first image that comes up when you google sleigh place card holders, so they must be a popular pic. Thank you so mch!

  15. oh Susan you did a wonderful job and everything fits in so nicely.
    My mom always used to say “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”
    Makes it so much easier to keep things neat and tidy when you have the proper size and shape of storage shelves etc… and how pretty… love it!
    Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Bobbi Duncan says:

    Being an organization freak, I’m loving this shelving idea you thought up. Before we paint our master bedroom, I’ve got to come up with a plan to accommodate things in our closets better than the way they are now. My son just showed me the plans for his new house, which includes a master walk-in the size of a large bedroom. Boy, would I love even half that space; all the drawers, cabinets and shelving for everything, right where you can get to items easily, would be a dream come true. I have a good amount of jewelry that I have to store in another room, so I’d love to have a more convenient set-up for that. Bet your brother is smiling about those boots. Hugs!

  17. What a great storage solution. I love your shoe and boot collection. Especially the Fry’s. Just in case you would like to add one more to your collection, I have enjoyed my Chooka rain skimmers when a boot is just a little too heavy. Here is the link.

    https://shop.shopchooka.com/

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