Small Space Storage Pt 2: Shoes + Handbags

tips for organizing shoes

Happy weekend, friends ~ as some of you may have seen in this post, we’re moving this week which has been exciting but bittersweet. We gradually outgrew our small space (having shared a bedroom with Nori for nearly 2 years!), but are incredibly thankful for all the memories and “firsts” this home has housed. While our next place is slightly roomier, it’s still a city condo, so I’ll continue to utilize almost all of the small space tips from before!

Today’s post is about storing shoes and handbags, as I admittedly have quite a few in my collection and often get questions on how they’re kept! And for easy reference, below are my previous blog posts on small space organization and storage:

5 Small Space Tips: Clothing Storage & Organization

  • Utilizing behind the door space
  • Creating & maximizing under-the-bed storage
  • Saving hanging space with multi-garment hangers
  • Keeping drawers divided & tidy
  • Gadgets like my slim laundry hamper

Storing Seasonal Clothes & Shoes

  • Cleaning & packing shoes and boots
  • Managing pests, humidity, and odors in clothing storage
  • Bins and bags that I use for storage

Now, onto how my beloved bags and shoes are stored and organized!

1. Bookcases for Dust-Free Storage

For storing items that I don’t reach for everyday but want to view clearly, I love the good ole Billy bookcase system from Ikea. It’s modular, so is easy to customize and suit your space – in the photo below I have 1 double unit + 1 single unit + extender top units. The optional glass doors (sold separately) are my favorite feature for helping shield items from dust! You can also change up the handles to further customize the look.

My most-used handbags are typically kept out on my dresser for easy access, while the rest are in this bookcase along with more special occasion or designer shoes. This system has worked out so well that I’ll continue to use it in our next home! One note – the depth is on the shallow side under 11,” so depending on your shoe size (I’m a size 5), some shoes especially flats might not fit within the glass doors.

Chicwish trench and Rothy's outfit

Outfit is from this post

2. Garment Racks (DIY or buy)

Garment racks can be a great option if you have limited built-in closet space. I’ve also found them to be helpful for keeping my most frequently worn pieces more accessible.

Ours was a DIY project by Nick using metal plumbing pipes + wood from any major hardware store, and my dad even made Nori her own mini version! You can follow similar DIY tutorials like these by One Thrifty Chick or this video tutorial from Apartment Therapy. Nick did a double shelf on the bottom of ours for additional handbag and shoe storage.

easy DIY garment rack
plumbing pipe garment rack

A few affordable options available for purchase:

Photo from this older post

Corner rack option
I also wanted to share this alternative idea that I had bookmarked for small spaces. It takes up just a corner of your wall, and seems nifty for multiple purposes (see the customer review section for ideas)! This comes in a set of 2 bars that you can use either together or in separate rooms.

Corner hanging garment bar

3. Shelves + Flats Basket + Boot Tray

For our most worn everyday shoes, we added narrow shelves in our entryway. I would’ve loved to use free-floating style shelves for a completely clean aesthetic, but we couldn’t get them to mount sturdily, thus ended up using shelves with visible support brackets. I left enough height on the bottom for a boot tray, and use a wire basket (from Target) to store my flats and sneakers.

To maximize space on shoe shelves, store shoes with the toes facing in opposite directions (instead of all facing forward). This lets me fit at least 1 additional pair on each shelf, sometimes more!

small space boot and shoe organization

Boot tray, similar white shelves from Lowe’s or Amazon in a wide range of sizes

4. Other Shoe Organizer Options

Prior to adding wall shelves, we used a large behind the door hanging shoe rack at our entryway closet. Mine was pretty old, but here are some similar currently available options!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. Joyce wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    Love your posts! I would love to see how you style your dresser where you keep your most-used purses. Thank you.

    Posted 5.1.22 Reply
  2. Hoa Kim Nguyen wrote:

    I love your DIY garment rack. My husband has kindly agreed to build one for me. Can you tell me what kind of dark bronze spray brand you used for the pipes, hardware, and wood? Would you be able to tell me how tall the rack is and the dimensions of the wood at the bottom? I really love how much space you have on this rack.

    Posted 10.6.20 Reply
  3. Jessica wrote:

    I love the DIY garment rack. Did you spray paint the pipes and hardware? How much did all the pieces cost? Looks great!

    Posted 6.19.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you! We did spray paint the pipes and hardware with a dark bronze color. I’m afraid I don’t remember the cost of the pipes because it was so long ago, sorry!

      Posted 6.22.20 Reply
  4. Maureen wrote:

    Congratulations on your new place. I can’t wait to see it once you are all settled in. I love the idea of bookcases for handbags. I like to look at my handbags and this is the best option without worrying about them collecting dust!


    Posted 6.17.20 Reply
  5. Julie J wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thank u for everything u do. Do u have a pic of the privacy curtains for the office glass doors?

    Posted 6.17.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Julie, so sorry I don’t have a picture of it but I just put up a wide curtain rod above the french doors from the inside of the office and used two Ikea curtain panels.

      Posted 6.22.20 Reply
  6. susan r rawls wrote:

    Thank you for the idea of placing shoes in opposite directions. I was able to get another pair of shoes on my shelves, also. Now, all my shoes for the season are on my shelf and I can easily see them.

    Posted 6.14.20 Reply
  7. Nancy wrote:

    So you don’t keep your shoes in the boxes or show bags? I thought it would be better that way although it takes up more space. I may rethink my shoe storage now.

    Posted 6.14.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Nancy, since I keep mine in the Billy bookcase with the glass doors I haven’t seen a need to also keep them in their boxes. It feels a little redundant to do both and time consuming to take them in and out of the boxes every time I wear them. Though if you have any high end bags or shoes you think you may sell one day I’d recommend holding onto the original box and packaging!

      Posted 6.16.20 Reply
  8. Ella wrote:

    Love this article so much. I’ve moved 3 times in less than a year. This last move is significantly downsized bc of divorce and I need to be in a town where I can run my biz. Tysm for sharing. Will be coming back often. I’m a whopping 4’10” tall!

    Posted 6.14.20 Reply
  9. Judy wrote:

    I love love LOVE all of your quarantine content and especially all these space-saving tricks! Thanks so much for sharing! And CONGRATS on your little blessing! 🙏🏽

    Posted 6.14.20 Reply
  10. Minh-Thi wrote:

    Hi Jean, thank you so much for sharing this super helpful post. I noticed that you have inserts in your MGemi shoes. I was wondering what kind of insoles they are since I also just got the Pastoso and have been looking for good inserts? 🙂

    Posted 6.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Those are actually just long cedar blocks! I don’t have any shoe-specific inserts for them but happened to notice that the cedar blocks I put in my sweater drawers semi-fit in my shoes and might help with odors.

      Posted 6.16.20 Reply
  11. Mireia wrote:

    These are great ways to organise!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 6.13.20 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?