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C.O.P. – I Have A Shoe Closet! (A Quick, Easy, and Very Satisfying Organization Project)

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done a C.O.P. project (cleaning, organizing, purging). But in the last few days, my patience ran out with my closet situation in our bedroom. Right now, Matt and I use the guest bedroom as our main bedroom, and we’ll continue to do that until we build our addition. That addition will have a much bigger bedroom with a large walk-in closet, and another smaller closet.

But for now, we have these two closets flanking the window…

guest bedroom - finished - closet and window wall

I built those closets knowing that we’d be using this bedroom temporarily as our main bedroom, and I just assumed that Matt would get one closet, and I’d get the other one. But Matt doesn’t really need an entire closet for himself. In fact, he doesn’t need a closet at all.

Since Matt has M.S., and was homebound for over a decade, he didn’t need a variety of clothes and shoes. And even now, he still doesn’t. Matt wears very comfortable clothes, and he only has one pair of shoes that he can tolerate being on his feet. So all of his clothes can fit in the dresser in the bedroom.

But for some reason, when I realized that Matt wouldn’t need a closet, I didn’t take over the other closet for my stuff. Instead, I used it to store things like the comforter that we use in the winter, the quilt and large decorative pillows that go on the bed in this room, and lots of other things that don’t really need to stay in this room.

And because I was trying to force myself to use one small-ish closet, this was my shoe situation…

There’s no way all of my shoes would fit inside the closet along with my clothes, so I’d line up the rest of my shoes neatly outside the closet. But that neat lineup would only last a few days before my shoes would end up in a mound like this. And just imagine trying to step over and through that mound in order to open the closet and pick out an outfit or put clothes away!

So on Monday, I had to go to Lowe’s to pick up some things for the studio, and I decided to take a stroll down the shelf and closet organization aisle to see if they had any small shelves that I could use under the TV in the studio. And while I was on that aisle, I got inspired to go ahead and purchase what I needed to organize that other closet. I didn’t want anything expensive or elaborate, so I found a very simple closet organization solution that would work inside this closet to create a shoe closet.

So last night, I decided to take a couple of hours and resolve my shoe storage problem. I started by clearing out everything from this closet so that I was left with nothing but an empty box..

Next, I added these two Closetmaid ShelfTrack metal tracks for adjustable shelving. Since I was screwing these onto a solid plywood backing, this process took about five minutes. The tracks come in various lengths, and these 84-inch tracks were perfect for my closet.

These shelf brackets slip into the notches on the tracks, so the shelves are fully adjustable to any height needed.

For the actual shelves, I decided not to use the Closetmaid wire shelves that are made to go with the ShelfTrack system because I don’t really like wire shelves, and I figured I could find something cheaper.

I ended up using stair treads! I was pretty excited about finding this option. Not only are they one of the cheapest options (cheaper than 1″ x 12″ x 8-foot lumber, cheaper than pre-primed MDF, etc.), but they’re thicker than most standard lumber. The stair treads are actually one inch thick, whereas standard lumber is called 1-inch, but it’s actually three-quarter inch thick. These stair treads also have a nice bullnose on the front edge which I think looks really nice.

So I bought seven stair treads, cut them to length with my miter saw to fit inside the closet on the brackets, and then sanded them before putting them in the closet. Because I wanted to get this project finished quickly, I opted not to stain or paint the shelves. I didn’t clear coat them, either, but I may end up doing that later. For now I just needed to get this done quickly so that I could get my shoes organized and out of the way. I’m so ridiculously excited about this shoe closet.

I ended up being one shelf short, which is why the bottom of the closet looks a bit cluttered. I need to get one more stair tread and make room for one more shelf so that those shoes currently occupied the middle part of the bottom of the closet can have their own shelf.

In the process of organizing, I ended up getting rid of six pairs of shoes that I don’t wear anymore. So this was not only an organizing project, but also a purging project! I’m so excited to have this taken care of now. And when Matt and I are finished using this room as our main bedroom, the shelves are completely adjustable, so I’ll be able to store anything I want to in this closet.

This is one of those organizing projects that seems insignificant. I mean, it’s just a shoe closet. And yet, going from this before to this after will have a huge impact on my life.

Being able to stand in front of that other closet to put clothes away or choose an outfit without having to stumble over shoes is going to be a dramatic improvement in the way I use these closets, and will definitely improve my mood when I have to get ready to go somewhere. I can’t believe how quick send easy this project was, and I can’t believe I put it off so long!!



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  1. Good job! See how easy and how excited you are because what you need will be easy to find! Why dont you do that with your tools, paint, etc.? I keep saying some rolling shelves, would help you so much time and frustration when doing projects 😀

  2. This gives me an idea for my closet organization!

    Do you know the weight limit of the brackets and do you have the stair treads secured in any way to the brackets? Probably not necessary, but just checking.

    Looks fantastic!

    1. I looked on the product listing online, but it doesn’t have the weight limit. Right now, I don’t have the treads secured to the brackets. If I were storing heavier things that were more difficult to get onto and off of the shelves, I would screw them down, But with shoes, the shelves don’t shift at all.

  3. Well, I must say it really looks nice and also easy Imelda. I couldn’t resist after seeing that pile of shoes. My husband counted 9 of my shoes and thought that was excessive.

  4. I too have built-in shelves for shoes, but not nearly as much room as you have.
    I happily discovered that I can stack sandals and most shoes – one atop the other – sometimes putting the top shoe upside-down, without any damage and have nearly doubled my shoe storage space! I also decreased the space between shelves to add another shelf! Using the bullnosed stair treads was a great idea! You always amaze us!

  5. Bullnose treads! What a great idea! I have a closet calling out to me! Definitely doing this! Thank you!

  6. I love how neat and tidy the shoes look! The bullnose edge treads give such a finished look to the closet.

  7. You could also add 3m hooks on the sides for purses or belts. Or small hooks for your necklaces that might not all fit in your bathroom solution.

    Looks great! And good idea with the stair treads, I like the look a lot.

  8. Kristi…I wouldn’t call this insignificant at all. Looks to me like it has taken a big frustration off of your shoulders, and is very signifcant. I’m happy you took the stroll down the shelf and organization aisle.

  9. Fabulous!!! You’ll get 10x the enjoyment out of those shoes now, since they’re practically art in your closet! 😄

  10. Excellent!! I don’t have that much of a shoe problem, and I’m lucky enough to have built in shelves. BUT, I need more. I keep trying to figure out how to make an additional shelf in between the ones that were built in.

  11. Awesome solution!!!😊 Mentioning Matt made me think I had wondered awhile back if he still is able to get out occasionally with the van you had purchased? Hoping so and keep him in my prayers often as have a good friend with MS also🙏🏻

    1. I’m sorry to hear that! MS is autoimmune, and can be healed. There are usually spiritual roots involving things/thoughts like guilt, etc. There is a book on Amazon (Exposing the Spiritual Roots of Autoimmune Disease by Dr. Henry Wright). Also check out Beinhealth.com hope this helps someone out ♥

  12. I feel ridiculously excited about this project too!!! well done.
    and you can easily have smaller gaps for the smaller shoes and add in another shelf.
    Love the stair tread.
    so perfect! so future proof. so you!
    i have no doubt that as perfect as it would be for most of us … each stair tread will receive some love in the form of Kristi style and colour in the future, but for now amazing!

  13. I’m so glad you did this! I have over 100 pair of shoes in shoe boxes on shelves. I adore shoes! Obviously! 🙂
    Seeing your poor shoes in a pile made my heart sad for them. Your solution is brilliant and perfect! It’s not insignificant at all! Your shoes look happy in their new home and you sound thrilled in your post. Sometimes, it’s the little things. And I’m really glad you didn’t go with the wire shelves. Solid shelves look so much more intentional.

  14. Great organization! One suggestion…you can easily put in several more shelves in place by organizing the shoes by height and not having so much dead “head” space. It’s the one thing I focus on when I’m setting up shelves. I see so many photos where there is so much wasted space, “dead head space” is what I call it…the space between the top of the articles, shoes, jars, etc and the bottom of the shelf above it. Just an idea. By putting similar height shoes all on one shelf, you can gain so much space and be able to add several more shelves.

  15. Seriously gorgeous! Love it! That’s gotta feel good, too. Tell me: are you going to stow the shoes in color order? :^)

  16. Wow, stair treads ain’t cheap! But at least you can tic this off of your list.
    It looks great!

  17. Kristi first let me just say you are a very talented woman. You can fix or build anything.
    However why do you need all those shoes?

    1. I don’t need them. No one needs that many shoes. I have them because I like shoes and I want them. 😊 Surely you have things in your closet or home that you bought not because they fill a need, but simply because you want them, right?

      1. kristi- your shoe collection is a perfect collaboration with the stylish and colorfulness of everything you’ve designed in your house. Cute shoes! As usual you’ve planted a seed for how I can upgrade the shelving in a pantry closet.