Storage Solutions: Alternative Uses for Shoe Organizers
Affordable, Versatile Storage Ideas
Pocket organizers designed for storing shoes are one those great concepts that make you wonder, "Why weren't they invented sooner?" They come in a variety of colors, they are made from a variety of materials, and they hold your shoes. Some have pockets big enough for a pair of shoes, others require placing a shoe in each pocket.
But why stop at shoes? I don't even have enough shoes to fill one of those racks. But I do have a lot of clutter and limited storage in my kitchen, bathrooms, and office. Whereas it is easy to shove everything in a plastic tote, it just means having to dig it out later when it's needed. That only results in a time-consuming mess.
Finally, I broke down and started buying pocket organizers. They aren't really attractive, but they can't be beat for convenient storage. I thought I would share some of the many ways I have incorporated these beauties into my daily life.
We have one large, heavy duty pocket organizer behind the door. This holds our accessories and things we like to access on our way out, including
- and anything else we like to have in our pockets.
We also have one in the closet for actual shoes. We placed a short pocket organizer on the end of the crib to hold lotion, story books, and other stuff that my daughter might need throughout the day or night.
When she was a smaller baby this included bags for the diaper pail, burp cloths, and Tylenol, as well as her grooming items. Now that she is older, she likes having her water cup and favorite stuffies close by in their own pockets.
I have two bathrooms, and both are the same size. Small. They offer just enough space to store one thing, so I can choose between storing the towels, storing the cleaning supplies, or storing the toiletries.
There can never be enough bathroom storage, so I added four organizers of different sizes to the master bath. Three of them are close to the shower to hold toiletries for each of us. They are great for:
- pedicure supplies
The children's organizer holds things such as shampoo, clean washcloths, baby oil, detangler spray, toothpaste, and an assortment of bath toys. The last organizer I cut down to make two short ones. One hangs at the end of the vanity and holds cleaning supplies such as cleaning rags, sponges, air freshener, etc.
For this, I use one of the canvas organizers, so I don't have to see cleaning rags every time I go into the bathroom. The other hangs by the sink to catch:
- hair ties
- hair pins
- nail clippers
- spare toothbrushes
We also roll our hand towels and store them in the bottom pockets, as well as washcloths and new scrubbies/bath poufs.
In the hall bath, (or guest bath, if you want to give it a lofty title) we keep:
- new bar of soap
- first aid supplies
- shampoo that can be used by either lady or gentlemen guests
- hand towels
I used to store the towels on the back of the toilet in a basket. Then I read how many germs are spread with each flush. and decided to change my unsanitary ways.
Organize Your Mobile Office
I don't always write or draw in the office. Like many people who work from home, my office is any convenient spot in the house. Therefore, my counters get stacked up with my supplies.
A small pocket organizer is great for holding the mouse, pens, a small notepad, a flash drive and index cards. These are the things I use the most. It is also a handy place to put things that we use daily for household office needs (stamps, envelopes, checkbook, etc.)
For this, I prefer my mesh organizers. They hold up better to cleaning (necessary if they are close to the kitchen!) and keep certain things (checkbook) out of sight.
Like most people these days, I have a computer desk rather than a writing desk. It is perfect for the computer, but has no drawers for storing all those fun office supplies.
So I hung a pocket organizer with clear vinyl pockets near the desk. It holds
A second organizer holds supplies for the electronics. This stuff used to be tangled in a box where we had to dig to find what we needed, such as:
- power chords
- flash drives
- iPod accessories
- canned air
- micro-fiber cloths
A third hangs by my husband's desk. It serves as a bill rack. It has twelve pockets, so due-bills go into a pocket labeled for the month in which they need to be paid.
We also keep the stamps, the checkbook, and the calculator in there to make bill paying fast and easy. (well, as easy as it gets.)
Double Your Storage
To maximize storage, and to customize pockets to hold slimmer bottles, such as perfume bottles; sew a vertical seam up the middle of each pocket, dividing it into two sections.
For the art enthusiasts, you can divide the pockets to make individual pockets for pencils, brushes, rulers, and other tools.
Both canvas and vinyl organizers can be further divided this way. Just remember to back-stitch at the start and finish of your seam to add extra strength and durability.
I don't use shoe racks in the kitchen now, but when we were remodeling and I didn't have cabinets and drawers, I used two.
One held utensils, towels, and potholders. The second kept the basic supplies such as salt, cooking oil, spices, cornstarch, etc close to the stove.
These have been moved now into the utility room, where they turn an awkward, unused wall-space into a storage center. The pockets are the perfect size to hold:
- furniture polish
- disinfectant Spray
- dryer sheets
- lint rollers
- plastic bags
The utility room is part pantry, so the second rack holds things that get lost on the shelves or that constantly fall off, such as:
- popcorn bags
- smart water
- chip clips
We keep a few household tools in there, so of course there are pockets for extension cords, glue, WD-40 and a few other maintenance must-haves.
Since my daughter doesn't actually sleep in her room, it is more of a playroom than a nursery at the moment. I keep shoe organizers in there that suit several purposes. The one in her closet is for:
- hair bows
- extra socks
- grooming supplies
By her dresser is a cute, funky organizer her aunt bought her. It is shaped like a pair of blue jeans. We use it for:
- watercolor paints
- colored pencils
- alphabet letters
- various home school supplies
The third organizer in her room is one that I made myself. It has big pockets for holding keepsake plushies and special storybooks.
In the bottom pockets she keeps her bracelets, socks, shoes, and assorted treasures.
Have you/do you use shoe organizers for alternate storage?
I won't even pretend that my craft room is organized. It is a perpetual work-in-progress.
Mostly because I know that the minute I put something up, I will have a great idea for a craft project and will pull it out again.
However, I still employ organizers in there, too. I have one specifically for art supplies. It holds:
- wood-burning supplies
Others are scattered about to hold thread, scissors, crochet hooks, ribbon, and yarn. One of these days I have a vision of having individual 'craft stations' dedicated to each of my hobbies, but for right now just having the supplies off of the floor is important.
Since I love re-purposing things for crafts I always have a collection of odds and ends. Never enough of anything to warrant a plastic container, so the pockets are ideal. Plus, if I can see all of the junk I am more inspired to use it.
Other Uses for Pocket Organizers
These are just a few of the many handy things pocket organizers can be used for.It is hard to think of something that shoe organizers CAN'T be used for! Here are a few things I will most likely use them for in the future
- First aid station: Important as my daughter gets older and more active.
- Under-the-sink organization: A small organizer to keep the most-used items right in hands-reach.
- Makeup and hair supplies: Much cleaner and easier than boxes or drawers.
- Jewelry: Especially for bracelets, watches and large items.
- Car: These are cheaper than the ones made for cars, and I am confident I can adapt one to fit the seat back. Great for water bottles, first aid kit, flashlight, wipes, books, toys and other necessities for travel.
Now that I know I can easily sew fabric pocket organizers, I intend to make several that match the rooms a little better. Until then, I am more than satisfied with the canvas and vinyl variety I can buy.
Shoe pocket organizers are affordable, they withstand some pretty rough abuse, and they are easy to clean. They are nice for shoes, but they are fantastic for everything else!