Shoe collection

Four weeks.

That’s how long I was without my shoe collection.

Seriously, can you EVEN?

We took down my previous shoe shelves around a week before we moved out, you see. We had to do it: it was one of the conditions of the sale of the house, but what I had naively imagined would be a simple case of “remove shelves: DONE! Now go and drink wine!” was a little more involved than that, because, of course, once the shelves came down, the wall behind them had to be re-skimmed. And once the wall was skimmed, it had to dry out for a couple of days. And once it was dry, it had to be re-painted. And once it was re-painted… actually, that’s basically the end of that saga, because Terry was still putting the second coat on that wall while our friends were carrying all our furniture out to the truck. And then the new owner painted it a different colour anyway, but I digress. My point was: it took a while, so the shoes had to be the first thing to be packed for the move. And then they had to be the LAST thing to be unpacked AFTER the move, because there wasn’t much point in emptying out all of those boxes until I had somewhere to actually put them.

Enter Terry, and his all-round  awesomeness. He’s worked really, REALLY hard over the past few weeks, and nowhere is that more apparent than in my shiny new dressing room, one wall of which contains this fabulous, made-to-measure shoe storage system. The other wall, meanwhile, contains literally ALL my clothes. It’s… not quite as neat as this wall is. It’s also not quite finished yet, and we have lots of finishing touches to put to the room before I can show you it in all its glory, but for now, here are the shoes!

shoe room shoe shelves

shoe shelves storage system


shoe wall

(Apologies if the photos in this post are making you feel sea-sick by the way: the small size of the room, and the lack of a wide-angle lens to photograph it with meant that it was impossible to fit everything in without resorting to some crazy angles!)

(I also feel I have to point out that the 3rd photo down is two photos, both showing the same shelf: it doesn’t go around a corner. I mean, it’s good, but it’s not THAT good…)

The shelves are also not TOTALLY finished, and there are a few tweaks to be made, but what you see here is more or less IT. When we were discussing this room, we initially talked about using exactly the same kind of shelves as in the previous house, but given my propensity to keep buying MOAR shoes, and then cramming them onto the shelves anywhere they’d fit, they’d started to look a little messy by the time we took them down, so we decided to go for something a little bit neater, which would allow me to display the shoes as the little works of art they are:

empty shoe shelves

As I said, these shelves were made-to-measure, and were totally created by Terry himself. We did look at some ready-made options, like the Ikea ‘Expedit’ bookcase, but we quickly realised that if we wanted to maximise our use of the space, and get as many shoes in as possible, we would have to DIY it. Or rather, TIY it. (Er, that would be “Terry It Yourself.” ) The Ikea system, for instance, would’ve ended up costing us more (Especially given that we were able to re-use the wood from the old shelves to make these: Terry chopped them up to create the vertical dividers between each shoe…), but would only have given us half the storage these shelves provide, so it was a no-brainer, really. Well, it was for ME, anyway. Poor Terry was the one who had to slog it out, working day and night to create the perfect home for my beloved shoes.

He finally finished it late Friday night, and I spent Saturday morning unpacking the boxes…

shoe collection, laid out on floor

and then carefully deciding which shoe would occupy which space.

OK, I lie: we were going out in the afternoon, and I was already running late by the time I’d finished arranging them all in rows on the floor (Well, SOMEONE has to Instagram the hell out of those shoes, don’t they?), so I actually did the shelving of the shoes in about 20 minutes flat. Then I called Terry upstairs and we both stood there, basking in the glow of their beauty.

closet organisation | shoe shelves

“That shoe’s crooked,” said Terry. “Also, those ones on the bottom row are, like, REALLY boring.”

And that was that.

I’ve tweaked the arrangement a little bit since then, and I’m sure I’ll change my mind a hundred times before I’m totally happy with where they all are, but for now I’m just enjoying having them all back in my life again, and in a place I can get to them without digging through three boxes first.

Terry, meanwhile, is just enjoying not having to think about shoes for a while, and thanking his lucky stars that I’m not a handbag girl. I think he deserves a gold medal, don’t you? Or a round of applause, at the very least…

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  1. Just OMG. I am actually green with envy at the moment. My shoe storage system is basically stacking the boxes up in a precarious fashion along one wall of the wardrobe room, along the tops of all the wardrobes, in my kitchen cupboards and then in Ikea bags under the bed. I can never find the ones I want.
    Do you keep your shoeboxes?

  2. That is so gorgeous! Congratulations on the new amazing pigeonhole system. I love how you arranged them in different ways, it varies them and really does make them look like a display.

  3. Wow! They look fabulous! Well done Terry! How do you manage to get any work done though, I think I would just want to stand and admire them all day!

  4. Does Terry read your blog Amber? If so, Terry you are awesome! Seriously that looks so fantastic after so much hard work. Enjoy Amber, if that were mine I think I’d just sit in there starring all the time.. 🙂

  5. AMAZING!! This is essentially exactly what I told my other half I wanted for my collection as I dragged him on yet another ikea trip on Sunday! I’ve had the same issue with ready built units in that the dimensions just don’t work and half the space would end up empty, not to mention the pesky dado rails in our spare room! Sadly mine isn’t quite as handy as Terry! Hey, if he ever fancies a career change you could start a line of bespoke shoe storage solutions!

    1. It’s just 25cm squares, no bother at all, less than £100 of wood as well so a lot cheaper than IKEA 😀 I was tempted with IKEA’s solution but I wanted the shelves to fit right to the ceiling (just finishing the last level) and none of the shelves I could buy did that in a neat way.

  6. Hi Amber

    The shoes are fabulous! I have not get bought an expensive pair of shoes over £200 yet as I’m a bag girl, but the urge is getting stronger!!!

    Please can you let me know where you got your fabulous red skirt?


  7. So, so jealous! Those shelves are amazing! How will you decide which pair to sub out if you get an even more fabulous pair though?
    Sounds like Terry would get on well with my H, made to measure shelves are just the kind of thing that he would make.
    Looking forward to seeing the clothing storage area.

  8. He really deserves a medal! Wow! He did an amazing job! Well done Terry!
    These shelves look even better than the previous ones, and the way you put the shoes on the shelves makes them look like pieces of art. You’re a really lucky girl, and you have an amazing shoe collection. I’m jealous! But you know, in a good way! I always imagined my walk in closet for my future-home with lots of Expedit bookcases from Ikea to fit my shoes, and bags, but these are way better. WOW!

  9. So jealous of your shoe shelves! Right now, all my shoes are in cheep over the door style storage bags because that’s all I have room for. But that’s an improvement over being thrown in a pile on the bottom of my closet floor! Plus no spiders!

    Terry did a great job. He could have a nice side business going, building shoe shelves for all the shoe obsessed out there!

  10. I have long maintained that Terry is a wonderful man and I think this just proves it. My system of keeping my shoes in their boxes with a photo on the front is effective, but nowhere near as cool as this.

    You know we love you Terry!

  11. OMG Amber all I can say is uuuuuuuuuggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh I’ve just died and gone to heaven. Words fail me.

    (I showed your post to my husband whose immediate response was to just look at me and very sternly say “NO” – I don’t know why he thought I meant anything other than just showing him the pretty shoes?! I didn’t say ANYTHING about him building me some shelves like yours. I just wanted to show him the pretty shoes. On the lovely white shelves.)


    Catherine x

  12. Total shoe envy – just found you blog and as another shoe addict although you beat me hands down, looking forward to following your adventures in shoes and style – which is fabulous – loving the vintage vibe -as a die hard vintage fan with a modern twist!!

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