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How To Organize Your Accessories

It took me three hours, but I finally tamed the mess of shoes, belts and bags that had been holding my room hostage for weeks. I live in New York, so my apartment is tiny, but definitely not small enough that accessories should make it impossible for me to actually walk around in my bedroom. I’d been practicing the flying leap from doorway to bed method. Or sometimes just sleeping with my roommate to avoid the issue entirely. Needless to say, the whole thing was getting pathetic. So, with the help of an over-the-door shoe rack, two pretty shoe boxes and a bunch of garbage bags, I fixed the situation. Here’s how to turn a sea of shoes and more belts than anyone needs into something less likely to make your room a major cause of rage.

  • Get the necessary storage tools. For me, that meant this over-the-door shoe rack. Technically it holds 36 pairs of shoes, but do it my way and it holds a bunch of shoes, 50 million belts and all of your clutches. And if it doesn’t, you officially have a problem. (Because I have a problem and it holds mine.)
  • Throw things out. There’s no point organizing things that you’re not realistically going to use. Those beat-up black pumps from three years ago? You haven’t worn them for months and you’re not going to magically decide that hobo shoes are suddenly your best look. Give them up.
  • Now toss any extra shoe boxes you’ve been saving just because they look pretty. Those things take up space that I’m assuming you don’t have. Yes, they’re shiny, but you’ll make it through this.
  • Use your new shoe rack as much for artsiness as utility by choosing your 12-18 prettiest pairs of shoes. (Note: this rack probably isn’t a total substitute for alternative shoe storage — like a closet. It is, however, a way to get the shoes that won’t fit on your shelves off the floor.)
  • You’ll be able to fit about 3 pairs of shoes per rack row. Starting just above the middle, organize the shoes downwards, alternating rows of heels and flats if possible. This will keep the heels from running into the shoes on the row below and hurting your babies.
  • Now, start as high as you can reach and loop your belt collection around the empty shoe rungs. I needed to use two rows, but you maybe had the good sense to realize that no one needs a belt for every day of the year and might only have to use one row for belts.
  • Now, you should have at least a couple of rows remaining around eye level; use these like a shelf for clutches and small purses.
  • Voila! You have now taken full advantage of every inch of rack space. If you’ve still got odds and ends, save two of your loveliest shoe box bottoms and use them to store tchotchkes.
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