Should you keep shoes in their boxes?
For years, many of us have believed that storing our shoes in cardboard or plastic shoe boxes is a safe storage solution. But is it? Sure, they keep our shoes organised and ‘somewhat protected’ but storing your shoes in these types of shoeboxes for long periods of time can cause irreparable damage and may affect the wearability of your beloved shoes in the long term.
If you are a shoe lover, then you understand the frustration of finding a place to keep them safe. It all comes down to how you take care of your shoes, how often you wear them and more importantly, how you store your shoes.
Every shoe needs tender and loving care from its owner. Cleaning and storing them shows how much you highly regard their role in your life. Preserving its day-one-quality can be a daunting task, especially if it’s worn every day. Having the right form of storage plays an essential part in keeping your shoes well organised, but it also makes them last longer.
What kind of shoe storage do you prefer? Cabinet? Hanging? Boxes? There are a lot of shoe storage ideas to explore. It is an issue that every one of us encounters, especially after moving to something new. This issue even got me to the point where I tried all sorts of storage options, before I found something I could live with.
If you have ever had the baffling experience of seeing a person who keeps all of their shoes in their original boxes, you might be wondering if you should also be keeping your shoes in the box. This thrilling topic of debate is controversial, not only because of the fact that so many shoeboxes are ugly and terribly banged up but also for some people it just seems like a strange thing to do when you could simply just haphazardly throw your shoes in a messy pile in your shoe closet by your front door.
There are two kinds of people in the world, assuming you exclude the people who buy literally any other kind of shoe storage. When it comes down to it, there are both benefits and pitfalls to storing your shoes in their original box.
Why does shoe storage matter?
For those who are more likely just to kick off their shoes and let the devil place them where he may, the mere concept of shoe storage might sound like a terrible waste of time. However, it is absolutely the case that people who just toss their shoes around are more likely to run them down very quickly.
If you don’t take care of your shoes, they will get trashed sooner than expected, and a major part of taking care of your shoes in a proper way is storage. So, theoretically, yes, you should keep your shoes in their original box in the event you will not store them in something otherwise.
Shoe storage is important for keeping your shoes safe from dangerous elements like sunlight, dust, and moisture, and gives them a safe space where they will not be trampled or left at horrible angles that will eventually change their shape. The primary benefit of keeping shoes in their original box is that they will have a safe and secure home for storage.
Though you might not want to keep your everyday shoes in their original box, shoes that get put away for certain seasons or are more for special occasions will be much happier sitting in their safe and secure box than they will just be tossed into the back of the closet.
Shoe boxes can protect your shoes and keep them in proper conditions to avoid any kind of residue or build-up, and this can drastically improve the overall lifespan of your shoe. However, there is no benefit to storing your shoes at all if you are going to put them away without cleaning them.
Storing shoes for a long amount of time without cleaning them is basically asking for them to be ruined because of your carelessness. When packing your storage unit, ensure that your high-priority boxes are placed near the front of the unit for easy access. The best part about plastic tubs is that you can stack one on top of the other without crushing or damaging the shoes inside. To make locating shoes as easy as possible, choose a section of your storage unit and devote it entirely to shoes. However, you should always stack them on top of a wooden pallet, and away from walls to prevent moisture from seeping in. The shoes that you want to leave in the box are shoes that you are not going to be using too frequently.
Aside from the tremendous inconvenience that would come with having to rifle through boxes every single day for your favourite sneakers, it is important to avoid putting away shoes when they are dirty, and your frequent walking shoes are much dirtier than you might think.
Aside from the daily grime that builds upon the shoes that you probably have no plans of wiping off every single day, there is also a sweat and bacteria factor that must be considered with this kind of situation. The reality is that shoes that you wear often will need time to air out because of the frequency with which you use them. You don’t want to put your sweaty footwear back in the box at the end of each day.
These shoes are more likely to have moisture in them from sweat, bacteria from your body over time, and all kinds of other general weirdness that should under no circumstances be sealed in a container. The proper candidate for shoes to be kept in a shoebox are your more special shoes that you want to keep nice.
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Shoe boxes give your shoes the highest level of protection from dust, sunlight and temperature extremes that can sap leather shoes of their flexibility. Boxing vintage shoes and boots after stuffing and wrapping them will help preserve fine leather, cork and other organic materials.
Plastic boxes are another alternative, but be sure shoes are spotless and dry before storing to prevent mildew growth. Another option is to replace original shoeboxes with photograph storage boxes. Whatever you choose, make sure the shoe storage box is acid-free.
Some people prefer to keep their shoes stored in their original boxes to protect them. Other people will forget about a pair of shoes if they can’t see them sitting on the floor or a shelf. If you want to keep shoes in a box to keep them clean and to make them easy to stack, there are a couple of options. Some people take a photo of their shoes and glue it to the outside of the box, and others will replace the original cardboard shoebox with a clear plastic one to make it easy to see the contents inside. Whatever you decide is fine if it works for you. The only thing that isn’t okay is keeping empty shoe boxes on the floor or shelves of your closet where they are collecting dust or taking up valuable space.
The box that your shoes came in is akin to their home. High-quality shoes should live in their home when they’re not being worn. Shoe boxes stack easily and offer the best protection for your shoes when they’re not being worn. A cool trick to easily identify your shoes without having to open boxes is to simply take a picture of the shoes and tape it to the outside of the box. Works like a charm!
Shoes need to be protected from dust, water, and sun, so they don’t fade or warp while they’re in storage. Storing your shoes properly will help them look great and last for several seasons. Shoe boxes give your shoes the highest level of protection from dust, sunlight and temperature extremes that can sap leather shoes of their flexibility.
When it comes to storing shoes safely in basements, you should be extra careful. Have plastic boxes for your shoes, never use regular boxes, or even worse do not ever just throw your shoes in a basement. It can be humid, and also a rodent or two can come along. Of course, it all depends on what condition your basement is. The best storage container for your shoes is the original shoe box. If you have disposed of these boxes, you should invest in similarly-sized cardboard boxes. To pack each box:
Line each box with packing paper to create a soft base on which your shoes can rest
- Insert balled-up packing paper into each shoe to help it maintain its shape
- Wrap each shoe in packing paper, ensuring that the shoe is completely clean before you start wrapping
- Place the wrapped shoes inside the shoe box and use tape to secure the lid
- Place boxes in plastic tubs.
Most of the time, shoe boxes are placed under the bed. But it can turn into a mess when it’s pushed further. Another problem encountered is the time you might end up spending in looking for a specific pair. This is one of the reasons why see-through shoe boxes were made available in the market.
People who keep the original boxes of their shoes are commonly sneaker collectors. It is often seen as an added value in case they decide to sell or trade their kicks. But storing shoes in shoe boxes does not necessarily mean keeping the shoes in their original boxes.
Most people throw away or recycle the boxes their shoes come in. What they don’t realise is that they’re getting rid of perfectly good—and free—means of shoe organisation. Store shoes that you don’t wear on a routine basis in their boxes, and stack those on a shelf in your closet. You can make retrieval easier by attaching a photo of your shoes to their box so it takes you no time at all to find them. If cardboard boxes aren’t your style, you can also purchase clear boxes that are specially made for storing shoes. While you’ll be able to see into the boxes, you still might want to consider using the photo idea if your closet isn’t well lit or if the boxes will be placed on high shelves.
Shoe storage boxes do no favours for shoe longevity
Damaged red heels when your shoes are not properly cared for or are rarely worn, and not exposed to the fresh air; the glue and soles will eventually dry out, and cause your shoes to fall apart and the heels to break away or crumble (see picture). This damage is due to the lack of air circulation, improper storage methods and other environmental factors. It doesn’t matter if you have spent $20 on a pair of shoes or $200, keeping them in these boxes – especially the plastic ones – can cause your shoes to crumble, fall apart, peel, mould, disfigure the material and the framework, and deteriorate. It is better to take preventative action now and find other, safer, more natural alternatives to best store and care for your shoes.
Whether you’ve spent a small or large fortune in acquiring your shoes or your shoe collection – you should take great pride in wearing them, often. If space permits, I’ve found that shoe racks, shoe cubes, and open shelves are the safest shoe storage solution. Unlike cardboard and plastic shoe boxes, storing your loves on shoe racks, also, naturally exposes them to fresh air and allows air to freely circulate in and around your shoes and wardrobe, especially if there is an open window nearby (they’ll love it!). By having your shoes spaced out on a shoe rack, they’re always visible and within arms reach. Wearing your shoes, and not having them stored or (unintentionally) hidden increases the probability of you actually wearing your shoes which will, in turn, promote their longevity.
Shoe racks or shoe cubes are also quick to assemble or are already built for immediate use. They’re readily available in a variety of designs, colours, woods, and materials for your convenience. Whether you have five pairs or 100 pairs, they will keep your shoes tidy and organised. A quick wipe down is all they need to keep them clean. Bonus!
Is It Better to Store Shoes in the Original Boxes?
Stores and factories store shoes in their original cardboard boxes. So that is a pretty convincing argument for the use of the original box the shoes came in. On the other hand, have you noticed how most shoe stores will have a summer and winter stock sale? That is because they’d rather sell their stock before it goes out of fashion, of course, but also because cardboard boxes, while cheap, do not make for good storage solutions.
In the first-place cardboard tends to accumulate humidity. Just leave an empty box in a bathroom or a humid cellar, and you will see just how gross it gets in just a couple of months. That humid card box then becomes a breeding ground for all type of smelly bacteria.
Of course, it is because of its humidity absorbing properties that cardboard boxes are preferred for the first few months while the shoes are in transit or are waiting on store shelves. However, if you are planning to store the shoes for longer periods of time, especially in wetter climates, it would definitely be a good idea to go with an alternative, like a plastic box.
There are a few reasons why you should use clear bins when storing shoes. First and foremost, being able to see into the bins allows you to find the shoes you want quickly. If you are storing shoes long-term, it is essential to use plastic bins. Plastic bins protect against moisture, humidity, and pests, while standard cardboard shoe boxes will not. If the shoes are seasonal or only for special occasions
Then a box is a way to go. The box can protect the shoes from dust, sunlight and temperature. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in the original box—some people prefer to use plastic boxes so they can see the shoes that are inside. You should also stuff them with acid-free paper so that they retain their shape (if you are storing them for a month or longer, you might also want to wrap them in the acid-free paper). Remember, the paper must be acid-free since acid can damage the shoe materials.
Put them in boxes for longer storage. If you’re storing shoes that you don’t plan on wearing for a month or more, it’s best to store them in a box. You can store shoes in their original shoe boxes or use clear plastic containers so you’ll be able to see what shoes you’ve stored. Old wine boxes are good substitutes for shoeboxes if you can’t locate a pair’s original box. Wrap the shoes in acid-free tissue paper to keep them safe during storage.
You can also use silica gel to keep the shoes of the material are made from fresh. You can purchase a container of silica gel from a craft store. For shoes that are especially susceptible to moisture damage like leather shoes, place silica packs in the bins with them. Silica packets help absorb moisture and avoid mould or warping.
Linen and plastic are common materials for shoe boxes. For a durable and chic option, there are two things to keep in mind; choose clear or transparent shoeboxes to make it easy to look for your shoes or choose stackable boxes that have a door opening on the side or a drop front to save space.
When it comes to storing shoes safely in basements, you should be extra careful. Have plastic boxes for your shoes, never use regular boxes, or even worse do not ever just throw your shoes in a basement. It can be humid, and also a rodent or two can come along. Of course, it all depends on what condition your basement is. One major problem that comes with keeping shoes in their original box is that some shoes need more specific arrangements when it comes to sending them on a relaxing vacation.
Leather shoes and shoes of comparable style are known to be particularly sensitive to moisture, which means you only want to store them in the box if you can guarantee that absolutely no dampness will get locked inside of the box with them. If this happens, your shoes may very well be ruined. In addition to this, shoes must be stored a specific way when you place them in a box.
More often than not, you may want to consider additional storage techniques or more breathable alternatives to a shoebox if you are planning on storing your nicest shoes. If you don’t want to store your shoes in their original shoebox, there are a million options that you can buy or make yourself if you are a DIY person.
In conclusion, you can store shoes in plastic boxes; however, you need to make sure they are moisture-free both in terms of the shoes going in and in relation to the room where the box ends up. There is something to be said about the moisture absorbing properties of cardboard, but, in the long run, plastic is better, and it gives you the advantage that you can easily pick the shoes you need without having to open a lot of boxes. You should absolutely store your shoes in shoe boxes if the alternative would under any circumstances fall into the shoe abuse category.
Though you might think that it doesn’t matter what happens to your shoes, in the long run, proper shoe storage can save you time, money, and headaches. Proper shoe storage is key to maintaining your shoes and extending their lifespan, but it’s not the only thing you can do to keep your footwear looking great.
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