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15 surprising ways to organize with over-the-door shoe holders

The Container Store over the door storage
The Container Store

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As the new year grinds into gear, lots of us make resolutions to get organized. Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a rambling house, that inner call to declutter can be strong. But it can also be intimidating.

Where to start? Get yourself an over-the-door shoe organizer.

“They are so versatile, I think I use them for everything BUT shoes!” says certified professional organizer, C. Lee Cawley.

This storage solution provides quick and easy access to your belongings, streamlining them into uniform-sized pockets — all within a vertical space you wouldn’t have otherwise used. Imagine the satisfying feeling of slinging this holder over a door, then filling each pocket with all the items now cluttering your closet, desk or counter.

Best of all, an over-the-door shoe holder can organize virtually anything, from toys to clothes to art supplies and beyond. We asked four professional organizers to offer their best 15 ways to use an over-the-door shoe organizer.

1. Systematize Your Home Office Supplies

Image courtesy of C. Lee Cawley

Stop wondering where you left all your highlighter pens — give them a designated pocket, alongside all your other office supplies.

“My favorite place to use over-the-door shoe organizers is on the back of an office door,” says Cawley, who provides professional organizing services in Arlington, Virginia. “They are PERFECT for all of the various office supplies like pens, pencils, staplers, Post-its, tape, glue, you name it.”

2. Stash Your Yoga Pants and Workout Tops Together

Image courtesy of Holly McKinley

Workout clothes are the sort of daily, grab-and-go clothing items you want to be readily available. Roswell, Georgia-based professional home organizer Holly McKinley of Holly’s in the House recommends rolling them up and stashing them inside the closet door for easy access.

She specifically recommends The Container Store’s 24-Pocket Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer because the clear pockets make it easy to find small items. And, she adds, this organizer’s “wide, horizontal compartments make it suitable for storing clothes.”

3. Corral Your Kids’ Toys


$10 at Target

Clear shoe holders are great to hold any toy collection, such as Barbies, blocks and other small games that have tons of pieces,” says professional organizer Lauren Saltman of Living. Simplified., which is based in the coastal New England area.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine a better way to store Legos.

“Whether you want to store them by color, size or shape, being able to see the Lego bricks is a benefit to your children,” she says. And if your child’s Squishmallow collection seems to have spontaneously multiplied, this is a great way to get them all off the floor!

4. Create a Station for Mudroom Odds and Ends

Image courtesy of Holly McKinley

A mudroom is a great spot to transform a shoe organizer into a universal catch-all.

“Keep things that you grab on the way out the door, such as compact umbrellas, scarves, hats, gloves, dog leash and waste bags, sunscreen, bug spray, and items for the car, like tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer, lotions, and a lint roller,” says McKinley.

This one is moisture-proof, breathable and durable — a welcome spot for even your wet umbrella.

5, Organize Your Bathroom Supplies

@tipsandtrickswithq #lifehacks #tipsandtrickswithQ #tiptok #storage #organization #longervideos #tipsandtricks ♬ Ultimate life hacks – Kelly – The Life Bath

Of all the rooms in your home, the bathroom is the most likely to be lacking in storage space. It also happens to be a place where lots of items need corralling.

“If you are someone who needs extra space, consider adding a shoe organizer to the back of the door,” says Saltman. “Use a row for your styling tools (just be sure they have cooled down before returning them to the organizer), use another row for your hair styling products, another row for shampoos, and one for soaps. You can even keep your small hand towels and extra toilet paper in the organizer.”

TikTok user @tricksandtipsfromq stitched her tip to the popular “Show me the life hack that you randomly saw one day that is now an unconscious standard practice in your life” intro.

6. Stash Your Coat Closet Essentials for Easy Access

Image courtesy of C. Lee Cawley

Coat closets store a lot more than coats, especially in the winter. To keep gloves, scarves and hats from becoming a jumbled mass on the closet floor, hang an over-the-door organizer to stash them neatly.

Cawley stores these winter weather accessories during the cold months and swaps them out for baseball caps, bug spray and sunscreen in the summer. She also suggests adding “an extra pair of socks or two if you store shoes in the coat closet.”

7. Create a Mail Center

Image courtesy of Holly McKinley

If you are working remotely, you may find yourself in need of shipping supplies. But these can be bulky, especially in a home office.

“An over-the-door organizer can also serve as a mail center when stocked with envelopes, postage, packing tape, and return labels,” says McKinley. Just make sure to buy a shoe organizer with horizontal compartments that can fit business-sized envelopes.

8. Have Water Bottles Ready to Grab and Go


$14 at Amazon

The beauty of over-the-door shoe organizers is their versatility. Different households have different needs. For one of Cawley’s clients, the challenge was containing all of their water bottles.

“They had dozens of water bottles for different sports,” she says. So, she hung the shoe holder pockets over a door in a mudroom “so that they could grab them quickly on the way out the door and fill them in the garage from the fridge there with ice and water.”

9. Organize Your Art Supplies


$12 at Walmart

Not everyone has room for a craft closet, but crafters (or parents of crafty kids) can usually find a door to hang an organizer on.

“This is another instance where using a clear organizer can be very helpful, especially for young children that can’t read yet,” says Saltman. “Put glitter in one section, glue in another, markers in another, and crayons in another section. Group items together so it’s easy to see where they belong.”

10. Put Small Pantry Items on the Door

Image courtesy of C. Lee Cawley

Whether your kitchen pantry is tiny — or you have no pantry at all — you can always squeeze in some more storage space by adding an over-the-door organizer.

“Free up shelf space by putting smaller items such as spice packets, sauces, and salad dressings in the shoe organizer,” says McKinley. “Go with a wipeable material here.”

See-through pockets are great; labeling the pockets is even better.

11. Keep All your Gift Wrap Supplies in One Place

@adoredbymorgan_ 🎀$6.92 GIFT WRAP ORGANIZATION HACK 🎀 This inexpensive over-the-door shoe organizer makes the perfect storage for all your wrapping supplies! 🎁 I LOVE this hack! The clear pockets allow you to see everything you have: tags, bows, gift toppers, ribbons, bags, tissue paper – you name it! Instead of your floor looking like a Christmas explosion, this hack utilizes vertical space and keeps everything neat, tidy, and easily accessible! The best part is how affordable and easy this idea is to implement! Follow for more wrapping tips + hacks and last-minute gift ideas! 🎅🏼 • • • • • • #christmasdecor #christmasdecorations #homedecor #holidayinspo #tistheseason #12daysofchristmas #christmasinspo #anthro #anthrohome #pinkchristmas #christmasdiy #wrapping #giftwrapping #giftwrappingideas #fyp #fypシ #fypシ゚viral #foryou #foryoupage #fypage #capcut ♬ Wrap Me Up – Jimmy Fallon & Meghan Trainor

“Over-the-door storage is definitely an underutilized area that makes great use of vertical space,” says professional organizer Jill Moore of Organized Jill in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In clients’ homes, she’s put them to use in many ways, including to store gift-wrapping supplies.

That particular hack is also a popular trend on TikTok. Watch the clever way TikTok user @adoredbymorgan put her gift wrap station together.

12. Create a Hanging Garden

@officialgoodful Repurpose a shoe organizer into a vertical hanging garden 🌿 #gardenproject #gardening #homeproject #fyp ♬ Mythic – Chris Alan Lee 

$10 at Amazon

Saltman also suggests a novel outdoor use for an over-the-door shoe organizer.

“Are you an avid gardener?” she says. “Do you like to grow plants from seeds or cuttings? Try using a shoe organizer to grow your new plants.”

Need a little tutorial? TikTok user @officialgoodful demonstrates how to create a hanging garden using an over-the-door shoe organizer, complete with clothespins as name tags for the plants.

13. Make Your Own Advent Calendar

@sarahkm15 Our DIY advent calendar for the month of December. We used an over the door shoe organizer! #diy #christmas #adventcalendar #christmasdiy #diyproject #christmascountdown #christmastiktok #christmasdecor ♬ Like It’s Christmas – Jonas Brothers 

Advent calendars are all the rage these days, and not just for Christmas, either. If you’re a parent who’s looking for a fun activity to keep restless kids occupied in the weeks leading up to a holiday, consider creating a homemade one with a shoe organizer.

“Using a shoe organizer to set this up is so practical,” says McKinley, who’s done this for Christmas. “Place one item in each pocket (if the pockets are clear, conceal the item in an envelope to keep it a surprise). I like to vary the contents, with a rotation of small treats, messages about Advent, coupons for a fun activity, and simple toys (a balsa wood airplane or craft supply).”

14. Keep Your Cleaning Supplies Together

@home_reimagined Untraditional uses for hanging shoe organizers, part 1. #diyproject #cleantok #organizedhome #cleanhack #lifehackvideo #lifehack #organize #clean #diy ♬ Ooh Ahh (My Life Be Like) [feat. Tobymac] – Grits 

Do you ever struggle to find the right cleaning product from the group of items hiding in the dark cabinet under the sink? It may be time to find a different spot for them. TikTok user @home_reimagined shows followers how to set it up in this great take on this recommended use.

Saltman says that a back-of-door organizer will allow you to “organize the supplies by use, having one row for floors, one for toilets, and so on.”

This will not only grant you easier access, but you can stow the dangerous chemicals in high pockets that children can’t reach.

“When storing chemicals in this manner, make sure the shoe organizer you choose is one that is washable,” Saltman adds, “because we all know that spills and leaks happen and you’ll want to make sure you can easily clean up any mess.”

15. Store Your Shoes


$19 at Amazon

Granted, storing shoes in a shoe organizer isn’t a particularly interesting tip. But if your closet floor happens to be littered with tossed-off shoes, consider using an organizer in the manner for which it was created!

If you are storing shoes, “you will want to choose something open and ventilated over a plastic sleeve so the shoes can breathe after they’ve been on your feet all day,” says Moore.

And think twice if your shoe collection is man-sized.

“The pocket style over the door organizer almost never works for men’s’ shoes because they are too bulky for the sleeve,” she warns.

About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer

Jennifer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including American Baby, Cosmo, Cosmo Girl, Fit Pregnancy, Good Housekeeping, Health, Marie Claire, Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Self, Teen People, TV Guide, and YM. More.