The Life-Changing Magic of Shoe Boxes

For a little change of pace, I want to talk today about dealing with small closets. Because that’s what I have. And that’s what frustrates me.

Let’s start from the beginning…

In Spain, most old houses (and I live in an old house) don’t have built-in closets. People buy huge, expensive, wooden wardrobes for the rooms – they’re beautiful, but not exactly spacious. Additionally, in my room, the ceiling curves down, leaving an awkward space between the closet and the wall. My total storage space (including the awkward gap) is probably about a meter and a half long and a meter deep. For all my clothes, shoes, and bags. I’ll be telling you in depth over a series of posts about how I am making this (sort of) work, but today I’d like to start with my most favorite invention ever:

The shoe box.

Last spring, I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I found it quite inspiring, especially in the closet aspect. In the book, she mentions how useful shoe boxes can be. I found a stash of shoe boxes in the attic, and put her theory to the test: turns out, it’s true.

In this picture, you can see the before of the whole closet:


…and of the drawers:

In this picture, the afters:

What I’ve done is take all my shirts (and socks and underpants and bras) and put them into shoe boxes – but the shirts are stored vertically, so I can see all of them (see Marie Kondo’s book for some nifty folding advice, too!). This allows me to use the bottom part of my closet, beneath clothes hanging on the rod. Sometimes it’s not easy to see all my shirts, but since they’re in shoe boxes, it’s quite easy to take the shoe box out into the light, decide what to wear, and put the box back:


No more digging through piles of shirts to find the one you want! No more shirts that go years unworn because they’re gotten shoved to the bottom and forgotten! And best of all, the shoe boxes let me use space that was formerly useless (or at least very cluttered), clearing out drawer space for other things.

I’ve also started using shoe boxes for my underpants, bras, and socks, following the same principal. It works just as well (just so happens that the bottom part of the shoe box fits perfectly in my drawers, almost as if somebody designed it that way…). And finally, I use one to store all my small bags and coin purses so that they don’t get lost, and another to store hair accessories (fascinators are a thing, here in Spain).

So, give it a try: find a shoe box, put some things in it, and see if it works for you. If you’re bothered by the aesthetics, some washi tape and wrapping paper will do the trick!

On following episodes: my second favoritest invention, from the Container Store. Take a look at the right hand side of the full closet picture for a sneak peek…

Organizedly yours,


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