With so many kids at so many different ages and stages, it seems there is always someone who is in need of either new clothes or new shoes. After organizing all the kid clothes and swapping out the winter for the summer clothes, I figured I might as well dive into the shoes as well. Storing shoes can be much more tricky than storing clothes.
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Why Have a Shoe Inventory?
Shoes are SO expensive. I stock up on end of season sales, or whenever I find shoes on clearance. I love to thrift shop, and sometimes find shoes that are basically brand new. Recently, I found some super cute boots for only $4 that were in perfect condition! They are not the perfect size for my daughter right now, but they will totally fit her next year. I checked my list and didn’t have boots in that size, so I felt totally fine purchasing them. Anytime I am out and see a great deal, I simply grab the sizes I need and go.
It seems that kids always tell you at the least convenient time that they need something. You are on the way to school and you hear “by the way, my shoes have been tight for a really long time…” or, “I have to wear bare feet with my shoes because they won’t fit with socks on anymore…”
I try to keep my kids shoes stocked at least one size bigger than they are currently wearing. This gives me plenty of time to shop around whenever I am out. It saves money too buying things at a lower price than a last minute emergency purchase would be. Keeping my shoe inventory in the notes section of my phone helps me stay on top of the shoe sizes at all times.
How to Store Shoes:
Storing shoes can be tricky. When storing clothes, you can cram as much as will fit into a box and close the lid. When storing shoes, you need to make sure there is adequate room for the shoes to maintain their shape. Girls flats are the hardest to store. Also, anything with sparkles, bows, or other decorations can tend to get ripped off or crumpled over time if not given enough space.
We store our shoes in Rubbermaid 18 Gallon totes. These seem to last forever compared to the less expensive brands. If something heavy gets stored on top of the tote, the tote still holds its shape and the shoes don’t squish together inside. I keep all the little baby shoes together in a plastic bag inside the tote. Those generally don’t get worn out so they are just passed on from baby to baby. Tennis shoes are stacked on top of each other, and flats and church shoes are addressed on an individual basis to give them their space.
Hand-Me-Down Shoe Qualifications:
In order for a shoe to be acceptable to store for the next kid, it has to have:
- no holes anywhere
- good tread
- no major staining from mud or whatever else kid shoes get stained with
- has enough life left for another season of wear
The shoes I buy are pretty limited. Each kid gets a pair of tennis shoes or play shoes and a pair of church shoes.We don’t do flip flops. At all. There is always a baby in some form of crawling or scooting. In my opinion, flip flops are just bare feet that don’t get burned on the pavement. Any feet in shoes without socks bring in the same gross germs as just wearing shoes in the house. (This is my opinion, I know I may stand alone in this, and I am totally fine with that.)
Girl shoes are just so different than boy shoes. In addition to their play shoes, they sometimes have church sandals if there is a special occasion, and cute boots for winter time if I can find them at a stellar price. We try to buy pretty basic shoes that will match everything. Church shoes are always black, tennis shoes are basic, not super stylish or covered in sparkles and beads that will fall off over time. Get the free printable Girl Shoes Inventory here.
My boys have never really seemed to care if they have extra shoes or not. They go through their shoes quite a bit faster than my girls, so they get new shoes more often and I don’t feel like they are missing out on anything. Again with the boys, church shoes are always black (I try to avoid laces as much as possible too). Tennis shoes are always basic shoes not plastered with the latest movie characters or anything. Get the free printable Boys Shoe Inventory here.
We have a bunch of shoes that are for whoever fits them. These are mostly ‘specialty shoes’. My husband likes to river raft and kayak and tries to take the kids on at least one river trip a year. We have tried to build a pretty good store of gender neutral river shoes for the kids. Their feet grow so quickly it seems ridiculous to pay major money for shoes they will wear for a week or so before they outgrow them. We do the same with winter boots. Buy them second hand or at the end of the season and stay as gender neutral as possible.
I will mark these sandals (river shoes) and boots on both of the Kid Shoe Inventory sheets to help me keep track of what I have. If I happen to have a half size of a shoe, I simply specify that on the Inventory as well.
Live and Learn
When I went through our shoes just barely, I had crammed a few too many shoes into the totes and had to throw out a bunch because they had worn out funny or completely lost their shape. Live and learn, right? I am also being WAY more picky now about what I purchase and what I save to hand down to other kids.
How do you store kid shoes?