Saturday, March 22, 2008


Having a big family is wonderful, except when it is not. One of the times when it is not for me is when I am dealing with shoes.

Big family life is often about systems for success. We currently have a system for failure that involves church shoes and still-too-large-hand-me-down shoes in the kids closets, every day shoes that can be worn in public in the hall closest, and everything else (play shoes, rain boots, snow boots, hiking boots, roller blades, soccer shoes, flip flops, and water shoes) in the garage.

Our system fails in the garage. Navigating from the garage to the house is an extreme sport due to the number of shoes scattered by the door. CrazyMom and I will occasionally send a shoe organizing troop to the garage to sort and straighten all of the shoes, but the resulting pathway lasts only for a day.

I get so frustrated that my usually calm demeanor escapes me. Last summer I emerged from the house carrying a heavy box and I tripped over the plethora of shoes. Since nobody was around, I let my frustration carry me out of control and I starting kicking all of the shoes towards the garage wall where they belonged while making loud caveman grunts. Just as I was reaching the peak of my therapeutic temper tantrum, I happened to look over my shoulder and I saw someone in my neighbor’s driveway staring at me in disbelief. Ugh.

Well, I think I have converted our system of failure to a system of success. I purchased every family member a personal shoe bin and made the easy to follow rule that your shoes go in your bin before you come into the house. We are now 48 hours into the new system and we still don’t have shoe mayhem. My probability for insanity may be going down. Keep your fingers crossed.


Sherry said...

Great idea! We have a similar system in our garage with old milk crates put sideways that has seemed to work well. It doesn't look as neat as your boxes though! We have the same sort of thing for winter garments...hats, gloves, snow pants, etc. It can really be out of control with shoes AND winter gear around here! Organization will save your sanity! hehe

Kris Long said...

Hey CrazyD - whats with the "escaped boot" on top of the cool boxes?

Next Amish Day can you figure out a way to do that in our small - overpacked garage?

CrazyMom said...

I asked the same thing about the stray boot! I guess he doesn't even notice it compared to the chaos that used to be there!


Jim & Laurel said...

Great idea ... but we don't have room for 13 shoeboxes (11 kids living at home right now, and one more arriving in June).


-Ann said...

How's it going then? My only thought would be that since the boxes are stacked, they might not be as easy to get to. I organised a closet recently with these stacked up under-bed boxes and it turned out to be a nightmare. Anytime my husband wanted something, it was inevitably in the bottom box. We ended up pulling out all about one of the boxes and finding another home for them.

Good luck. I do so love a good system!

CrazyD said...

Kris and CrazyMom - I left the boot there. It seemed like cheating to put it in a bin before I took a picture for the blog.

Ann - I was just gone for 24 hours and when I came back all the shoes were in their bins. Yeah! I put the bins for adults and older kids on the bottom so that they would be big enough to move the bin on top. The little kids got the bins on top so they don't have to move anything. It seems to be working.

Julie said...

It's so great that the bottom bins are working...I was wondering if they would actually put the shoes in them if it took the extra effort (b/c I wonder if I would).

Jon was constantly harping on me about the 1-3 pairs of high heels that always seemed to get left in the kitchen when I would kick them off upon walking through the door after work!