Let’s be honest, you’ve probably spent years collecting shoes, so why not make sure they get the best treatment possible during your next move? Packing all that footwear when moving home would not exactly be a walk in the park for many of us. While throwing them all together in a box seems the most tempting packing solution, this will most likely not keep them in the best possible shape. To prevent any damage associated with moving, you need to pack your shoes in the most effective way you can.

Here are some useful tips and tricks to help you properly pack shoes the next time you move home.

1. Have Packing Supplies at the Ready

You will surely want to make sure you pack your shoes in the best possible way. To do so, you’ll firstly want to get the supplies you’ll need. Consider using the following:

  • Large moving boxes
  • Old shoe boxes
  • Packing paper
  • Marker
  • Packing tape

2. Reduce Space by Purging Your Shoe Collection

When moving, it’s a good idea to go through your shoes and decide whether there are some that you could dispose of. Chances are you have plenty of items of footwear you’re not wearing regularly, so why not do a purge? Consider saying goodbye to those shoes you really like but which are so worn-out now. And what about the seasonal shoes that are not going to be climate-friendly in the new area you’re moving to? The practical thing to do is to have a good look at all this footwear and think about the best ways to dispose of them. Consider donating some pairs to charity if they are still in good condition, or to toss them if they’re not. If possible, recycle them properly instead of just throwing them in the trash. This way, you are only hanging on to those pairs of shoes that are still in good shape and that you will wear again — and you are saving space while moving.

donate shoes

3. Group Shoes by Type

Take at least an hour — or more if you own an impressive collection of footwear — to go through all your shoes. You can group them into several categories: casual, seasonal, formal and maybe others. You can even go a step further and sort them into boots, sneakers, high heels, stiletto shoes, flip-flops, slippers, etc. This will help you pack your shoes more easily.

4. Make Sure Shoes Are Clean and Dry

Make sure your shoes are clean before you start packing them. If you’re moving long-distance, you might like to think about putting your footwear into self storage. Remove dust and dirt from your shoes and look out for those pesky bits of stone embedded in the soles that can cause damage later on. Additionally, as you’re moving to a new home, you’ll surely want to start with a clean slate, and unpacking things that are clean and ready to be worn adds to that good feeling.

It’s important that your shoes are dry before packing them to avoid any mold developing while they’re being moved. You could spray them with anti-bacterial spray or perhaps use rubbing alcohol. Powder the insides to eliminate any moisture. A similar effect can be attained by placing fragrant tea bags inside the shoes. This will keep them fresh when you unpack them in your new home. Think lavender, mint or orange scented teabags. Additionally, the night before moving day, let them air dry.

5. Stuff Shoes With Crumpled Paper or With Socks

To help shoes keep their natural shape during the move, you can stuff them with wrapping paper. Remember to wrap them on the outside as well. Helpful tip: wrap one shoe completely in packing paper and add its pair in the same wrapping. In doing so, you’re avoiding getting scuff marks on your favorite shoes and keeping pairs together. Any other soft fabric will do but avoid using newspaper because you could get ink stains on your shoes.

Socks can work just as well to prevent your shoes from getting crushed while being moved into your new home. Take a pair of rolled up socks and stuff it down the toe, which will help maintain the shape of the shoe. This hack can serve double-duty, helping you to easily pack socks at the same time. Now, if you’re packing boots that go beyond the ankle, make sure to stuff them all the way up to the top. Whenever you’re packing high heels, you should wrap the heels in bubble wrap to prevent them from breaking while in transit.

However tempting it may be to just go for plastic bags, refrain from throwing all your shoes into one big bag. This can easily tear during the move, leaving your precious footwear exposed to smushing or soiling. Additionally, plastic bags trap moisture which can cause serious damage to your footwear, leading to mold growth and deformation.

6. Pack the Nicer Pairs in Their Original Shoeboxes

When it comes to the more expensive pairs of heels or that perfectly polished pair of loafers, you want to give them an added layer of protection by packing them in their original boxes, if they’re still available. This way, they are not only protected from damage, but the pairs are kept together, so you don’t muddle them up during the moving process. It’s then also extremely easy to unpack them when you reach your new destination. Pad the shoeboxes prior to packing to avoid any damage, since they are only made from cardboard. If the original boxes aren’t available anymore, find other boxes in which you can store your shoes. However, if you’re using a large box, you can pack several pairs in it to make the best use of the packing space.

packing shoes in a shoebox

7. Start With the Heavy Shoes

If you’re opting for a larger box, start out by packing the heavy shoes first. Before you start to pack them, make sure you cushion the bottom of the carton properly to ensure that extra layer of protection. Place the heavier shoes at the bottom and cover them with another sheet of paper before placing the next items on top. Also, if you’re packing small boxes inside one big box you should ensure proper cushioning in between layers.

8. Pack Shoes on Their Sides

Once you got the heavier shoes out of the way, pack the lighter shoes next on their sides to allow the soles to add support to the box. Make sure you don’t overpack the box, since those long dress boots at the bottom of it are susceptible to creasing with several pairs of shoes pressing up close to them. While summer sandals and sneakers are less sensitive than other types of footwear, make sure to still show some degree of care. If you’re planning on wearing boots as soon as you move in, put one pair on top so you can have easy access to them.

9. Pack Heavier Shoes on the Bottom

As much as possible, do not overload the boxes. Too many pairs of shoes will make the box buckle under its own weight. Once you finished packing your box with shoes, tape it and label it on the side to indicate its contents. Refrain from placing anything heavy on top of the box as this will likely smush the shoes inside. Think about what the weather conditions will be like on your moving day – if it happens to rain, try to keep the large box containing all your shoes away from moisture.

10. Use a Closet Door Shoe Organizer

If you’re only moving a short distance, or you simply don’t have room for the bulky boxes, you can opt for a closet door shoe hanger to transport your footwear. It you’re already using one to store your shoes, think of them as one less category of belongings to pack! You can simply place the hanger over other boxes inside your car or inside the moving truck. Choosing this moving option for shoes makes it very easy to unpack once you get to your new home.

11.Prepare Footwear for the Moving Day

Your planning and preparation stage isn’t complete without you putting aside shoes for the moving day. Remember to leave out a comfortable pair for this purpose. If you’re moving during the summer, avoid wearing flip-flops. Pick a closed toe pair that allows you to be active and won’t inhibit you. They should be comfortable and waterproof, in case of a rainy day. Also, if your move happens during wintertime, warm and comfortable boots should be your go-to choice for the moving day.


12. Organize Transportation of Your Belongings

Transporting shoes should be quite easy when it’s done with care. If you are moving your belongings by car, consider loading it one box at a time. As a rule, place the heavier boxes on the bottom and the lighter ones on top.

If you go for professional movers, you should allow them to organize your belongings during the loading and unloading process. If a box or any other possessions fall out of place during the move, leave it to the experts to take care of the situation. They know the best way to handle all the things they’ve packed in their truck to ensure the safety of your belongings.

Are there other tips and tricks you use to help you safely move your shoes? Let us know in the comments section below.


Mirela is a real estate writer and lifestyle editor for Yardi. With an academic background in English and translation, Mirela now covers a range of topics including real estate trends, lifestyle and economy. Her previous experience in proofreading academic articles has inspired Mirela to choose a writing career path. In her free time, Mirela enjoys reading, but also hiking and creating art. You can contact Mirela via email.

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