The Best Ways to Pack Your Shoes When Moving

Are you tempted to toss your collection of shoes in a box and be done with them? Seems like a good idea in the heat of packing, which is never any fun. However, cramming your shoes into container on top of one another is bad news if you invested a decent amount of cash on your footwear.

We have collected the best tricks and tips for getting your shoes to your new residence without scratches, tears, or blemishes, or crushing, breaking or deforming them in the process.

Sorting Your Shoes Before You Move

First, sort through your pairs of shoes and decide which sets you need without a doubt, and which ones you can sell, donate, or trash. There is no sense in moving shoes that you never wear because they are outdated, damaged beyond repair, worn to their bones, or simply do not fit you in a comfortable way.

The shoes that do not fit or you would never wear, but are in good repair, should be set aside and added to the other items with which you plan to depart as you downsize. These shoes might include the formal pairs you wore once and have no occasion to wear again, specialty shoes for specific activities or work that are no longer useful, and shoes that you have not worn in a two full sets of seasons.

Those high-dollar heals or your "vintage" pair of Jordans might catch a pretty penny on the Internet market, and the ones that do not sell can be given to charity. If you have enough shoes and other usable items to donate, especially furniture, many charity organizations will pick the items up from you for free, making your life a whole lot easier because you won't have to move it yourself.

Next, separate the shoes that you plan to keep into categories, according to their type, which might include the following:

  • Boots
  • Sneakers
  • High-heels
  • Stilettos
  • Sandals and flip-flops
  • Slippers

Furthermore, you should pack together any shoes made from leather.

Preparing Your Shoes for Packing Them for You Move

Now that your shoes are on the market or in the trashcan, the next step is to prepare your shoes for the packing process. Some of your shoes probably need a good cleaning, reconditioning, or repair. If you have the time to do all of these things, so that your shoes are in perfect condition as you transition to a new beginning in your new home, it is an exceptional play.

Minor repairs might include replacing soles and zippers, or sewing them in spots. Take them to a local cobbler to see if the price to fix them is worth it. If not, they may end up in the trash pile. Charities do not accept damaged products of any kind, so even if you spent a fortune on a pair of shoes, if they are torn or broken, it is unlikely you can donate them.

Next, clean your shoes by removing the dust and dirt from them. Moreover, if you have shoe brushes and polish, you might as well give your leather pairs a nice shine. You might just fall in love with them all over again if you do. After cleaning them, stuff each pair with crumbled paper for two reasons. First, the paper will absorb any moisture in the shoe from humidity trapped in your closet, and it will also help your shoes keep their form during packing and moving. Packing paper works the best because it is thick and free of dyes or inks that might transfer to the shoe like newspaper might do. Another good option is to use socks to fill the shoes.

Finally, the next preparatory step involves gathering the perfect materials for the packing of your shoes. Large boxes or plastic bags just will not do for proper protection of your shoe collection. You need small sturdy boxes, quality packing paper and tape, labels, and a permanent marker.

Packing Your Shoes When You Move

The focus now turns to the actual packing of your shoes in an efficient and safe manner. When you begin packing, you want to first pack your possessions that are out of season or seldom used, and the same is true of your shoes. Set aside all of the shoes you plan to wear before your move and pack the rest of them. Consider that if you are moving in the middle of winter, you will not need sandals and flip-flops, and in the summer, you would not need snow boots; they can be packed along with your formal pairs and specialty footwear. These specialty shoes might include those of the dancing, hiking, and beaching variety, which you probably will not use between now and your moving date.

So, put aside the shoes you need until moving day, and the sturdy pair of shoes you will need on moving day, which should have a sold grip while protecting your feet and keeping them comfortable. Keep a box that will hold all of the shoes you use frequently, so that you can pack them quickly on the day before you move. You will want them to all be in one small box, so that you can find it quickly after you have transferred all of your belongings to your new residence.

Now it is time to pack, and the packing of shoes begins with wrapping each individual shoe in paper and placing them in a solid box as you alternate the direction of the shoes to save space and pack them in a manner that does not allow them to pinball around in the box.

To wrap a set of shoes begin with one shoe at a time. Take your single shoe, place it at the corner of a sheet of paper, and roll it to the middle of the sheet. Then, place the other shoe in the pair in the opposite direction of the first and continue wrapping the pair until you reach the end of the sheet. This prevents scratches, scuffing, and denting during the move. A good option for keeping metal heals or the heal taps on your high heal shoes from piercing the packing paper or box and damaging the shoe or other shoes is to wrap that portion of the shoe with bubble wrap.

If possible, pack shoes in the boxes in which they came. The original shoeboxes will provide maximum protection, especially after you wrap the shoes with packing paper. If you tossed away the original shoeboxes, locate small-sized boxes that are strong and clean to assure the safety of your pairs of shoes. Solid boxes are less likely to get crushed or become damaged in some way during the moving process, regardless of where you or the movers pack the boxes on the moving truck. However, it is definitely best that your shoes are on top of other boxes and not below them. Next, line the bottom of the individual shoebox with packing paper, place the packed shoes in the middle, and fill the empty spaces with more crumbled paper. Finally, tape the box shut.

You can put small boxes that contain a single pair of shoes into medium boxes for ultimate protection. This packing process is the method that the manufactures used to ship the shoes to the store where you bought them. Tape the medium-sized box full of individual boxes with great care after filling any empty space inside of it with packing paper. Plastic containers work best because they are virtually crush-proof, and provide great protection against any moisture, including direct spills and rain, shock, dust, and dirt.

If you are packing several pairs of shoes WITHOUT individual boxes into a medium box, you will have to use another technique to ensure their safe transport. Take the following steps, though we do not recommend it:

  • After making a bundle with each set of shoes, tape them to make sure the pair is secure.
  • Reinforce the bottom and corners of the box with additional tape to make sure the bundles of shoes do not work their way out of the box or force the box to completely open from the bottom.
  • Lay each bundle of shoes on its side inside the box, placing the heaviest pairs at the bottom with a protective layer of peanuts of packing paper between the bottom row and the one above it.
  • The second layer of bundled shoes should be perpendicular to the bottom row.
  • Fills any gaps with peanuts or crumbled packing paper.
  • Keep boxes below 40 pounds to keep your shoes and your back from getting damaged.  

Additional Tips for Moving Your Shoe Collection

Furthermore, consider the following useful tips and tricks when preparing, packing, and transporting your shoes during your move:

  • Never use plastic bags because they tear easily and provide no adequate protection to your treasured footwear. Your shoes will be crushed, scratched, and soiled inside the bag, and even more so if the bag ends up falling apart on the way to the moving truck or inside of it. Plastic bags offer no support against shock, vibrations, or other impacts. Furthermore, plastic bags trap moisture, which can lead to mold growth, discoloration, and deformation. Finally, if the weather gets hot, plastic bags can melt and stick to your shoes' surface. All of these things will ruin your footwear.
  • To remove odors from your shoes before packing and moving them, spray the inside of them with anti-bacterial spray or a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. However, do not pack the sprayed shoes until they are completely dry. Another method to remove bad odors while packing is to place teabags inside the shoes. Choose the teabags wisely because your shoes will take on the scent of the tea's flavor from mint to apple spice to lavender.
  • Never press or smash your shoes or they will become distorted and lose their shape while damaging their surface.
  • Use clean packing paper when wrapping shoes because any material on the paper from ink to dirt will transfer onto the shoe during the move.
  • Pack heavy pairs of shoes first if you are packing a number of pairs in one box. In between the layers of shoes, place a protective barrier of packing paper if you are not individually boxing your footwear. If you are packing individual boxes, put the heavier ones on the bottom. Do not overload the bigger boxes with too many shoes because they will be hard to carry and will damage the cargo.
  • Label the boxes with descriptions that adequately describe the type of shoes that are in the box. Some of the boxes can stay in home storage for a while, and others you will want to open up as soon as possible, so labels that read more than "shoes" will help you find the places where each box of shoes needs to go.

Shoes come in numerous sizes and shapes, which create some difficulty when packing them, but you can avoid the most common risks to packing and moving shoes if you use the tips, techniques, and hacks in this article.

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