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DIY: Photo Shoe Box Labels



Taming My Husband’s Shoes

My husband has a bedroom in our house that he uses as a closet/home office. The problem is that the closet part has over taken over the office, the adjacent dining room and the foyer. At some point, a few years ago, the china cabinet became full of knitwear and a growing eyeglass collection. And there are 20+ hat boxes in the dining room and foyer. It’s basically the down side of having a fashion-y husband, but I am pretty good-natured about it.

We have had professional organizer Beth Zeigler, aka Bneato, over a few times to work on the office/closet project. Beth was awesome! She helped sort a lot of things in the office that didn’t need to be there, creating more space for the clothes, etc. But we still haven’t gotten the wardrobe as organized and condensed as I would like it to be. His size 13 shoes require a big shoe box, so every pair of shoes he keeps ends up taking up basically 1 sq ft of our house. So getting rid of (30) pr of shoes frees up an amazing 30 sq ft of space.

I saw a great photo Beth posted on Instagram, where she had labeled her mom’s shoe boxes a few months ago.  I proposed to my husband we do something similar for his shoes and he seemed enthusiastic so we started pulling out all his shoes. Some were in shoe boxes, some in ziplocks, duffel bags in the closet, but mostly they were just piled up around the house.

The Process

  1. We collected all of my husband’s shoes from all over the house, and laid them out in rows in the dining room. I think I counted somewhere around (75) pairs.
  2. We organized them into categories: black athletic shoes, colored athletic shoes, dress shoes, boots, sandals, loafers, and misc. We discovered that he had something like 35 pairs of black athletic shoes – his largest sub-group!
  3. He sorted through the shoes and rid of about 30% of them. This didn’t happen quickly. It took his a few weekends to debate, deliberate and painfully sort shoes. I quickly packed up the donations and sent them to St. Vincent de Paul before he could change his mind.
  4. Then I set up a photo shoot where he took iPhone photos of each of the shoes. He decided to angle the shoes to mimic the way they showcase shoes on Zappos. We used a piece of white foam core for a backdrop and natural light.
  5. We boxed up all the remaining shoes in new men’s shoe boxes from the Container Store.
  6. I cropped all the images in Photoshop and made some minor adjustments.
  7. My original idea was to have Instagram stickers printer for the labels. But Jonathan wanted the sticker to be 3 x 3″  for easy visibility and I couldn’t find any service that printed them that big. (Note: Prinstagram prints stickers 20mm sq).I ended up buying a pack of 8-1/2 x 11″ sticker paper on a Amazon. I laid the stickers out (6) per page in Photoshop and printed them myself on my home printer.
  8. Next, I cut the stickers out by hand with an X-Acto blade, ruler and a cutting mat.
  9. I  peeled and applied the stickers to the boxes.  I was worried that the stickers might peel off over time, so covered the stickers with a piece of clear packing tape that was cut just a bit bigger than the stickers.

Thoughts on the process:

  • In retrospect, I think it would have been a lot easier to just get the images professionally printed on paper (via Prinstagram or one of the other services) and then just tape them to the boxes (like Beth did). The sticker paper was kind of a pain in the ass.
  • Also – I kept thinking that someone should make a App for this. I’m sure a lot of people would probably love to label their shoe boxes if it was easy.

Jonathan_shoe_stickers_2_websiteLayout of a sticker sheet – 8-1/2 x 11″. I printed 8 sheets like this.


Finished shoe boxes piled up in foyer.  All in all, Jonathan seems very happy about his new shoe boxes. Now we just have to find a place for them… they are still piled up in the foyer.