If you’re moving to a new home with a beloved collection of shoes, take some time to develop a footwear-relocation plan. Preserving your shoes before a move is important for two reasons.
First, you won’t end up with a pile of scuffed, misshapen shoes that never look right again. Second, having an organized collection of shoes to place in your new closet helps you transition positively into your new space. You’ll feel more at home when you see your favorite shoes have survived the trip and look as good as new.
Follow the five basic rules listed below to develop your personal footwear relocation plan.
Before you pack any of your shoes for your move, they should be cleaned thoroughly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions when cleaning your boots, sandals and sneakers. Leather items should be cleaned and conditioned before packing to keep the materials supple.
Check unworn shoes for any infestations of insects or mildew. If you pack shoes away with moths or mold, expect these problems to multiply in transit. Both insects and mildew must be cleaned immediately or you risk the leather or fabric of the shoes being permanently ruined.
Thoroughly dry all shoes before packing them for the move. Any leftover mold spores will be activated with just a few drops of water and the darkness of the moving van. White shoes can be placed in the sun.
You can blow fans or ventilate shoes in some other way to dry them if you live in a humid environment. Rent or buy a dehumidifier for your “shoe room” if you have an extensive collection and you want to completely dry them before a move.
Provide support for shoes that collapse without support. An example of providing support is placing empty paper-towel holders in tall boots. The shafts of these boots have a tendency to lean to one side or the other when not being worn.
The repeated leaning creates cracks and indentations in the smooth sides of leather and faux leather boots. Find some means—whether a commercial product or your own invention—to keep the shafts upright on your boots.
Use rolled-up socks and underwear to keep your soft shoes like espadrilles and sneakers from being crushed. The garment fabric fills out the shape of shoes without disfiguring the fabric or stretching the fasteners.
Stuffed paper or shoe trees work well in loafers and other stiff leather dress shoes. There are many products on the market to help you keep shoes shaped when in transit.
After shoes are cleaned and shaped, protect them by placing them back in their original boxes—if you still have them. If not, you can’t—repeat, you cannot—simply stack the shaped shoes in a box. They will not look the same being unpacked as they do going into the packing container.
Instead, use bubble wrap secured with tape to protect sensitive shoes with spike heels, sequins and other embellishments. Use some sort of box as a packing container. Clear plastic tubs with lids are impact-resistant and work well to store shoes. The plastic tubs are available in sizes to fit every sort of footwear from baby shoes to riding boots.
These individual boxes can then be placed in larger packing containers to be moved. For small, thin shoes like ballet shoes and flats, sturdy liquor-store or wine boxes with individual compartments for bottles work nicely.
Hanging shoe organizers are another idea for transport. You can hang these easily in the wardrobe “closet” boxes sold by your moving company. As long as the boxes are packed moderately full with clothes, a few hanging shoe cubbies will be protected from swinging in the moving van.
Take care when transporting shoes with sharp points like golf shoes or cleats. The sharp edges can pierce through cardboard. Use durable plastic totes for sports shoes. Take spurs off motorcycle and cowboy boots before packing.
If shoes are in their original boxes before you place them in packing containers, it’s easy to find the pair you want after you get to the new place. If you pack shoes in other containers, it may take you a while to find the shoes you seek without proper labeling.
One trick shoe-lovers use is rather ingenious. They tape a large image (and sometimes include a description) of each shoe box’s contents at the end that faces outward on the shelf or floor. You don’t have to open the box to see what’s inside.
Manage sandals and flip flops with homemade hangers that grab the toe straps. Enclose everything but the hanging section in a clear zippered bag. You can see each pair of sandals easily while the sandals stay dust free.
If you have any questions about the best method for packing your favorite shoes, or for help with any other aspect of moving, contact the relocation specialists at Bekins Van Lines.