A woman owns an average of 19 pairs of shoes, while most men own between 10 and 20 pairs, depending on their lifestyles. If you plan a household move, you’ll want to pack your shoes carefully to protect them.

Here are some shoe-packing tips.

1. Sort

First, sort your shoes. One survey demonstrated that most women wear only five pairs of shoes regularly. Of course, the number of shoes you need will vary. However, chances are you have shoes you don’t need. Go through your shoe collection and sell or discard those you haven’t worn in years.

2. Freshen

Wash sneakers and non-leather shoes with soap and water and dry them.

Then, provide an opportunity for shoes to air out so that you don’t pack odors with the shoes. Most shoes will be odor-free if you set them out overnight before you pack them. You can place those that have an unpleasant smell in the freezer for a while.

Make sure the shoes are fully dry before you pack them. As an extra precaution, you can put powder on the insides to draw out any excess water.

Pack an unused tea bag in each shoe to keep them fresh during the trip.

3. Prepare

Gather the right packing materials. While a newspaper works for packing many items, the newspaper can stain shoes. Use non-colored packing paper or paper towels to fill around your shoes.

Also, gather bubble wrap around shoes to prevent dirty shoes from wiping dirt onto clean shoes. Bubble wrap is better than plastic bags because it doesn’t rip.

4. Stuff

Put a rolled-up pair of socks at the toe of each pair of shoes to help them maintain their shape. You might also want to add rolled-up socks to the heels in some pairs.

5. Tie

You don’t necessarily need to box sneakers individually, but you may want to tie the shoelaces of each pair together. This trick may help you find them more quickly at your destination.

6. Prioritize

Consider which pairs of shoes you’ll need the quickest at your new home.

You’ll probably wear sneakers for the move. But you may also want to have handy a slip-on casual shoe and another pair of work shoes that you can wear with most of the clothes in your wardrobe. If you wear shoes for a specific sport regularly, you’ll want to keep these handy, too. Put all these essential shoes in a separate, well-marked box.

If you’re moving to a climate with seasons, prioritize and pack your shoes by season. This way, you won’t waste time in the first few weeks of your move unpacking shoes you won’t need for months. Mark the boxes as “Summer Shoes” and “Winter Shoes.”

7. Box

You’ll want to protect your dress shoes and strappy sandals. Box them individually in shoe boxes with packing paper around them. You can buy shoe boxes or use plastic bins if you don’t have the original boxes.

8. Pack

Place the shoeboxes in larger moving cartons to keep them organized. Pack the heaviest and bulkiest shoes on the bottom to prevent damage to more delicate shoes. Also, mark boxes as “shoes” and “fragile.” Avoid putting heavy boxes on top of the packages that contain your shoes. 

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