Clever DIY Tension Rod Shoe Shelving for Your Closet

Are your shoes a disorganized mess? Do you have limited space in your closet? Learn how simple DIY tension rod shelving can help you to organize shoes in your closet and save valuable space!

So, grab some inexpensive tension rods and discover how to organize your shoes!

A pair of black slip-on shoes in a closet.
My favorite pair of slip-on shoes. They go with everything!

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Piles of shoes.

As a teenager, I was notorious for them.

I would kick them off and hope they ended up near the shoe pile on the floor of my closet.

Fast forward to grown-up, married me…

I share a closet with my husband and…ahem… he likes to kick off his shoes and hope they end up in his shoe pile in the closet.

(Love you, dear!)

We have wisely divided the closet in half and take ownership of the organization and tidiness of our respective sides.

(I actually really love our closet which got a makeover a couple of years ago. )

In the complete 180 of adulthood…I crave shoe tidiness!

Take that, young Missy!

And now I have found a great way to organize my shoes within a small area.

Small tension rods!

It’s not sexy…but it works! Take a look…

How Does a Spring Tension Rod Work?

Not sure how a spring tension rod works? Don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple.

The two thin metal rods work together like magic – when the smaller one slides into the bigger one, that spring inside starts compressing and using its power to make sure your job stays secure!

Voilà – in no time you’ll be creating vertical storage shelf space in your closet with the use of tension rods!

How to Install a Tension Rod in Your Closet for Shoe Storage

Tension rods are so reasonably priced and really pack a punch in versatility.

And, this tension rod organization idea is really a simple solution for creating additional shoe storage.

And who doesn’t like a little extra space in their closet?

Here is how the tension rod magic works for shoe organization:

To use tension rods, simply twist the top of the rods to release the spring and continue to twist until you get the width that you want.

Take a couple of tension rods and install them horizontally in your closet area designated for shoes.

The heavier your shoes, the wider you will want the tension rods to be.

All you do is twist until the rods are securely taut against the wall.

But here is the trick…The front rod should be placed about a half-inch lower than the top rod. This will give your shoes a slight angle forward without them falling off.

Twisting a tension rod so it sits taut against the wall.

Be sure to twist the rods so they are taut against the wall (or in my case the adjoining cubby) and don’t slip when the weight of the shoes is placed on them.

Continue to add sets of 2 tension rods to create additional levels of shoe racks.

You now have additional storage by installing these tension shelves in your closet.

Add your shoes and enjoy a well-organized shoe rack in your closet!

Two tension rods installed at an angle for diy shelving.

Does DIY Tension Rod Shelving Really Work?

I have been asked if the tension rods stay put long term.

My answer is “YES!”

I still use the floor and line up my heavier shoes as my organizational row.

Then, I added my sneakers followed by my slip-on mules. (High heels can be placed with the heel hanging over the back of the top rod.)

It helps that I don’t throw my shoes into the closet like I used to. The tension rod shelving has stayed put and my shoes are loving it!

Since I retired, sneakers have become my favorite type of shoe! (I share some of my favorites at the bottom of this post.)

DIY tension rod shoe shelving with three different rows of shoes.

Boot Bonus: Organize with Tension Rods

You can organize your boots as well with a closet tension rod.

It is the same basic idea but now the length of a tension rod is vertical rather than horizontal.

This time, I placed smaller tension rods vertically on the top shelf and twisted them tautly into the ceiling.

No more sad, wilting boots!

This clean look is the perfect way to keep boots upright and organized.

Your boots can’t help but stand at attention!

Vertically installed tension rods keeping tall boots organized in a closet.

Using tension rods is a quick DIY project that just might just be the answer to organizing all your shoes in your closet space.

Adaptable and budget friendly, they can slip into any nook and cranny of your closet without taking up too much room, or costing too much money.

Rows of shoes being stored with diy tension rod shelving.

Other DIY Tension Rod Shelving Ideas

  • Install rods vertically and store cooking sheets
  • Install horizontally under a laundry room sink and hang spray bottles and cleaning supplies
  • Vertical tension rods in a kids play room is the perfect place to store books for a reading nook
  • A good use for horizontal tension rods is in a kitchen window with small hanging herb pots
DIY tension rod shelving for baking sheets.

Who knew a few small rods could make such a huge difference?

It’s like you’re getting a completely new closet without having to move out of your house!

Give yourself a nice pat on the back after installing your diy tension rod shelving and marvel at how much of an upgrade you just gave to your organizationally challenged closet!


Looking for other organizational or room makeover ideas? Try these!

How to Organize a Pantry with Pull-Out Drawers

Craft Room Storage Solutions

Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets: A Real Solution

Don’t Forget to Pin It!

DIY Tension Rod Shoe Shelving Idea for your Closet

Some of My Favorite Shoes


  1. What great ideas and uses for tension rods Missy. You have some really adorable shoes too! I am a shoe lover who finds herself only wearing flip flops these days, ha! The closet looks great and so organized. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Cara. I do love my shoes! But they can get disorganized so easily. The tension rods really help!

    1. Hi Linda, I hope this is helpful to your daughters! I have a daughter who lives in a tiny NYC apartment and she uses this idea. Let me know if it works for them! Have a great day!

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