Palettes and Pallets

Shoes, OMG

Ike is currently at school, wearing rubber rainboots. It is not raining; it is not going to rain. I simply could not find his shoes this morning, anywhere. 

The shoe thing, SERIOUSLY. Now I will completely admit that my patience reserves are not always overflowing with zen-like parenting chill, but the shoe thing manages to tap them out completely like nothing else*, because every goddamn day, people. Someone's shoes mysteriously go missing, usually right at the exact second that particular someone needs to get out the door like NOW I MEAN IT.

We have a closet. There is a shelf for shoes in this closet. The shelf, it is ample, and the closet, it is the first dang thing you encounter when you enter the house. I don't even care about the shelf; feel free to use that as a general suggestion and just take off your shoes and toss them in. For all that is holy, please just get your shoes somewhere in the general vicinity of the shoe closet. 

Nobody ever puts their shoes in the shoe closet, and this fills me with an irrational amount of eyebrow twitching rage. 

Especially when the words "I can't find my shoes" are accompanied by a blank, helpless look, the face of a child who looked ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE for his shoes and is now ALL OUT OF IDEAS. And I just know that I'm going to spend the next 10 minutes of my life running around this giant black hole of a house looking for his shoes, while he trails behind me like a disinterested slug, and probably wouldn't recognize his own shoes if he slithered right over them, right in the middle of the room he swears he looked in already. 

(Honestly this happens so often with all three of them I feel like even St. Anthony would be like, "Guys. SERIOUSLY. The closet is RIGHT THERE.")

Ike is technically required to wear sneakers to school, but occasionally I've had to give up and go with the Crocs because it's all we (haha "we") could find. Today BOTH shoe options went missing, so hand-me-down rainboots that MAY or MAY NOT even fit him properly had to do. 

(Were the rainboots in the shoe closet? One of them was, yes. The other one was under the dining room table because sure.)

I still can't find his shoes. Hopefully it will just rain tomorrow. And that Ike doesn't decide to do something weird like wear the boots to bed so they get lost in the covers. 

(runs off to search for shoes in the bed covers)

*The only other thing that comes close to the shoe-rage** is the NO TOYS AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE rule. Which is basically, you know, no toys at the breakfast table. They distract everybody and are usually the reason for 99% of knocked-over milk cups and cereal bowls hitting the floor. So no toys at the breakfast table. And then I come downstairs and the breakfast table is completely covered in Bionicles, and my kids are like, "It's okay Mom! We know there's no toys at the breakfast table, but we WANTED toys at the breakfast table. See? Our logic is flawless."

**Oh God wait it's almost missing mitten season I am not ready I need to start putting booze in my coffee.


Shoes have been located. I found them outside.


Because sure. 



So make the two older ones go to school without shoes until they learn to put them where they belong. Because you know....consequences.


Too bad Ike isn't cell phone aged yet. When my teenagers do something that pisses me off and I have photographic evidence of it, I text them the pics. That gives them all day to wonder how my mood will be the next time they see me. LOL!


How about they can't have an after-school snack (or dinner, or something else they actually want) unless their shoes are on or near the shoe shelf? (Of course, it has to be after they're already in for the day.) That way at least the search would take place the previous day rather than just as they need to leave for school.

Steph B

I want Captain America shoes.


In my adult life I have chosen to look both where I culturally believe things "should" go (the closet) versus where they consistently end up and evaluate if that is where it really belongs. For me - my commonly used shoes actually officially live in the bathroom because that is where I get dressed for work. My son's shoes live with his bookbag because he ditches them at the same time.


Good thing it didn't actually rain then!


I live in Minnesota and everyone is all Winter is Coming! (although not really yet b/c of El Nino and climate change and whatever) and talking about how it'll so sad when it's all dark and cold and so on and all I can think of is the GD winter gear. Boots and mittens and hats (that I just typed "hate" in a totally Fruedian slip) and oh FFS snow pants... Just put me in a coma until March, please.


If I am reading this correctly, Ike only has 3 footwear options? That is the glaring difference between girls and boys. My daughter (same age as Ike) has at least 10 pairs of shoes- she's got her crocs, her sneakers, her flats, her flip flops, her high-top glittery converses, her white dress shoes, her black dress shoes, her dressy boots, her uggs, her canvas loafers, etc. She loses her shoes ALL THE TIME, but we can always find at least one pair. So the solution is clearly buy more shoes!


OMG, the blank look of helplessness and shoulder shrug og complete non-caring that comes with "looking for things"--things that are often 6 inches behind the child. It could be interpreted as child's confidence that mom is really superwoman and will find a way to fix the problem...but mostly it is lazy and makes me seethe a little.


My first thought was also, well then they go to school without shoes. BUT. There's a couple different scenarios that would result. #1 School calls parent one hour later insisting that shoes are delivered or else CPS will be involved because NEGLECT!
Or, child loves not having to wear shoes to school. Freedom! New fad started and all the cool kids don't wear shoes.
My point being; I have no advice. Good luck!


Shoe bins! They have saved my life. I have four kids- 3 are boys who always would lose their shoes and not out them on the shoe rack and one is a girl who always had way too many shoes out (3-4 pairs are enough- the rest get stored in her room!). I bought $5 sturdy canvas bins at Aldi and each of us has one with our name. The boys figured out the system beautifully and chastise my husband, daughter, or I if we ever forget to put our shoes in the shoe bin. For mittens/hats/etc. I got a circular hanging organizer designed for clothes and shoes- the shoe holders in the outside are perfect for mittens and the big center sections are great for hats/scarves/whatever - each person has a level and it is wonderful!


I shouted "put your shoes on" at least 4 times from my bathroom this morning. There were a pair of sneakers on our show shelf (I know, because I put them there). I was finally assured that everyone's shoes were on.

Children buckled themselves like reasonable people this morning, and were waiting for me in the car.

Which I should have known was too good to be true. Arrived at the bus stop to discover my kindergartener wearing a pair of sandals.

It's 46 degrees this morning. And they are going to the pumpkin patch.

Supermom, right here.


Yep. Ditto all of this at my house this morning. Except one shoe was in the living room and one was on the kitchen table (I don't even know) and she saw both but I guess could not connect that it was two of the same pair she was seeing. This is pretty much every day. I also second just adding more shoes. Payless clearance rack cheapies have saved us a school tardy several times.


I realize that with three children this is a bit more of a pain, but I try to keep the next half size up sneaker in my son's closet. (He has wide feet, fine motor issues, and ASD, so I tend to NEED to order ahead anyway in order to get an acceptable shoe and/or procure lace alternatives if it's a lace-up shoe.) This makes shoe buying less stressful, and provides a great back-up for missing or soaked sneakers.


I'm still wanting to know where all your 3T shorts went!


Make shoe check part of the bed time routine. Before they go upstairs to brush teeth or what have you, *they* do a quick check of their own morning responsibilities. Shoes on shelf, backpack where it's supposed to be etc. It's a good training for when they get older and will need to be responsible for getting themselves places on time in the morning.

Note: some kids will try and use this check process as a way to delay bedtime... but that novelty tends to wear of quickly as any extra awake time will be stuck looking for missing items with a parent who refuses to engage in distraction.


(During my own Lost Items Incidents, I frequently recall and laugh at this comment on your site from Margo in Feb. of 2009: "My cell phone had been missing since Jan 12. I found it on Wednesday! I found it in my purse." We are not alone.)


Of course! Outside! We always forget the first place we should look for lost shoes is by the playset in the backyard. The problem is we usually also find that they've been rained on and are gross.

Carrie H.

I have a huge basket at the front door where everyone is supposed to just toss their shoes each day. So, open basket, 3 feet from front door, right next to stairs to sit down on to remove/put on said shoes. It works 50% of the time. Another 25% of the time they toss their shoes in the general vicinity of the basket. The last 25% of the time the shoes are somewhere else. But at least 75% of the time it generally works.


To be fair they are on a shelf. Just not the right shelf.


After the failure of the racks and shelves, I went with a bin next to each door. My 14 (F-O-U-R-TEEEEEEN) year old son pretty consistently leaves his shoes kind of next to the bins, but dramatically spread across whatever area I would like to walk through that's next to the bins. Preferably and often someplace through which I would walk carrying a basket of clothes that obscures the view of my feet. At least DH puts his shoes away neatly eventually (he leaves them neatly paired under the table or next to the couch for a few hours at a time). So, if I can survive until this teenager is grown, I may have a shoe-free hallway. Waaahhh.


The good news? Although my 10 year old still does this EVERY DAY, the 13 year old has FINALLY grown to love his shoes so much (KDs! Nikes! The Precious!) that he knows where they are (IN HIS CLOSET ON THE SHOE SHELF HE DESIGNATED HIMSELF!). Hang in there a few more years for the sweet, sweet relief!


Sorry K - that's not a difference between boys and girls, those 12 pairs of shoes... That's a difference between parents I'm sorry to say. My 6 year old daughter has 4 pairs of shoes - sneakers, rain boots, hiking boots, snow boots. In summer that drops down to Crocs and sport sandals. She grows out of shoes so quickly that I really only buy a pair at a time. When those are worn down or broken she gets a new pair. Snow boots I buy second hand. We don't wear shoes in the house so for the most part the shoes stay next to the door. But we tend to lose lots of other stuff to make up for it!


The kids I work with lose them daily. EVERYWHERE. I usually find them buried in the sand or dangling from a tree limb, or on another child. Who puts on another kid's shoes? Why do they HAVE to take them off in order to play? I think I have told 3000 kids to put on their shoes since school started


Sounds just like the Slate article "But I want it" hahaha


Oh, the SHOES. I basically stand in front of my children and won't let them in the house until the shoes go in their "slots" in the hanging shoe rack on our basement door (right inside the garage door). Unless they want to go play outside, so they NEED their shoes - until the point at which they take them off under the playset.

This morning my first grader was mad (but not until after we had already gotten to school) because he DIDN'T wear his rainboots and it is actually raining. He chose Crocs, though he did think to put socks on, too, so at least his feet will be somewhat warm.


Ugh I feel your pain. But! I have an answer. Not for toys at the table, but mitten clips will help soon. And you can make finding your shoes and placing them by the door a requirement before any breakfast is doled out!


I live with Sarai's suggestion above.
It adds only a few minutes to the bedtime ritual to have the child ensure their shoes, school homework, permission slips, required money, backpacks, mittens, jackets are laid out at the door to their exit for school. Each child's stuff in their own basket.
This does need to be the first item on the routine so if they stall they lose their song/story portion of the ritual. And, the next day their bedtime moves up 5-10 minutes with no tv/electronics.
Another good rule is 'no shoes on in the house'~~ that helps keep your house MUCH cleaner and tracks less dog poop on to your floors.
My only question is: do your dogs move/play with/chew on the boys shoes???


I have to commiserate on this one..

1) We bought my 2 year old NEW shoes because nobody could find his old shoes. When the older kids\husband said they couldnt find them, I looked EVERYwhere. Except the CLEAR shoe pockets on the door of the shoes closet where they belong, which is where they were.

2) I have worn my middle school daughters crocs to teach so she can wear my shoes bc she cant find ANY of her shoes, and will get in trouble if SHE wears crocs (get in trouble=call me, hence easier to just trade then waste my time)

I feel your pain, in other words.

With girls the one upside to mitten season is tights instead of socks--they never need to be matched b\c they are attached!!!

(btw-mitten success = 2 vaguely fitting mittens--matching\on the correct hand is some sort of gold medal0


Oh, of my kids graduated from k (cap + gown included) wearing 1 shoe. He really wanted to wear dress shoes, so I told him to put them in his bag to change before graduation time. He changed before the graduation, but couldnt find one shoe, so decided to just wear one. Other parents thought the heaving shoulders was me being sentimental. It was just me laughing at my kid.

And, yes, in theory we keep them in the same place, kids responsible etc. Life happens. Although we dont allow breakfast till shoes are on...which when you are running late doesnt help...


Paint a target on the back wall of the closet and put a bin right under it. Maybe the boys will think it's fun to kick or toss their shoes in.


Stacy- I guess my sarcasm didn't make it through translation-- I know my daughters shoe collection is absurd! In my defense, almost all are hand me downs from her older sisters or cousins, but its still kind of crazy to keep them all.

Sue C

Because, of course!

We used to say that our darling middle child couldn't find red sparkly shoes in an empty room with white carpet.


Oh I hate to look for shoes, but I've been quite lucky, they may be by the trampoline in the summer. A blogger I like, Korinthia Klein, has a ''shoes on for breakfast'' rule. I don't need to enforce this yet. We don't wear shoes inside the house, it's relatively small with a huge inside stair case/entry (it explains the small part) where shoes live. They have as little shoes as possible because as a family of 6 autumn/spring gets a bit ridiculous in the shoe department in the said entryway. Even with a lot of donated shoes, sneakers are just more practical, who needs to memorize the gym classes of four kids.


I completely missed where you asked for assvice in this post. I thought you were venting about stupid things kids do because we all get it. Silly me. Asshole comments.


Sam I had a rough day yesterday, I enjoy the comments here but yours a bit less, it's the usual ha ha, me too, have you thought of this for stated problem, thanks for the laugh and I commiserate, hang in there. I hesitate to comment but yesterday I could not get back to the very rude lady who called me a c*** at the grocery, so sorry.


I'm just here to say I hear ya sista. I hear ya loud and clear.


My mom once found my shoes in the garbage. Because sure.


Word! Preach! This is how my life is too.

Beth Rich

I'm afraid I can always find my kid's shoes - they're in front of the sofa, right next to mine. In all fairness, I was raised my a man who would wake us up at 4 am by slamming open our bedroom door and screaming, "SHOES, LIVING ROOM, NOW!" So I always swore I would never lose my cool over shoes in the living room.


I read a quote once that said something like "95 percent of parenting is just finding shit for other people". So true!


Omg. I feel these feels daily. They have so many gd shoes too! Why can't ONE pair be by the door??!!!?? Hsbdndndbxbxnkekoxnnclldjfh


That's why we have designated
"backyard shoes" (usually crocs I got cheap secondhand). When they get left outside we're never in that much of a rush to find them that it's an issue and they don't get nasty if they get wet. We have a strict "no shoes in the house" rule and while they're terrible about actually putting their shoes in the hanging rack (front door) or basket (back door) they do at least take them off and leave them in a pile by the door 95% of the time. Occasionally my son forgets to take his off but luckily he doesn't just take them off and leave them some random place so as soon as I notice I just send him back to the foyer.


OH MY GOD. This is the exact thing that sets me over the edge. And it happens EVERY DAY AT LEAST ONCE.


I laughed in recognition. Luckily, my boys grew up and can now find their shoes (usually). One time, years ago, I found ONE SHOE in our house . . . from some boy who accidentally left it there. Never found out who owned it and one day, months later, I gave it to Goodwill. I suppose his mother is still in a rage about it, wondering where it could be.


My daughter could not find her brand new shoe (just one was missing). After frantically searching, she sat thoughtfully for a minute and said the one of them was hurting her foot so she took it off and put it away and then she went to the basement. SHE TOOK OFF ONE SHOE DELIBERATELY AND CONTINUED ON HER WAY. in freaking sane.


In a sort of merge document about your problem, 'I' have lost some impressively important (?) breakfast-attending Lego, although not Bionicle, Avenger Lego or somesuch shite. I went through our recycling bin with gardening gloves - because of all the broken glass in there - because it is no-sodding-where-else. Maybe I should look in the shoe basket. (Plus I LOVE the target in back of cupboard idea!) Anyone got any advice (here, look, I'm asking for it) as to where Lego goes to hide?


I so deeply feel your pain...I've spent approximately 47% of my waking adult hours looking for someone's shoes. The rest of my time is devoted to finding a pen that will actually write and answering questions about whether the items in the dishwasher are clean or dirty.


I am the third in a proud generation of responding to "Where are my shoes?" with the answer, "I don't wear them for you." Just as my grandmother said to my mother and my mother said to me. Does it help anything? Not really. But it's nice to feel like I belong to an eternal tide of motherhood shoe-loss exasperation. I like to imagine my great-grandmother told my grandmother the same thing, but in Norwegian.


After way, way to many mornings of trying to find the right pair of shoes and evenings of being irritated after tripping over shoes in the middle of the living room, I now stand in the mudroom with my five year old and watch as she takes her lunchbox out of her backpack, hangs up the backpack, takes off her shoes, puts shoes away after I remind her to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF SPAGHETTI put them in the basket and then she's allowed in the house to shove her lunchbox on to the counter and let the dog out. I hate standing there with the baby getting heavier and heavier, but I'm hoping the day will come when she will just automatically follow that routine. Bonus, though, now that we take our shoes off immediately, there's a lot less sweeping.


After way, way to many mornings of trying to find the right pair of shoes and evenings of being irritated after tripping over shoes in the middle of the living room, I now stand in the mudroom with my five year old and watch as she takes her lunchbox out of her backpack, hangs up the backpack, takes off her shoes, puts shoes away after I remind her to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF SPAGHETTI put them in the basket and then she's allowed in the house to shove her lunchbox on to the counter and let the dog out. I hate standing there with the baby getting heavier and heavier, but I'm hoping the day will come when she will just automatically follow that routine. Bonus, though, now that we take our shoes off immediately, there's a lot less sweeping.


While my kids can never find their shoes, I usually can because I'm tripping over all of them. I hung a shoe organizer on the bathroom door that is right inside when you come in from the garage. Still, shoes scattered all over the living/dining room. I have another shoe organizer hanging in the coat closet for hats and gloves, but sigh... I just hope I bought enough extra gloves on clearance to make it thru the winter.


I feel your pain. Mine are 10 and 13 and it still happens ( although less with the 13 yr old). i stand at the front door lecturing them on - THE CLOSET IS RIGHT HERE - then sit on the steps while they wander around looking.


I'm so glad mine isn't the only asshole that loses shoes. And soccer jerseys. That are for soccer games only. Unless you just want to wear it for whatever and then put it wherever so you don't have it for the game. Arrrrgggh.


Two sizes ago, I ordered 2 pairs of the exact same crocs by accident. It was freaking awesome - upped the chances of finding a pair exponentially. I have also added "find your shoes" to my 5yo's (also a non-shoe-loving girl with limited options) bedtime routine, because hooboy. Add a shoestealing puppy to the mix (yes, we are training him, and he has plenty of toys) and now I'm running around trying to find my second shoe, too. Oy with the shoes, already.


And I don't know a single school at any age who would be cool with sending barefoot kids in. I'm all for natural consequences, but that just wouldn't fly.

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