I have the secret to keeping shoe storage under control in your house. Build these unique shoe storage cubbies with a pair of salvaged bushel boxes!
The following things have actually happened in my real life: Stood by the door watching the school bus creep closer and closer to the bus stop (internally replanning my day because I figured I’d have to drive them) while my kids were running around the house looking for a single lost shoe, because they were so set on that specific shoe. I had shoes all over the house – under the sofa, kitchen table, under beds, in closets, and in toy bins. My kids have sprinted, full-out sprinted like an elite runner with pumping arms and glorious speed, down to the bus stop block away, carrying their I-found-them-just-in-time shoes in their hands. They have all worn aqua shoes to school. My daughters have worn princess dress-up shoes (like those plastic Elsa kind with tiny heels) to PreK because they couldn’t find legit shoes. My son wore two different shoes to PreK because they were all flying solo.
I am telling you this, because I know you might have a shoe problem too, and you probably know I had a few solutions to the Great Shoe Problem of Our Time in our entry area.
- Plastic boot tray lined with rocks. For the longest time. Awful solution on so many levels. Rocks everywhere when we cleaned it, and it was way too small.
- Farmhouse-y boot tray on wheels. This thing was the best ever, until it wasn’t. It slowly became a mountain of shoes, which became an explosion of shoes, and we were back to square one. This tray lives on holding plants on the porch, and when those plants die, it holds fire wood and greens or winter boots.
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I’ve had our current system rocking all year so far, and it’s been amazing. The other systems stunk from week 2. I have the secret to keeping your kids from whining to you, 4 seconds before you leave for school or to catch the bus, they can’t find their other shoe.
The secret? Don’t let them have any shoes.
I’m kidding! My tricks are:
- I limit the amount of shoes the kids have
- We teach them to keep their shoes inside their cubby.
In the spring/summer/fall, my kids have sneakers, Natives, and flip flops. In winter, they have sneakers, a loafer or TOMs, and rain/snow boots. The rest are in a storage tote, hidden away in the basement for a day we actually need them, like a holiday, event, or something specific.
Theory being, the less they have to overwhelm them, the easier it is (for them, and us as parents) to maintain.
We now keep all of our shoes in these adorable shoe storage cubbies we made from a pair of salvaged bushel boxes we bought from a local orchard.
To make your own set of shoe storage cubbies, you’ll need:
2 apple boxes (this will make 4 cubbies, adjust if you need more or less)
1×2 (we used scraps we had on hand, you can also use 1/4 round)
stain-grade board (we used scraps of pine board leftover from another project)
brad nailer & air compressor, or this kind of brad nailer.
drill and drill bits
router (if you’d like a rounded edge. You can slightly round the corners with a coarse sanding block)
paint or stain
For the (4) runners:
Stand the boxes on their ends, and measure the depth of the box (front to back). Cut 4 pieces of 1×2 to this length, then gently sand and wipe clean. You’ll want to stain or paint these before attaching. Measure halfway up from the bottom of the bushel box, glue and nail these runners to the sides of the boxes.
For the (2) shelves:
Measure the depth and width of the box, and cut your board to these measurements. Gently sand the pieces, especially the edges. Round the front of the shelf, if you like with the router or the sanding block. Slide the shelves in, and make adjustments as necessary, then stain or paint these. You can nail the shelves down to the runners, but we left them unattached for easier cleaning and adapting for bigger shoes, like taller boots in winter.
Andrew then screwed the two boxes together at the four corners, so the unit is a big solid piece.
It lives under our antique door and key holder, with their back packs and jackets on it, and is a great spot to catch all the things. The kids know when they get home, to pick a cubbies and put their shoes in it. When they don’t, and there are sneakers in the living room, I just call out “shoes!” and they figure out whose shoes are there, where they go, and they go do it. It’s much easier than the boot tray, because it was a mountain. These 4 spaces are manageable for them, because they hold their shoes on the shelves, and that’s it.
This is a fast fix for the nagging shoe problem, and pretty inexpensive one at that. It’ll also add a ton of character and interest to your entry with a little story behind the bushel boxes. My kids sometimes will even sit on the box to put their shoes on, so you could add a sweet little cushion on top if you needed to too.