Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Entryway Clutter: Shoes, Shoes, and More Shoes!

Cooler weather set me on a closet clean-up this past week.  After I tackled our jackets, I turned my attention to shoes.   As a mom, I spend far too much time thinking about shoes.  And I don't mean my shoes.  Growing kids equal growing feet.  And that leads to a growing collection of shoes, boots, sandals, etc. that still fit, fit well, and will fit soon.  And don't forget about the shoes that we love, that only mom loves, and only child loves.  All these shoes need to be stored so that no one trips over them and so that everyone can find the right pair of shoes when rushing out the door.  No problem, right?

I've got a pretty good handle on shoe storage within bedroom closets.  It's the entryways that can cause the most heartburn.  Through the years, I've used the following methods to store shoes in and around the entryways to our house(s) - with varying levels of success:
  • Shoe Baskets
  • Shoe Bench
  • Shoe Cubby Organizer
  • Shoe Rack
  • Shoe Cabinet

This past week, I reshuffled the storage options yet again to solve my current storage dilemma   Keep reading to see how I've used each storage solution, individually and in combination through the years:

Shoe Baskets:  When our first-born became a toddler, we realized we needed to toddler-proof our shoe storage in addition to everything else in the house.  We had far less time to spend locating shoes as we headed out the door.  Often, a shoe we thought we placed in one location had been carted away to another, less obvious location.  We bought large, woven baskets and placed them under our front hall bench.  The baskets were attractive, yet unobtrusive,  and kept shoes neatly out of sight of busy, curious toddlers who enjoyed toting shoes.
Felt pads on bottom of basket protect floor.
This solution worked very well for our small family and we relied on it for many years.  However, once our family grew and we moved into a new house, the number of shoes we needed to store were more than those three baskets could handle.
Baskets under a bench in entry hall contain shoes.
Shoe Bench:  We took the baskets with us to our new house, but searched for a larger space in which to store them and the growing collection of shoes.  We liked the idea of an entry hall storage bench and, ultimately, opted to re-purpose our old toy box.  
What was once a toy box...
The toy box started out as a vintage hope chest, painted a buttery yellow color, when we bought it at a flea market.  To use as a toy box, we painted it green, added a cushion to the top, and affixed wooden letters to the front.   We knew we would need to update it again to use as a shoe bench - the scalloped edge was not the look I was after.  So, we removed the scalloped trim along the bottom using a jig saw, painted it black, and added a new seat cushion.
...became an entry hall bench  that stored shoes.

Paired with the pub mirror, which had hooks for jackets, leashes, hats, etc., the bench was a fabulous solution.  Form and function at its best.

Shoe Cubby Organizer:  Although the shoe bench worked really well for the entry way, we often used the garage entrance.  A pile of shoes and sandals began infringing on the tight doorways - we needed a way to neatly store shoes there as well.   A shoe cubby organizer turned out to be the answer for us.
Shoe Cubby Organizer in laundry room/garage entry.
We set up an inexpensive (yet highly effective) cubby shoe organizer in the laundry room, near the garage entry.  Shoes, sandals, cleats, etc. were neatly organized and visible at kid level.  Perfect!

In our current house, we continue to use the cubby shoe organizer at the garage entry.  In this house, the organizer is positioned on the garage-side of the entry:
Shoe Cubby storage in garage
It is still very effective for shoes, boots, cleats, etc.  To add vertical storage to the organizer, I stacked the it on top of a coordinating shelf.  These both sit atop of my old milk crates.  However, the kids don't like to the cubby organizer now that it's in the garage - they are afraid spiders will make a home inside their shoes and bite them.  So, it's useful for their sandals and flip-flops, but not everyday kids' shoes.

Shoe Rack:  Because the kids were not using the cubby organizer, shoes began to pile up in the front hall.  While the shoes were contained to one basic area, they still created a mountain of shoes that was not the overall design statement I was going for.  My solution was to place a three-tiered shoe rack in the lower half of the front-hall closet.
Three-tiered shoe rack helps contain shoe clutter
This shoe rack was mere steps from the mountain of shoes, but it was concealed behind a door.  I loved it.  My kids did not.  I needed to come up with a new plan that worked for them.

Shoe Cabinet:  What I came up with was a shoe cabinet.  Well, really, I came up with redefining a built-in family room cabinet as a shoe cabinet.
Built-in cabinet used for shoe storage
Our shoe bench was already placed against the family room wall adjacent to the cabinet, though it no longer stores shoes.  I borrowed that 10' x 3' slice of the family room, annexed it to the utility closet/laundry room and created a pseudo mud room using all three areas.  The cleared-out lower cabinet, closest to the bench, is now the new shoe cabinet.  A mat sits in front of the cabinet to catch dirt, and the old pub mirror, placed above the bench, holds hats/visors.
Back entry and 10' x 3' slice of family room comprises my pseudo mud room.
Shoes that are not stowed in the cubby organizer on the way into the house can be stored in the shoe cabinet.  If we enter from the front door, we can stow shoes on the shoe rack in the front hall closet.

Problem solved?  for now, they appear to be in check.  Keeping on top of organization and storage is an ongoing pursuit.  As the family grows and changes, so do our organization needs. Hopefully, I've shared some tips that you can use to contain shoes in your home.  Have other ideas?  I'd love to hear them!

Check back with me and my closet clutter projects.  Now that jackets and shoes are controlled, I need to address seasonal gear storage.

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