We couldn’t do all of this work in the laundry area and just ignore our sloppy shoe situation. Since the side door into our laundry room is our most-used entrance, it’s also the dumping ground for most of our footwear (since we try to keep shoes off in the house). Up until now, our “storage solution” has been a shallow woven basket from Bed Bath & Beyond about five years ago (that and a pile next to it – not pictured, because I don’t want to ruin the illusion that we’re not complete animals).
This system actually worked fine at the old house since the basket stayed in the sunroom, where it sort of fit the casual feel of the room. Plus, when it overflowed it didn’t create a tripping hazard on our way out the door or to the washer since that was a much larger space.
But since we’re now dealing with a 3’5″ wide room, we realized we needed something with a more “organized” vibe, like this cheap-o shoe shelf for all shoes for cross country running that once lived in Clara’s closet at our first house (originally snagged at Target a while back).
It wasn’t bad (especially if we had taken the time to notch out the back to fit around the baseboards). But it wasn’t great, either. Why? Well, we seem to have a mini Carrie Bradshaw on our hands thanks to Clara, so shoes often become playthings and end up looking more like this:
That’s when we agreed that concealed storage was what we needed to be hunting for.
There are lots of good options out there for shoe cabinets, it seems. Ikea even has a few different versions to choose from. But everything was too wide (we only have 24″ to work with) or too tall (we’d didn’t want it going higher than the window sill so it would look nice and streamlined since the built-ins we added lined up with the sill as well).
After a few other stores were a bust too, we contemplated using a plan from ana-white.com to custom build something (she has amazing and completely free furniture tutorials for those not in the know). But before we went out and bought a ton of lumber and worried about building something that could stand up to everyday slamming, Roberta saved the day with this comment about affordable and ready-made Ikea recycling bins that might just do the trick:
Yup, she kindly introduced us to Retur, who we met in person on a recent trip to Ikea. We liked him so much that we came home with him and his twin brother (at $19 a piece).
It hadn’t come up in our search results because, as Roberta noted, they’re technically “recycling bins” but are coincidentally designed just like a shoe cabinet. Plus, their 23.5″ width made them a PERFECT fit for our 24″ space. That was enough for us to overlook that they:
- weren’t bright white (they still read as white in the room, and we’re not really die-hard about all of our white tones matching perfectly anyway)
- were plastic (wood might have been nice, but Sherry pointed out that something wipe-able, less precious, and virtually ding/scratch proof might be good for shoes anyway)
Another little detail that we did our best to overlook: between the two of them they only came with one screw to hang them. Yup, somebody must have been daydreaming about swedish meatballs on the Ikea assembly line or something.
But after digging out some of my own screws, they were a cinch to install (four screws/anchors per piece through pre-made holes in the back). We were in business in practically no time (for those who actually want a time breakdown it was probably fifteen minutes total). And so far Clara hasn’t so much as touched them once (I think the lack of knobs to pull on has her stumped for now).
The most amazing part is that not only was the width perfect, but the height was almost too good to be true. When the two stacked units were placed right on top of our baseboard the top was perfectly flush with the window sill. We still can’t believe it. And there was about a centimeter of breathing room on either side (so it looks nice and intentionally centered between the door and the sill).
So now that whole wall is almost like one seamless shelf thanks to the window sill that visually connects the ones I built to our new shoe cabinets (which are all on the same exact level). And I shouldn’t fail to mention that although they’re made for recyclables, they store shoes quite nicely too (including room for some frequently-used pairs to be stashed underneath).
In short, we’re thrilled – and eternally grateful to Roberta The Perfectly Timed Commenter. The rooms feels sooooo much more organized without a mess of sandals and running shoes waiting to greet us. And the Returs are so danged narrow (they only stick out six inches beyond the door frame) that the room actually feels more open than it did with the more invasive basket or stacked shelf options that we had going on before.
Eventually we’re thinking that we might do something to gussy them up a bit more – maybe paint them or cover the fronts/top with decorative paper (or even grasscloth wallpaper or colorful labels) but we want to wait for the rest of the room to come together before doing anything that could end up being “too busy” in the end. You know, since the whole space is only about as wide as a bathroom stall, as demonstrated by my monkey-toed self in this photo from a few weeks back (so not every item in the small space has to scream “look at me!”):
Speaking of the rest of the room, here’s our almost-totally-crossed-off laundry room list:
Paint the odd brown quarter round near the baseboards glossy white
Redo all the dinged up trim (also in semi-gloss white) Paint the walls Replace our dryer hose with a safer all-metal one Add adjustable built-in shelving in that nook next to the stacked washer & dryer Prime & paint the upper cabinetry Replace the hinges and knobs on those upper cabinets Hang the ironing board to obscure the giant metal fuse box
- Get a new light fixture <- we’ll be back to share our homemade clothespin chandelier tomorrow morning
- Add a window treatment (maybe a homemade one?) <— might just frost it when we convert the carport to a garage
Add other functional storage near the door for shoes, Burger’s leash, etc
- Hang some art to keep it cheerful
Now it your turn. What’s your go-to shoe storage solution? Did you repurpose something like a basket, bin, ottoman, or cabinet? Or do your kicks usually end up somewhere they’re not supposed to? Does your baby throw them in all directions while screaming shoooooooooo, shoooooooooo!? It can’t just be ours that does that…
Taylor @ TheProposalEnthusiast says
That is just a perfect solution. As I was reading I was thinking this would be so cute to cover with fabric or paint a fun stencil design on… And then of course you said you were thinking about it! Always on top of things!
Wow, those look great! Love this solution to rounding up the shoes!
Those are so perfect. Roberta for the win!
Krysta @ Domestic for Dummies says
Love it! I would give anything to have IKEA move two hours closer to me. I have been in suspense all weekend for the clothespin chandy reveal. Is it Tuesday yet?
I know- can’t wait! Still have to upload/edit the pics and write that post up- ack!
angel p says
We have a shoe rack (also from Target but many years ago) that lives in our laundry room. It can hold about 12 pairs of shoes easily since it is 3 tiers tall but wouldn’t you know it the kids throw their shoes on the floor in FRONT of it. Drives me crazy because if they are on the floor then I can’t technically get the door to the laundry room open without having to push them out of the way. Coincidentally, ours was a perfect fit as well. It fit just perfectly between our dryer and the wall so it looks like it was meant to live there. I love it when something like that works out.
GREAT solution! Had to say, I just got to visit my first IKEA ever!! Woohoo!! Could have spent DAYS in there!! Unfortunately it’s 7 hours from home, so I won’t exactly get back soon. :( Your comments about Clara reminds me of my son. His FIRST word was “shoe”! He still (at 20) loves shoes and owns more than the rest of the family combined.
It was about her fifth word! And the crazy part is that we didn’t actively try to teach it to her- she just picked up a sandal one day and proudly said “shoe!” – it’s amazing what they absorb!
Very Cool. I love when something just works so perfectly it’s like it was meant to be.
I knew a family with 3 young children that kept all of the kid’s shoes in their minivan.
Anna Barlowe says
Wow, awesomeness. My OCD side totally approves. Wait, that is my only side. Crap. I AM kind of stunned that Ikea doesn’t seem to know how to spell, though. Comparments? My my my. It’s like English is not their first language or something.
Now, I don’t have a baby, because ouch, but can you please devise a way to keep my adorable boyfriend from draping socks all over the furniture? Or perhaps just a simple, clean-lined cabinet to store said boyfriend in, so that he can’t get out to do that? I would want it to be comfortable and have lots of air holes, of course. And a TV, and “comparments” for snacks. Boys like that stuff.
Thanks very much in advance!
Hah- I think you’re onto something with that clean-lined cabinet to store said boyfriend in.
What a neat solution! My latest move took me from a two bedroom duplex with a basement, to a one bedroom apartment with about a quarter of my original closet and storage space, so clever storage solutions are always on my mind. My shoe problem is solved by using a stackable shoe rack from Bed Bath & Beyond in my hall closet for my often worn and on-season shoes, and under the bed storage for off-season pairs, special occasion shoes and boots that just won’t fit anywhere else.
I had a similar problem near my back door . . . just not a lot of space there to keep the shoes without it being cumbersome. I actually found something very similar (not sure where it was originally from) at a yard sale for $10! Genius, and now my kitchen doesn’t look like a dirty shoe convention. :)
Erin @The Drumgoole Family says
We just fixed our entryway shoe dilemma with an unused Itso component from Target, some scrap pieces of wood and a little glue. It turned out perfect for our active family. I’m no longer tripping over kiddie shoes! http://thedrumgoolefamily.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/we-interrupt-the-larger-projects/
That looks great!
Oh don’t you just love Ikea?
What a perfect solution for our extra-small NY apartment! I do not have a baby throwing shoes around yet, but our ferret does enjoy getting right into my husbands boots and running off to hide my flip flops!
Thought not related to shoe storage I recently bought this print to hang slightly above my shoe rack in the entry way. My plan is to find a bright red frame and showcase this puppy at an unorthodox height. Hating my cheap white metal target shoe rack and thinking a big wicker basket may ultimately be more fun, thought with all the snow, salt, and crud in MN it would make all our shoes dirty. Maybe I’ll just hide the rack in a closet!
Leslie Ann says
I see that you were looking to add storage for burger’s leash, as well. Did you ever figure something out for his leash?
That’s still on the list- hopefully when we tackle art we’ll get to that!
Great solution! We go in and out through our front door, and have just a narrow/tall space by our front door for shoes. So I got one of those narrow three-shelf bookcases for organizing the situation. Husband gets one shelf, I get one shelf, and the top shelf has a basket for hats/gloves (since we bicycle for most of our transport, we need these at the ready in the winter). On top, we have another basket for catching the mail, in/out going items, a lighter for the lanterns on our porch, and a couple other things. It works really well – probably partly because we don’t have any little kids pulling the shoes off the rack, haha! You can see a photo here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.542878102563.2057588.179201500&l=3942af5339&type=1 it’s about halfway through the album of photos *_*
PS I just saw there are a couple photos of it 4th and 5th from the end of the album. :)
Oh yeah- cute!
[email protected]'s Bookbag says
Oh my this is some kind of SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE — I’ve been in my home for 4 years and I’ve yet to solve the “shoe problem” — we need something by the front and back door! I’m so sick of looking at all our shoes. Actually we have a basket for my daughter’s shoes that rests nicely on the bottom tier of a slanted bookshelf in our entry way, but our shoes are just lined up all over the place. Thanks for giving me the impetus to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
That looks great! You could spice them up a bit with a peace of wood on top for a more finished look, sort of like this:
That looks so pretty!
We have this same type of shoe storage item from Ikea. When I saw the first pic of your shoe issue, it was the first solution that popped into my head. We love ours and since we refinished the hard woods upon buying we are hoping that this saves them a bit more wear and tear :)
Thank you for sharing this. We have had a major shoe problem for years. Our problem has been in our closets though. This would work perfect in our small closets. You laundry room is looking so great. :-)
Random question. Do you think the color of your kitchen and laundry room would work well with lime green? I love that color. I need to paint my kitchen and want to paint the wall behind the sink lime green. Just for a pop of color. My kitchen is a lot like your old house. A galley type kitchen, window above the sink. Looking at the paint color here, in your pictures, it looks like it would go well with lime green.
Yeah- I think it would go really well since it has lime-greeny-yellow undertones. I would just bring home a bunch of swatches of lime along with the Sesame swatch from BM and hold them up to see what works. Good luck!
Thank you, doing a search now to find a store here that carries the BM paint. I have the lime green picked out already……it is just LIME GREEN. ;-) Lime and orange, my two fave colors at the moment. The sad thing, I get tired of things easily. Paint is a cheap makeover though, right. ;-)
Oh yeah- so cheap. And the lime sounds really fun!
PIECE of wood of course. ;)
Yes, these shoe/recycling bins are terrific. We’ve been using four in our mudroom, and put shoes in the bottom two, gardening gloves in one, and tax receipts in the uppermost one. It works perfectly, cuts the clutter, and keeps our dog from stealing and eating shoes.
What a good idea…and for a steal too! Roberta really is a life safer. I’m going to have to bookmark these bins for my own place. Thanks for posting about them! :)
Something you guys might like in your hunt for artwork-
“One Day Gallery is an online gallery that offers one piece of original art every day of the year. Each day we list a new piece of art that changes at 12AM EST. Each painting will be featured on the front page for three days. Price will increase slightly each day until the work is placed in the previous works at the final price.”
Cool. Thanks for the tip! Off to check it out…
My go to solution was to convert the unneeded “nursery” off the master bedroom in to a closet. I then turned the closet’s closet in to a shoe closet. I had to removed NINE layers of wallpaper which had 6 layers of paint on it, but It worked out lovely. http://geekdetails.com/blog/?p=5273
We take our shoes off at the door too and then they’re set on the stairs until they’re carried upstairs and put away.
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen says
Love this, they look great! We bought a regular tiered shoe rack from Kmart or some similar store and actually mounted it to the wall in the garage right before entering the laundry room. This way it’s off the floor and not collecting dust and dirt since it is in the garage. Works great but we still have too many shoes!
To answer your question about Clara and shoes, our youngest girl is almost the exact same age (14 months), and “shoe” was one of her first handful of words. She loves taking her own shoes on and off, and carrying shoes around the house (especially her older sister’s), all the while saying “Shoe! Shoe! Shoooooooe!” to herself. You’re not alone! :)
Can I ask what size shoe John wears? I was looking @ these last year for the same thing, but didnt think a bulky size 13 shoe would work very well. Great solution!!!
The shoes pictured are 10.5s, Alisha. There’s still a couple of inches of room above them so 13 could work, but could also cut it close. Safest bet may be to actually bring one of the shoes will you to Ikea and test it before buying it. That’s what we did – though I was just wearing the shoe, so it’s not like Sherry had to stuff one in her purse.
Haha, I was just thinking the same thing – but hey, stuffing my husband’s size 13 shoes in sideways sounds better than stubbing my toes on them when they’re lying out on the floor (size 13 dress shoes really do a number on your toes, what with their wooden heels and such).
Such a great solution – and it looks so good!
What a great solution! I might have to check one out for the spare shoes that litter my closet floor!
In our entryway, we have a plain ol’ shoe rack and then a few baskets under the console table for running shoes and sandals. It’s not the most creative storage solution but it works for us.
I’m a big fan of the recycling bins (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90076364)at Ikea! They are great because they are stacking! I’ve got 6 (OK technically only 5 for me and 1 for the hubs, can we say shoe-lover??). Works great!
Ciera @ Rose and Thistle says
Wow what a great, random solution! So perfect for your space. Am also very amused at the Carrie Bradshaw reference for Clara, she’d obviously been having a blast from the looks of the ‘before’ pictures :)
What size shoe does John wear? It looks like his sneakers just fit perfectly in there (maybe there is more room than it appears in the photo?). My husband is bigfoot so wondering if his shoes would even fit in a solution like this.
Thanks – looks great!
John’s an 11. They do seem a little snug in the pics, but I would guess a few sizes up would still fit (maybe bring a sneaker with you to try in the store before buying them?).
Answering this might be TMI – but what size shoe is John? I.e., is there a certain size shoe that won’t fit vertically in the bin, therefore prohibiting it from closing? I want to see if this idea will work for me & my tall husband.
He’s an 11, and they seem to fit with some wiggle room- so perhaps even a size 12 or 13 would work? Maybe try bringing a “test sneaker” to Ikea before buying them is a good idea? Haha.
Jen @ The Decor Scene says
Oh Ikea, how I love thee!!! They for the most part always have the right piece for me when I’m on the hunt for something. Love how the laundry room is turning out.
Hooked on Hickory says
lookin’ good guys! ikea to the rescue!
Hmmm. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if your new home is becoming a shrine to IKEA.
And HomeGoods! And thrift stores! And craigslist! And a local art gallery! And overstock.com! And yard sales! And Target! And Home Depot! And West Elm! And Pottery Barn Outlet! And Hobby Lobby! We actually plan to share a source list for this house, just like our last home! Soon hopefully…
God bless all you “take the shoes off at the door” people. I have never been able to acquire that habit. Then again I have a dog door and a 55lb bulldog who comes and goes from the backyard on his own schedule. I also have concrete floors! LOL
Guess I will just keep vacuuming and mopping and enjoying that I never have to get up to let the dog in or out…or rush home to let him out. ;-)
J. Vinson says
love those. how versatile
I just tagged Sherry over on one of my Pinterest pins with an idea for the laundry room window . . . hope it helps!
And I love the recycle-bin-cum-shoe-storage. Perfect! (The wipeability is a big deal where we live–it’s seriously dusty/muddy/snowy much of the time.)
Your child is not the only one to throw shoes. My son (18 months old) likes to take all our shoes off the shoe tray (which is a not a good place to store them at all), throw them all over the floor, and then stand on the shoe tray.
We need a better shoe storing option. Unfortunately we don’t have the wall space to use the bins you guys got. But thanks for the inspiration – “Better shoe storage” has moved up on my priority list!
[email protected] says
What an awesome storage solution for shoes! I’ll remember this as I trip over our shoes on the way into my house this evening :)
Ashley @ DesignBuildLove.co says
lookin’ good guys! :)
We’re currently using the basket-under-a-bench method to attempt to corral our shoes and dog items. Unfortunately our “babies” (pets) have figured out how to pull the baskets out and throw shoes and toys around the room anyway. http://www.oldtownhome.com/2011/6/23/When-the-Parents-Are-Away-the-Pets-Will-Play/index.aspx
I’m still trying to come up with a better solution, and I love the new storage/recycle bins! Maybe we’ll have to give that a try.
Ahhh shoe storage is a constant problem in our household. I’d love something like this, but my husband’s size 17 shoes would never fit on conventional racks/cupboards. We may have to DIY one! Yours looks great though =)
I’m Monica from Portugal.
I have my shoe storage like this:
And I have a box in the hall to put the daily shoes:
I have to go to Ikea, love your solution.
Very organized indeed!
Lady Goats (Gina) says
Oh, Sherry… you’re so lucky that your husband is neat! haha. Any shoe organization that I try to implement fails if it involves more than taking off shoes… I have piles of shoes near my front door and in my laundry room.
John’s being more anal than I am about the bins! Haha. Last night I had a pair of wedges and a pair of flip flops on the floor (since I wear them all the time throughout the day when we run out and do errands, etc) and he sternly said “One pair of shoes can remain out of the bins at all times- that’s it!” I got scolded. Haha.
I love the shoe cabinet! We have the exact same problem at our house and I’ve been using a basket too. Y’all are so inventive using a recycling bin as a shoe cabinet!
On the top of the cabinet, you could put a bowl or catchall dish for keys.
The room looks soooo cute!
heather @ Like A Cup Of Tea says
With not having kids yet, there are moments of “holy s*** that’s genius”. We’re only a few years out, but we aren’t in the “a kid can get into that” mindset ( we’re in the “the dogs can get into that” mindset, does that count?. Point being, it never crossed my mind about shoes and kids hucking them around, until this post. Little bambino’s are only a year or two out, if I can keep my blaring biological clock at bay that long. I’ll need to keep this in mind when we do renovations to make a place where they can be concealed and off the floor!
katie kindness says
Sooo excited to see this post as i sip my cup of coffee, i am have been trying to get my husband on board with a hidden shoes solution, but he wasn’t like the prices i was finding with the built-ins. You gave me hope for a solution to fit both of our wants!! :):) Thanks for the inspiration!
Great solution! Our baby, 6 weeks younger than Clara, likes to play with shoes too, but he really loves to chew on flip-flops. Yuck! Our “solution” has been to try to put flip flops on the entry room table.