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Real homes: shoe storage for untidy people

A few weeks ago, I shared my hall update. 

One of the ugly parts of the old hallway was the abundance of footwear scattered about the place: mine, largely – I am untidy, and also a shoe hoarder, which was bad news for my hallway.

This is my hall shoe pile on an uncharacteristically tidy day, with only horrid-looking running shoes and dog-walking boots lying about, rather than nearly all the shoes I own, tried on in haste as I vacillated about my outfit on the way out. Some people, I know, store their shoes in their wardrobes. Or line them up nicely on special shoe shelves. Or in labelled boxes (!!). I am not that tidy or disciplined.

When I come in, I like to hurl off whatever I've got on my feet immediately, which means the only place it'll wind up is close to the front door. I tried for years storing my prettier shoes on the stairs, but there were too many, or at least too unpretty shoes for the system to work. Plus the stairs are at least five paces from the front door, which proved to be just a little too far. So next came the first giant box. I loved that box. I rescued it when it got chucked out of my old office. It's a wall cupboard from the 1980s with a satisfying pull out and up door. Satisfying until it broke. I painstakingly fixed it, and even installed a shelf inside the box to encourage my shoes to like living in there. The combination of the door falling off several times a day, and having to wedge shoes in by force because the box was always full, meant my shoes mainly wound up on the floor. The giant box was just too small.

But now, after numerous efforts to contain my shoe mountain, I have found my solution. I stopped fighting my own laziness and accepted that the only workable solution would be a box large enough to contain all my shoes at once, with no arduous arranging needed to get them inside, and it had to be easy to open.

Since that didn't exist, I asked the clever builder who was fixing some other stuff late last year to make one. And here it is.

It is made of plywood which I painted apart from the front parts, because I think plywood looks nice with all its stripes. I was inspired by these coat hooks, which you can find at This Modern Life, for £15 each.

It's hard to explain quite how large the box it. To give you a little idea, it's almost too tall to sit on (to put on your shoes, but you can't have everything). Here's a photo of it before the paint, sitting on top of its predecessor.

The handle is a kitchen cupboard handle I bought in Ikea years ago, and I have a few around the house (you can see its partner on the louvred loo door in the background). I painted the box the same grey colour as the wall opposite (Dulux's Bowler Hat, which I had colour-matched and turned into a water-based satinwood finish for the wood). You can't see the wall above, but you can see here, and it gives the space a nice balance I think – as well as space for about a zillion shoes and various other bits of hall crap that no one now has to look at. 


  1. Love this post and great timing for me, I have the same problem in my hallway - since the arrival of our puppy, various shoes, wellies and doggie bits and pieces are gathering! I think a storage box made for the space might be the best answer. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks Raphael. Yes, do it! Would love to see a photo when you're done... It's not necessarily the purist's way to store things, but it works if you'd rather wade through a few pairs of shoes to find stuff than have to tidy it nicely on shelves or take it upstairs

  2. Great idea, especially love that you've kept the plywood layers visible. Very chic.

  3. OMG I need those coat hooks to go in my kitchen! Great blog by the way. Adam

  4. I also have problem with the lack of space for my shoes! I just have so many and I need to think of a storage that will keep them all organized! This is a pretty good solution! Thanks! <3

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