When I walk down the stairs every morning, this was the first thing I see:
Not exactly the ideal way to start my day…. And did I mention, that was also the first view guests saw when they came in my front door?
No mudroom and a small coat closet has caused our entryway space to often be overrun with clutter. The cubbies pictured above worked for a little while. The kids each got a set; shoes in the basket, backpack and personal items in the cupboard and coat hung on a hook in the coat closet. One for each kid and the fourth for me.
I slid boot trays under the units to accommodate IronFish’s shoes and my overflow. He had a places to stash his work bag under a table where he left his wallet and keys every night. It worked. For a while. Then it didn’t.
And did I mention I planned on painting the cubbies but never did because it meant they’d be out of commission for a while?
So I set to work searching the internet for the perfect system that would fit my space and our family’s needs. It just didn’t exist.
Plan B: build my own!
My measurements are obviously based on my space, but were also selected as to best utilize the wood and minimize cuts. I had six feet of space to work with and it needed to be narrow, my couch is on the other side of the piece.
(8) 1×12 boards (I used paint grade), six foot lengths
(1) full sheet of luan or underlayment
(10) two prong coat hooks
(40) shelf pegs
Circular and radial arm compound miter saw
Nail gun and nails
White paint and pains brushes
Optional: Minwax 78500 Regular Finishing Wax, 1-Pound and Cheese cloth
Step 1 – Prep:
Paint all the wood white (or color of your choice), both sides, two coats. Two of the six foot lengths stay full, these will be your top and bottom pieces. The other six pieces cut off two 13 inch pieces which should leave you with 45 inches, make sure they are all exactly the same.
Step 2 – Assemble the Box:
It’s possible to do with one person, but definitely easier with two. Butt the cut end of one 45″ piece to the end of one of the 6′ pieces, nail gun in place and repeat with another 45″ piece at the opposite end. Nail the other 6′ piece to the opposite ends of the 45″ pieces, creating a giant box (it’s best if this is laying down), the top, bottom and ends of the cubbies. Next evenly space the rest of the verticle 45″ pieces.
I stood the piece up in place to make sure I was happy with it…. And because I ran out of time working on it and needed a place to put it for a few days!
Step 3 – Attach the Back:
Lay the box on the ground. Lay the underlayment on top, lining up the top and one side along the edge. Scribe the other two sides and cut using a circular or jig saw. Attach to the back with a nail gun or finishing nails.
Step 4 – Shelves:
Decide where to put the shelves. Originally I planned on covering boxes in burlap to act as shoe bins, however I realized the old Ikea baskets would then be looking for a home, so I might as well keep using them. Mark where the first shelf should be, with enough room for the basket to slide in and out. Mark 4 holes, two on each side making sure they are level. Drill the holes large enough for the shelf pegs to fit snugly into them. Place your shelf and repeat in all the other spaces. Repeat the whole process if adding a “drawer” or other basket. I made my “drawers” out of boxes cut to the right height, about 4 inches.
Step 5 – Finishing Touches:
Mark and pre-drill holes for the cost hooks, one set on each side of the cubbies. If you’ve made boxes, cover them, I used contact paper but I also considered duck tape or fabric.Fill it up!
Now when I walk down the stairs in the morning, this is what I see, soooooo much better. Between this and my wall mounted mail sorter, my entryway functions and as long as I keep on top of the kids, it looks nice when company comes knocking!
All right, truth, this is what I see when I walk down the stairs in the winter. Things really packed in there. But, I still think it is a great use of space and I can’t even imagine what I’d be dealing with if we were still using the old system. As the girls are getting older, I’m working on reminding them that if it doesn’t fit in their cubbies (ie bags for various activities) then they should find a place in their bedroom for it.
Either way, everyone has their own space for the things that they need to get out the door for school and work. I’m still dreaming of a mud room, but in the mean time, this will definitely work for our family!
I really thought I had taken more pictures, but I have no idea what happened to them (or if I actually even did!). Since I’m not going to be building another one any time soon to take more pictures, please ask questions and I’ll gladly do my best to answer!
Using cheese cloth or another lint free cloth, rub clear furniture wax into the whole piece and wipe off with a clean piece of cheese cloth. It forms a protective layer over the cubbies making marks and spills wipe off easily.
Do you have a mudroom? How do you deal with the daily clutter of coats, shoes and bags?