I had a problem, which was this.
Now, it’s not what you’re thinking, I’m not a millions-of-pairs-of-shoes kind of gal, I’d generally rather have a few pairs of good leather shoes than a dozen pairs of cheaply-made, brightly-coloured shinies.
No, my problem is the size of my flat, or more specifically, the size of the hallway in my flat. There are three or four pairs of shoes I wear regularly, and these, along with various pairs of slippers, usually started the week in a more-or less organised row, and ended up looking like this:
When I started to notice the problem, I measured the space and went on the look-out for something that might turn up in one of the many Brockis (or second-hand shops) that turn up in odd side-streets and along country lanes when you least expect them (and more annoyingly, when you don’t have time to spend in them.)
I toyed with the idea of making this, which I had originally wanted to make to house my record player, until one of the aforementioned brockis came up with a sort-of sideboard that does the job beautifully.
Now, anyone who spends any amount of time on Pinterest, will have noticed the trend for upcyling old pallets into charming, rustic, albeit potentially time-consuming and not always sensible furniture. I tended to look at these pins and then, for the most part, pass them by. I thought, it’s not really upcycling if I have to search high and low to get hold of some company’s pallets, even provided they’d let me have them free. Then I’d have to lug them home. Probably on the bike.
As I mentioned this in passing to The Boy, probably after seeing a giant stack in a yard somewhere, he said “but I have loads of them!”
Now, before I go any further, I want to mention that I am NOT advocating turning all of your furniture out into a skip or an Emmaus shop in preference for up-cycled pallets. Absolutely not. The creations on Pinterest look lovely, but it’s important to remember that pallets aren’t designed for indoor use. The wood is almost certainly treated with some pretty nasty stuff, which isn’t ideal for something that you’re going to be spending any amount of time in close contact with. Like beds, sofas, or really anything that needs a lot of wood for its construction.
For myself, I’m willing to risk the less-than-50% of a pallet that went into the making of this shoe rack, because I am not going to be putting my head on it at night.
That’s said, now to continue.
As the distance measured from the outside of one runner to the opposite side of the middle runner happened to be exactly the same as the stretch of wall that my shoes inhabit, the idea was something like this:
In reality we took the 2 green-shaded pieces from different pallets because of broken slats and other niggles that annoyed me too much to be allowed to contribute to the, er, rustic charm, of the finished article.
We sawed them out:
And yes, we used a hand-saw. Because in Switzerland you’re not allowed to make noise on a Sunday.
So, in the end I had two more-or-less identical pieces that looked like this:
Plus a short length cut from one of the narrow slats on the pallet, about a foot long, in case the rack needed more stability.
So, we come to the tedious dusty part, which was to sand away the rough edges, splinters and slug trails (they’d been kept outside for some time.) We did this by hand too, partly because it was a (different) Sunday, but also because I only wanted to make it un-splintery, and to keep some of the greyness of weathered wood, and the raw patina. (Yes, I’ve spent far too long with the sort of people who can rhapsodise purple over this sort of thing. Some of it was bound to rub off, and I can’t work out how to get the “ironic font” on this thing…..
Then we glued some pieces of thick cork to the bottom of the piece that was going to be the bottom layer, to protect the floor from the wood, (although all my best intentions won’t save it from the darts that occasionally miss the board on the back of my door..)
And what we had looked like this:
So the only thing to do was to assemble it in place, and work out where the little extra piece would go to best support it. In the end we sawed it in half lengthways and screwed it to both “shelves” where they stick out past the kitchen door frame so that they wouldn’t tip forward.
There is one thing about it that is a tad annoying, which is that on the middle and bottom shelf you can’t put shoes at either end because of the blocks which separate the layers, but I stick my slippers in sideways, so it’s not too annoying. And hey, it’s a lot better than the chaos that had broken out before!
What other shoe storage solutions for small flats are out there?