Reclaim That Vacant Space Under Your Stairs With This Genius Shoe Storage Solution

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One perk of having a staircase in your house is that you get all this neat space underneath it to do with as you please. For those with ample creativity, this could mean anything from a mini-game room or office space to housing your nearsighted, orphaned nephew for a few years before he learns he's a legendary wizard. If you are a more practical soul with a zealous interest in mass-purchasing footwear, you could transform that vacant, triangular corner into a space for extra shoe storage. Even if you're not in dire need of more room for your sneakers and boots, you can simply transform it into a mini-mudroom

Mudrooms are like a quick pit stop in your house where you can change into cleaner footwear to avoid trudging in dirt from the great outdoors. It doesn't matter how expensive your footwear is — as long as you wear it outside, you are bound to return with unwanted guests. An estimated 421,000 bacteria units follow you home via your shoe soles, according to a study conducted by University of Arizona microbiologist and professor Dr. Charles Gerba (via The New York Times). Whether you decide on a mudroom or a shoe storage cabinet, make sure to do proper research on what the storage space could look like and what building it would require. 

The types of storage units you can make

Creating new shoe storage lets you repurpose that unused space under your staircase and add some character to your home. You can build a pull-out storage unit by designing the space as a large cupboard and installing a couple of sliding shelves and knobs to yank them out with. Another fun way to decorate the space is by installing shelves and then adding a door mirror to see what you look like with your new kicks. From the outside, all you see is a mirror, but when you slide it open, you reveal hidden shelves of footwear. 

If you have kids who come home dirty from soccer practice, a mudroom would be ideal. It's a hassle having to mop up dirty floors, but with a mudroom, family members could drop shoes caked with dirt and pick up some clean house slippers before entering the main house. Don't leave your four-legged babies out of this, either. 

Set up a station in the mudroom dedicated to cleaning your pets after rough play outside. That could include towels, foot mats, brushes, and yummy treats to make them stop squirming around while tidying up. For those extra dirty days or if your pups love to while away hours digging in the dirt, you can include these adorable $36 disposable booties from Amazon. The booties cover their paws and keep your floors clean, at least until you can lure them upstairs to the bathroom with one of those treats.

How to pull off under-staircase storage

Building your under-staircase shoe storage will take some skill, but if you're a seasoned home improvement fixer-upper, then you can pull it off. Depending on what style you're going for, some basic tools you might need are an electric multitool, a stud finder, wooden shelves and boxes, nails, and a lot of wood. You can either build it from scratch or utilize premade frames and shelves. When crafting from scratch, you'll make the drawers and attach them to a frame inside the staircase with extension slides for easy mobility. Then, hide your creation with front panels to match the rest of the wall. This IKEA hack will create a beautiful pull-out storage under your stairs using IKEA's KALLAX units, which you can opt for if you want to skip building new shelves.

For a storage space with mirrored doors, you can get your custom-cut mirror from Fab Glass and Mirrors. Attach the mirror to the storage doors using a mirror-safe adhesive such as Seal Bond, which you can find on Amazon for $17. Or, if you don't want to spend the money on a custom mirror, Amazon has a great option of self-adhesive mirror tiles priced at $10 for a set of four. If you decide on a mini-mudroom, you can customize the build for shelves, cubbies, and hampers. Make sure any hampers have lids, though. Dirty, sweaty shoes aren't known for their pleasant aromas.