I have found that keeping things tidy around the home is much easier if you can plan for a little bit of laziness. I have a catchall tray on our entrance table for mail and keys, with adjacent space for my bag, and a storage bin for shoes and slippers outside. The storage bin is a new addition, and it already has done wonders for my sanity.

My husband and I are both runners, and on any given day, we use at least three pairs of shoes each: running shoes, slippers and work shoes. Carrying those shoes down from the closet and up again several times a day was just not working, and soon our shoes began to overflow our entry. Now, when we are done with a morning workout, we can just open the lid of the bin, throw our shoes in and get on with the day. When we are ready to leave again, work shoes are waiting outside at the ready. If you want to outfit your outdoor space with a time and sanity saver, consider some of these ideas:

Get creative with crates. You can paint wooden milk crates and flip them on their sides to create storage. Hang them on the wall to keep them elevated off the ground and use the tops for flowers or other décor. You also can create a bench. Link two or three together, and add wood to the top and bottom and cut legs to add to the bottom, as well.


Go double-duty. Wooden storage benches, chests and trunks give you plenty of space inside for storing your shoes, and, with tops that are extra durable, they also double as additional seating when needed. You can buy these ready-made from hardware stores, furniture retailers or superstores.


Look up. Stack and hang baskets or cube storage vertically. This allows you to take adva


ntage of otherwise unused space. Plus, the baskets or cubes let you keep shoes separated by user.

Shelf it. Outdoor shelving paired with baskets or even galvanized buckets gives you space to separate shoes by owner and to store other things, as well. Just

make sure to look for material that won’t be susceptible to weather damage.

Quick tip: Plan for the weather. Make sure your outdoor shoe storage is in a covered space. If the flooring underneath has a tendency to get wet when it rains, elevate it with legs or even a plant stand to ensure the storage and the shoes inside won’t be damaged.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email