Some of the items in my home carry only memories of people or times gone by. Others are there not just because they carry wonderful memories, but also because they are incredibly useful.
When I was small, i spent a lot of time at my grandmothers’ house. In the US north east, winters presented special challenges with organizing outer wear and foot gear. The winter gear of my brothers and I (there were 4 of us) created a big pile at the front door, which Grandma had to push out of the way or sort through as we came and went. What a mess!
Her solution was a bench, built by Grandpa, that had hooks for hanging lots of stuff, an under cabinet for shoes and boots, and a seat to sit on. It took some training to get us to use it ‘every time'; for us, it was easier to just drop it all on the floor and continue into the kitchen (perhaps we would have learned earlier if there weren’t cookies always waiting for us when we got there!). However, we eventually recognized the value of the piece, for reasons not just related to shoes.
The piece sat in the alcove at the front door, out of the way of house traffic. While we could fit, the cabinet offered a great hiding spot for Hide-and-Seek (although sometimes my big brother just sat on the lid and wouldn’t let me out), and stowing secret treasures until it was time to go home. The bench was used as a time-out seat, but was also really convenient when we were older, and had a girl to sit with, in relative privacy. But its main purpose – storing winter gear – was its best aspect.
As we grew, so did our feet, and our shoes! By the time we were in our teens, we were wearing sizes 10 through 13, and had a couple optional pairs as well. They all fit into the cabinet (although we weren’t tidy about it) and the front entry could be as neat and tidy as Grandma wanted it.
After my grandparents passed, I got the bench. I put it at the front door, and have sat on it many times dressing my own kids in their little snow suits and boots. Their book bags will hang there, and they will sit there in ‘time out’, as I did, many, many times. And, when necessary, I will stow all the winter gear of my own family into the cabinet, open the front door and welcome guests into my tidy, organized entry hall. For ideas for your own shoe storage benches check this out.