Our cabin came with a medium-ish sized dresser in the bedroom. It’s about 3.5′ tall and 2′ wide. The drawers were pretty shallow, which could be a good thing. Except that we’re just not big fans of dressers. We’ve found that if we have to go through the very laborious task of pulling a drawer out, we’re just not very likely to use it, or keep them neat if and when we do use them.
Okay, apparently we’re lazy. BUT I do still very much prefer to keep cleaning up after ourselves as easy as humanly possible so we can spend more time doing more
fun productive things.
To make this particular dresser worse than most though, was that it had been sloppily painted several times, so all of the drawers stuck and went all wonky every time we tried to use it. So I gave up and it sat there empty for months.
In the meantime, I had been trying forever to come up with shoe storage ideas for our shoes, which had just been sitting randomly and inconveniently on the floor.
Then came my idea for a free shoe cabinet: take the useless dresser, remove the drawers and use the base of each drawer as a shelf to fill in the hole that was left behind under each drawer and store the shoes in there until we get to a permanent solution.
The cool thing about this project is that it doesn’t have to be temporary! If you get the dresser you want and have the space for it, this would be a great permanent shoe shelf/cabinet…and no one would know it was a DIY. In fact, even a cheap dresser could potentially look pretty custom.
Here’s how to make your own shoe shelf/cabinet from a dresser:
Time needed: 10 minutes
- Find yourself a free or cheap dresser.
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are usually full of free ones. There’s also Goodwill or other thrift shops, or one of my favorite stores: the curb.
Even at a thrift store, you can generally find a dresser for $10 or less.
This one, with it’s shallow drawers was perfect for men’s shoes and lower heels, keep the height in mind when you’re shopping in case your heels are too tall.
- Remove the first drawer
- Remove the back piece of the drawer
With the drawer on the floor, hold onto the face/front of the drawer and whack the back piece out with a hammer.
Be careful because chunks might break off and nails will be exposed. You will definitely need to vacuum after this to make sure no slivers get left behind.
- Slide the base of the drawer out
Once the back is out of the way, the base of the drawer should slide right out.
Place the base of the drawer back in the dresser where you removed the drawer from.
If you’d like, you can add some hot glue to the corners to keep it in place, but we found we didn’t need any reinforcements for ours–they haven’t budged.
Repeat for remaining drawers.
- Re-finish your new DIY shoe cabinet as you’d like and/or load it up with shoes!
What do do with the rest of the dresser parts
You’ll now have a pile of bottomless drawers. You can just toss them in a burn pile (if they’re solid, unpainted wood). Or if you like doing small projects like I do, you can disassemble them for use elsewhere. Personally, I’m thinking picture rails or shallow wall shelves for the bathroom or kitchen.
You may also have a pile of handles or knobs you could give a makeover to and use elsewhere. Spray paint can work wonders on knobs. If not, I’ve always been able to find a customer for things like this on FB Marketplace, listed for free (or if you paid for your dresser, maybe you can recoup some of the money by charging for the knobs?).
If you try it, please share below, we’d love to hear about it!