OCC Wish List: Shoebox Shelves

Wish List Shelf Unit

When last October rolled around – the month before Shoebox Collection Week – empty shoeboxes were taking over our creative spaces.  I needed a place to put them!

That’s when I designed a pulley-operated shelf idea.

  • A large piece of wood
  • Suspended from the ceiling
  • With a complex pulley system

With help from memories of my Daddy’s ingenuity and my big brother’s lessons on sailing, I designed the mechanics on paper and my husband offered to build it. It would work beautifully!

Reality Hits My Bones

My plan, however, was for empty shoeboxes. But Packing Day taught me that empties are only a month-long challenge.

The real challenge is storing goodies throughout the year.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized lowering my shelf loaded with partially-filled shoeboxes every week to add creations and purchases was not going to happen in any sense of my reality.

It was a good idea, and one we may implement in the future for truly always empty shoeboxes – as long as I have help in the lowering.

Life Experience Meets New Season

But for the time being, I needed a different plan. I tried the old Kinney shoes move, oh about once: Pull out a nearly empty lower box while keeping the upper boxes intact.

I Need That Shoebox


My husband and I used to be really good at that. And, it was a thrill to discover [nodding my head at my accomplishment] I still had the skill. Sort of.

The reality was:

After I scooched a few nearly-empty boxes at my feet, unstacked several nearly-empty boxes at the top, I was able to pull a box out without causing a total spill. Of course, there were only a couple of boxes above by this time.

Topples and tumbles looming on a regular basis turned my motivation to sort while I store to mush. But I wouldn’t give up!

Wish List

It was time for a feasible-for-this-season-of-my-life plan!

Thanks to Simply Shoeboxes‘ courage to spend on shoeboxing storage as well as contents, I put a shelving unit on my Wish List.

Wish List Shelf Unit

We’d already bought one a bit over a year ago for our craft supplies, so I knew just what I wanted (after I searched several home improvement websites for other options, of course).

I came to the same conclusion I did over a year ago:

Shelf Unit

I had birthday money saved up and was ready to spend it, when my husband said, “This is really a home improvement project, so it should come out of our housing budget.” 

Who was I to argue?  (Fiddler on the Roof suddenly pops into my mind.)

I had planned on getting the shallower set of shelves, but when I measured in real life at the store, I found I could get twice as many boxes on the wider shelf for only $10 more. And since it was coming out of the housing budget anyway

Wave Crests Over Shoebox Shelves

I love how the wave crests over the shoebox shelves – rather like God’s blessings over our shoeboxing.

My husband put the shelves up – and a few other doodads I’d been waiting for muscles to hang, which turned into an almost all-day project.  Thank you, Robert!

I’ve only had the shelf unit up for a few weeks (by the time this post goes live it might be a few months) and I absolutely love it! Now, when my in-house basket of goodies gets full, I can pop each item – easily! – into a shoebox with others of its kind.

No lowering of a box-filled boom, no shoeboxes toppling.

OCC Shelves

Safety – and joy in serving – first!

Now, time to fill up those shoeboxes!

It’s Your Turn

Have you had to blend life experience with current realities to meet present-day needs or to reach future goals?

More sorting and storing for Operation Christmas Child …

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  1. looks great! I caught 1/2 off bins sale at Dollar General to stowe lots of my stuff! the attic is not convenient but keeps projects/supplies out of sight. It is necessary for me so I can concentrate on the projects at hand.

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