Shoe Trolley DIY Shoe Organizer

shoe trolley shoe organizer with chair

shoe trolley shoe organizer

Why are floor shoe organizers 12″ deep, when the clothes above them are 24″ deep?  This drives me crazy.  For years, I had 2 racks of shoes on the floor and I was constantly crawling (digging) around under all my hanging clothes trying to find the shoes I wanted.  When we remodeled our attic bedroom and added a walk-in closet, I thought it was a good time to deal with the issue of shoes.

My shoe storage requirements were these:

  1. Store more shoes than my flimsy metal racks had before.
  2. Store them so they didn’t look like a pile of shoes from a garage sale or a department store sale rack.
  3. Store the shoes so they were easier to get to than by crawling around on my knees.
  4. Be relatively easy to build.

My solution was this.  A shoe trolley.  A do-it-yourself (mostly) shoe organizing system.


  • 4 Closetmaid 25 inch long x 19 inch x 11 5/8″ deep 15 cube laminate organizers
  • 1 piece 2′ x 4′ birch plywood (ours was 1/2″ thick)
  • 5 swivel castors and wood screws
  • 2 handles and then 2 extra washers to fit the blots provided with the handles
  • 2 bolts 2″ long and 2 bolts 1″ long with 4 nuts and 4 washers to fit
  • paint and brush 


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  • table saw or handsaw
  • hammer
  • screwdriver
  • power drill
  • tape measure + pencil
  • wood clamps

1.  Assemble the shoe organizers

shoe trolley shoe organizer assemble outside frame

This trolly consists of four individual units that we put together back-to-back.  Start by screwing together the outer box frames.  (This part is easy because the holes are all pre-drilled.)

shoe trolley shoe organizer hammering on back

Next, hammer the backs to the outer box frames.  The back is out of a thin particle board material but because we were putting them back-to-back, I wasn’t too concerned.  My only annoyance with this step is that when I hammered in the nails around the edge, a couple of them were too close to the frame on the inside and poked through.  My bad. (I’m much better at using a hammer for stamping metal jewelry than I am at hammering nails!)

shoe trolley shoe organizer - assemble cubbies

Next we assembled the interior cubbies which have slots that just slide together.  After we finished this step, I messed around with my shoes and my husbands shoes to see how many, and how easily, they would fit into the cubbies.

shoe trolley shoe organizer end view

Clearly, who ever designed this unit was not well informed about platforms and a women’s desire for sky-high heels.  The black heels on top of the trolley are 6 1/2″ high and won’t fit in the smaller cubbies, no matter how you shove them.  But, these are evening shoes and I don’t wear them everyday.  I do however like to keep them on a high shelf and glance at them occasionally and pretend I have a life style that requires fabulous shoes.

As far as the rest of my shoes went, the smaller slots work great for flip-flops, flats, slip-on’s etc.   I can get a pair of heels, tennis shoes, and even my husbands shoes in the small cubbies if I nest them heel-to-toe.  But for our everyday shoes I wanted more room to store them easier, so we adapted the cubbies to create wider slots across the front of the unit.

2. Customizing the shoe organizer

shoe trolley shoe organizer cut size panels

On the outside edge of the horizontal cubbie boards, cut out a slit the same width and length as the others slits.  We used  a table saw, but I think a handsaw would also work.

shoe trolley shoe organizer - assemble the outsides

Here is a picture of the end slot just cut.  The shorter vertical cubbie boards will now sit against the edge of the cabinet frame to support the horizontal boards, making more room for shoes.

shoe trolley shoe organizer -attach 4 units together

Here are the two customized shoe organizers, back to back to the other two units.

3.  Connect the 4 shoe organizers together

shoe trolley shoe organizer - attaching 4 units together

Align the four shoe organizers back to back.  Attach some wood clamps to help hold them together tight.

Bolt the units together using a nut, bolt and 2 washers. We located two in the backs and 2 more in the upper inner corners as you can see in the photo above.

4.  Attach the wheels

shoe trolley shoe organizer attach bottom board

Wait!  Stop!  Paint the bottom first! Because we didn’t and I regretted it later.

Flip the unit upside down and align the plywood base with the edges of the case.  Holding the unit together with clamps, mark the 5 swivel wheel locations.

shoe trolley shoe organizer - attaching the wheel

Drill pilot holes and screw in the swivel wheels.

shoe trolley shoe organizer - attach corner wheels

Here’s what the unit looks like on the back side, upside down.

6.  Attach the handles

shoe trolley shoe organizer - handles

Mark the handle location and drill pilot holes on the ends of the shoe trolley.  Here is where you need extra washers, because the thinkness of the end panels is different because we moved the dividers to the outside. If you didn’t make the modification you probably won’t need to use the washers.

The shoe organizers came with plastic covers for the screw heads and plastic dowels for the holes.  These tap in easily with a hammer.

This show trolley will work great for you if:

1.  You have a lot of floor space, but not a lot of vertical space.  Our home is a 1930’s tudor style home and our upstairs has really high but very steep ceilings.  So we have a lot of height and space in the middle of the room, but only enough height on the outside walls for one rod of clothes. So our goal was to maximize the floor space below.

2.  You have seasonal shoes or special shoes you don’t wear often.  The back of this unit is full of winter shoes and special shoes that I wear occasionally.   So for me, pulling this trolley out and pushing it back into place is so much easier than getting on my hands and knees and I don’t have to do it that often.

3.  These boots are made for walking.  But they don’t fit in the trolley.  My boots and super high heels are either sitting on top of the trolley, or on other shelves within my closet.

shoe trolley shoe organizer in closet

“There are two things you can never have too many of. Good friends and good shoes.”

shoe trolley DIY shoe organizer


  1. Great tutorial!!

  2. Found you through Apartment Therapy – this is an awesome idea! I have much less space than you seem to, so I’d probably do a single set back to back; possibly even make two smaller ones. The casters and handles are a game changer!

    • Hey Kathleeen – that’s great! I love mine…plus it’s basically another shelf on top, so I’ve been using that for additional shoe storage as well. Glad you liked it! k

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