Entryway Clutter Collector


Entryway Clutter Collector (The Reluctant Hippie}

Our entryway is a mess. Our home doesn’t have a mudroom, so everything gets tracked into our kitchen (via the garage). We installed a bench with space underneath for shoe storage a few years ago (which we LOVE), but it was constantly covered with jackets, school papers, lunch boxes, mittens, mail, you name it.

We needed a place for all of the STUFF to go. And that stuff had to go in a pretty small space. I looked into lots of products, but none of them seemed like the perfect solution. I looked up plans for building a custom piece, and we could’ve figured that out, but it still would’ve cost around $150 and taken us a long time to complete (we lack both tools and skills).

So we decided to cheat and use a pre-existing piece of furniture to create the shelving/coat rack unit. I found a bookshelf at our local furniture resale shop, sanded and painted it, added a few hooks and bins, and voila! Entryway Clutter Collector.

Entryway Clutter Collector {The Reluctant Hippie}

We removed the top shelf of the bookcase (full disclosure: my neighbor Dusty removed the top shelf. When I asked to borrow a sawzall, he asked what I was trying to accomplish, then brought over the tools and took care of the job for me. Because he is an awesome guy. I owe him cookies or something) so that we could install hooks on the inside for the kids’ coats.

The bookcase was only $20 because it had wood veneer. This presented a challenge in refinishing because we couldn’t just sand it down and apply stain. We had to scuff up the veneer a bit so that the paint would adhere. I used 220 sandpaper and a Black and Decker Mouse detail sander (on loan from the neighbor. I might owe Dusty cookies and a pie).

The paint was Ben, by Benjamin Moore. I love this paint. It’s zero VOC and low odor. It went on so easily, and it only took 2 coats to finish the job. I still have 1/3 of that little quart left. And that Teal Blast color? Swoon.

There are hooks on the sides both inside and outside the unit. The ones on the inside hold the kids’ coats because they are shorter. The outside hooks are for the grown-up coats. Installing the hooks was a little tricky because the included screws were just slightly longer than the width of the boards. Not long enough that I felt compelled to buy shorter screws, mind you, but just a little too long. There was an oops with drilling too far on one of the screws, and the others pushed the veneer out in little bubbles that you can see if you look very closely. However, they are not very noticeable, and they will be covered with coats anyway.


I opted for Command hooks for the interior hooks across the back. The backing of the bookcase is basically cardboard, so I knew that it wouldn’t be thick or strong enough to sink the screws into. I thought about putting a stronger piece of wood across the back to reinforce the area, but we would’ve either had to drill it into the sides of the bookcase (which were not all that wide or sturdy to begin with) or attach it to the wall and screw that part of the bookcase into the wall. If we were concerned about tipping, that second option would’ve been great. I was more concerned about portability for the unit in case we need to move it. Since these two hooks are only going to be used for empty lunch bags, Command hooks should be strong enough.

This is a one-stop shop for all of the stuff that comes in the house after work and after school. I’m so excited to have it finished and in use. So far, it’s working beautifully.

Cost breakdown:
Bookshelf: $20 (St. Vincent DePaul Deja Vu furniture resale)
Paint: $15 (Ace Hardware – Ben paint, color: teal blast)
Sandpaper sheets – 220 grit (for the dental molding): $1 (Ace)
Package of 220 grit sandpaper sheets for the Mouse sander: $6 (Home Depot)
Paint rollers: $8 (Home Depot)
Hooks (2 packages of coat & hat hooks, 2 per package): $10 (Ace)
Command hooks: $9 (Target)
Bins: Already in our collection. The ones in the picture would be about $40 at Target, though they go on sale pretty regularly.

Total project cost: $109. 



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