Stash'n'Dash: No Tools Entryway Organizer

7 Materials
2 Days
Do you have a cluttered, messy entryway full of shoes, backpacks, purses, and a whole range of other trinkets? But don’t want to pay $100+ for furniture to hold your dirty shoes that you can’t even customize?? Well friends, we have the solution for you! We're calling it the Stash'n'Dash, because it's a place for you to stash all your favorites that you need before you dash outta the door! And best part, this project requires NO TOOLS, so it can easily be done in any environment! Just make sure you have a well ventilated space if you decide to stain or paint your crates before assembling them. Let's get started, shall we?
Step 0: Obtain your supplies!
We found our supplies at Micheals, but we have also seen the crates at other stores like Walmart/Amazon. No matter where you obtain your supplies, make sure that the crates have slats, handles, or other holes on all sides! These openings are what allow you to put the piece together using only zip ties. Zip ties are wonderful because using them means you can reconfigure the piece whenever needed. It's also very easy to add or remove crates from the piece with this system, and the finished product is still extremely sturdy! The crates we found are 12 1/4" W x 18" H x 9 3/4" D. That should help you determine how many crates you want to purchase. —also below there are images of configurations with four or six crates which may also help— The crates were around $10 each to give you an understanding of the price. Yes, $45-$65 dollars isn't super dirt cheap, but it is significantly better than the $100+ you'll pay for a pre-made organizer. Furthermore, you can customize this one to your exact tastes, and change it whenever you need.
It’s not super important to have a perfect understanding of what your location or configuration will be at this point, but do form a general idea of how big you want your piece to be and how big it can be to fit in its final home! This way you can purchase the correct number of crates upfront.
Step 1: Sand your crates!
Do not forget —or plain skip— this step! Sanding will help any finish you apply adhere better and apply more smoothly. More importantly, our crates were riddled with areas that would give little ones and adults alike splinters galore. Be careful when handling the crates before this step and make sure to sand between slats and around holes. This is where we found the most issues. The insides of our crates were very —VERY— textured, so we didn't attempt to sand them completely smooth. We just focused on places that could cause splinters or patchy application in visible areas.
Step 2: Clean off your crates and work area
Make sure you clean off all the dust and debris that sanding can produce on your crates and work surface before moving on. You’ll thank us later.

This is where the customization starts! Apply your stain, paint, or wax according to instructions. Make sure you have a well ventilated area if using products with potent fumes. —Open the windows even if just using simple craft paint! Fumes on these products are no joke, guys, and no one wants a home that smells like paint!— If you really want to go all out, you can get different finishes for your different crates, like the blue accent crate in the dark stained version we did. For a super unique look, you can layer different finishes. You could do a stain topped with another stain, two paints, or mix and match stains and paints to express your unique style. You could also totally paint on some fun designs like flowers, initials, or your favorite print. Another great idea is to use different finishes on the inside and outside. Finally, one last little idea! If you have a cutting machine, like one of the Silhouette or Cricut machines, you can top your paint or stain with cut vinyl designs, which would be beautiful!You should be perfectly fine with a small jar of stain. If using chalk paint like the one pictured. Get at least two bottles for four crates. Two bottles was enough for one thick coat that did completely cover the underlying wood. We used a little over half a bottle of chalk paint to do the red accenting on the gray crates. Be aware that when layering paints and stains the colors will not always be as shown on the bottle.
Step 4: Measure your location
You probably already have a good idea of where the piece is going, but now is the time to figure out the details. Measure the spaces that you may want the piece to go and decide on the perfect spot! Take height, width, and depth into account. Also, think about if you are gonna add any other pieces like artwork to your new dash center. These things may affect how you want to configure your piece.
Step 5: Configure
This part was super fun! We moved our crates into our space to figure out exactly how we wanted the piece to look. You probably want to let your crates dry completely before this step unlike us; learn from our mistakes! Now just move the crates into all different configurations until you completely fall in love and can not bear to change them even a little bit. —no worries if you fall out of love because you can always change it up later—
Remember you are gonna be zip tying the crates together, so you want some of the holes from each crate to align with some of the holes on the other crates. Before you settle on a design make sure that every crate can be secured to it's surrounding crates in at least one spot, but it's better if multiple spots line up. Another important idea to think about if you used different finishes on some of your crates is color placement. If you want a certain crate to really stand out 'cause it's totally your fav, put it at the top. If you want your accent color to not stand out as much, try placing it on the bottom. We did not test these crates out for a bench style design. —as in we did not sit on them and see if they would hold our weight— If this is the style you would like, please test the crates out before purchasing them!
Step 6: Add zip ties!
Just as a quick explanation we were originally gonna do this project two ways. Once with the zip ties and once with nails and glue. We wanted to make sure that everyone no matter their skill level or tool collection could make these organizers. But upon trying to hammer these crates, we realized that the slats pop off very easily. —you can actually bump them out of place with your hands sometimes— Because of this and the fact that the zip tied version was so sturdy anyway, we decided to just do the one.
So, placement? You really want to make sure that all of the crates are connected to their surrounding crates in at least one place. Try to place the little knobs in hidden areas. —inside of the handles, between slats, on sides that will be facing a wall or otherwise hidden— You also want to make sure the zip ties are as tight and flat as possible. Don't forget you can string zip ties together if you really must, but this bond is not a strong as using just one zip tie by itself. Only do it if you absolutely must. Once you think your piece is secure, trying picking it up. If it all comes off the ground and nothing feels loose, then you're good to go. If nothing comes off the ground, you may have done something wrong. Haha, but seriously just make sure that the sturdiness of the piece meets your needs. If you ever need to change your configuration, simply cut the zip ties holding the crates together, reconfigure, and add more zip ties.
Step 7: Cover visible ties
This is another fun one! Cover ties that will be visible even when the piece is full. It's okay if you can see some of them in the back inside area of the crate. One, it will mostly be covered with your stash. Two, most people are not going to bend over and inspect your shoe organizer for minor "flaws." You can glue on faux flowers, tie on some ribbons, —it would be super cute to change the ribbons to go with the seasons— add chalkboard signs or tags, or you could simply paint them to match your finish. Whatever you decide on, make sure it expresses your style!
Now just add your stash, and you'll be ready to dash! Haha! Just fyi, the crates we purchased do fit the cloth storage cubes available at most stores if you need closed storage. If you watch the video, we placed some clips showing how sturdy the pieces are towards the end. It honestly really surprised us how durable and flexible these little guys are. You can also easily add the little screw-in hooks to the sides for bags and backpacks! If you're a little more advanced and have the proper tools, you could totally add some little feet or possibly even lockable casters to the piece. Let us know how your version turns out!
Watch the video to see the whole process put together! Thanks for reading!

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  1 question
  • Voni Weingart Voni Weingart on Oct 08, 2017
    Could you have zip-tied them about 6 inches from the front? It seems that that would negate the need for hiding with bows, etc.


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3 of 17 comments
  • Linda Abate Linda Abate on Sep 13, 2017
    I love these crates. You can do so much with them. They look great painted, stained or left natural. Great for play rooms, closets, garages, and pantries. Great job.

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Oct 01, 2017
    I love how you used zip ties to put your organizer together. I used crates to make DIY shelving/storage systems in two closets. (But I used screws.) My "pantry" is a former coat closet that I converted into a pantry by adding crates! Your colors are great, too!