Space Saving Strategies: Shoe Storage

Camper under-the-bed, rolling shoe rack

With five people in our camper, we found on camping trips that the entry area was always getting clogged with shoes. So in preparing for our 2015 West Trip we needed a better shoe storage solution. Once again I headed to Pinterest for some ideas. I saw one idea that used small PVC piping to create a shoe rack just inside the door. I was intrigued but knew the design would not work for us since our entry area is narrow. So I started pondering other unused areas of our camper and the space under our bed emerged as a prime contender. I had already been planning to modify this space to better utilize it, so I merged the two ideas and came up with the following solution to hold as many as 15 pairs of shoes (three per person). I have step by step instructions below (including tips and hints I gleaned from my mistakes).

Under bed shoe rack

Materials needed:

  • Three 10′ sections of 1/2″ PVC (when you are picking them out try to find the ones with thicker walls)
  • 32 half-inch “T” connection pieces
  • 4 half-inch corner connection pieces (that have a 90 degree angle and an up connection)
  • PVC primer and glue
  • PVC cutting tool
  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Roller wheels (optional)
  • Drill and bits (only if using optional wheels)

These plans are for a rack that turned out to be 27″ deep, 36″ long, and 12″ high. You will need to modify these plans if you have a different size space.


Before Shoe Mod

Step 1: For me this meant removing the wood panel on the side of the bed. I did this very carefully so that if we ever sell the camper I can easily replace the panel. (Before our trip I will also need to reinforce the bed support–but those details are not part of this post).

Under bed shoe storage

I then had to cut the PVC sections into the following sized sections:

  • 30 — 10″ sections (for parts that stick up to hold shoes)
  • 25 — 4″ sections
  • 4 — 5″ sections
  • 6 — 2″ sections
  • 4 — 7″ sections

Step 2: I used four T connection pieces and five 4″ sections to form the main center sections. Prime and glue these together as you see in the picture below. When doing this step I suggest using a flat surface to make sure that all of your Ts are pointed in the same direction. Repeat Step 2 four more times. Under bed shoe rack

Under bed shoe rack

Step 3: Make sure that these five sections are all the same length. While I know I measured and cut the pieces the same, I found that several did not push together the same. Use a straight edge to line things up and make adjustments as needed.

Under bed shoe rack

Under bed shoe rack

Step 4: I primed and glued the 20 10″ sections to these cross bars to form the center shoe stand portion.

Under bed shoe rack

Creating the ends was more difficult that I had planned. I wanted to find joints that had four openings (like a T with an additional opening pointed out of one side), however, I could not find these. So for the next two steps you may have to experiment, but the following is what worked for me.

Step 5: I took six Ts and six 2″ sections and made the following:

under bed shoe mod

Step 6: I used three of these created joints, two corner pieces, two 7″ sections, and two 5″ sections to create an end piece. Repeat this again for the other side. TIP: Make sure before you glue these together that the cross bars will fit and that things are square. Once you have determined that all fits, then take it apart and glue it all together.

Under bed shoe rack

Step 7: As seen in the picture above you need to add the last 10 10″ uprights to the end sections.


Step 8: After the glue has dried, flip the rack upside down and drill holes and insert rollers into the rack. For us this will make the shoes easier to access as we can pull the rack out to access the shoes in the back without lifting the bed.

Under bed shoe rack

Finished rack in the camper!

Under bed shoe rack

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