Everyday, Simple Idea #11: Coat and Shoe Storage Bins

I am sharing some of the simple, daily things I do at home as a Mom that come from my occupational therapy background.

#11  Coat and Shoe Storage Bins

Shoes BinChildren learn independence through routine and organization.  One of the ways I try to teach my children independence is encouraging them to manage their own coats and shoes when coming and leaving the house.  While it is often easier and faster to just do it for my kids, in the long run decreasing their dependence on me is a huge gain for both them and me!  Additionally, learning to take care of ones self teaches task persistence, problem solving, responsibility, and pride in accomplishments.


  • I keep my kids belongings in easy to use storage near the main door.
    • It is important to match the ability of your child- toddlers needs simple bins on the floor, but as children get older, the goal may be to use hooks for backpacks and coats.
  • I have bin for each kid, large enough to hold all the stuff.
    • So for us, that is 4 bins (2 for shoes, 2 for coats/hat/mittens/snowpants).  The bins may not look pretty, but they contain the mess and are functional.Coat bins
  • Make it a routine.
    • It took some time, but it was worth the effort to create the routine.  When coming home the first task is always “coat and shoes away.”  When leaving, both children must find their own coats and shoes and put them on to their own ability.  For my toddler, that means just finding her own belongings and waiting for help.  For my preschooler, that means putting on her own shoes (sometimes on the wrong feet) and putting on her own coat (with help zipping).
Paige Hays is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.