Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
Review: Revolving Toddler Shoe Tree
We are in storage heaven this week. We bought a shoe tree.
It’s kind of like a metal coat rack, with shoes placed on rotatable carousels. A heavy circular base keeps the unit from tipping.
Unlike an over-the-door shoe hanger, all levels of the tree are accessible to a toddler.
Unlike a shoe bench or floor rack, the tree stays orderly with every shoe having its place, all visible quickly without stooping. And with a 12 inch diameter, the unit occupies minimum floor space.
(The pole at lower left in the photo was unscrewed from the tree to reduce the overall height to 3.1 feet, making the shoe tree more toddler-friendly.)
One of my daughter’s 3-year-old friends is smitten. Upon entering our home she’ll say, "Would you take a pair of shoes off so I can put my shoes on your shoe rack?"
In our defense, we did not give birth to Imelda Marcos. We do have 19 pairs of toddler shoes, but most are hand-me-downs from friends and my daughter does cycle through all of them. (…snow boots, cold weather boots, rain boots, running shoes, slippers, dress shoes…)
We also use the shoe tree to hang mittens and hats and sometimes scarves.
This particular tree, the 4-Tier Satin Nickel Plated Revolving Shoe Tree by Whitney Design, has some nice features.
First, it has four carousels affording space for up to 24 pairs of shoes. Not 24 shoes. Twenty-four pairs.
Second, the carousel heights are adjustable. Each one locks into place with a tightening screw (see photo below). Have large rain boots? Give one carousel a little extra space.
(Seen above, screw knobs are used to adjust the height of the four carousels.)
Third, the tree’s overall height is adjustable. This is not an advertised feature, but the vertical pole that comprises the tree’s trunk is actually three pipes that screw into each other. If you faithfully follow the installation instructions, your tree will be 4.3 feet tall (1.3 meters). That’s too tall for a toddler to reach the top.
So, I removed one of the poles and presto-change-o, the tree is now 3.1 feet tall (.95 meters). The four carousels fit acceptably in the shorter length so long as toddler shoes are being hung. Adult shoes may be too long for clearance between the carousels.
Using the tree at it’s full intended 4.3 foot height could be attractive for mom and dad to hang a six pairs on the top rung, accessible without bending down.
I found the Whitney Design shoe tree at Costco for $17, although not all Costco stores sell the same merchandise, and it is likely a limited time offer. Most online stores [Amazon] sell the tree for about $30 (Costco is notorious for its slim 14 percent maximum markup on products.)
Long-time readers may recall a previous shoe tree I reviewed two years ago. It was purchased used from an out-of-business daycare. It held fewer shoes and was sad in a Leaning Tower of Pisa sort of way, but we loved it just the same. We may continue using it to hang coats and hats, or donate it. The newer tree simply holds more shoes, which will be important after our second child arrives.
My wife thinks I upgraded because I’m in nesting mode. But she’s only saying that because I’ve assessed every single possession we own, reorganized our closets and bought new bookshelves and moved our daughter into a different room and bought a new ceiling light to make way for the baby. It’s been a productive two weeks. Anyhow…
Are we insane? How many shoes does your kid have? Where do you store his or her shoes?
Update: Feeling a little defensive about having 19 shoes, I cleaned out 8 pairs that don’t fit or we despise for other reasons. That leaves us:
- Snow boots (purchased used for a rare snow trip)
- Regular boots (very warn)
- Speedo pool/beach shoes
- Sandals (hot weather)
- Open toe shoes (for somewhat warm weather)
- Mary Janes (dressier)
- Tennis shoes (running)
- Ballet slippers
- Soft slippers
- Hard sole slippers (for colder days on our hard floors)
- Rubber rain boots