How to Build a Vintage Mail Sorter DIY Shoe Cubby Shelf

Build a tall narrow DIY shoe cubby shelf, inspired by a vintage wood mail sorter! Detailed woodworking plans make this a great beginner project you can finish in a weekend. 

Add storage cubbies to every room and build a toy organizer cubby shelf, entryway shelf with cubbies, and a wall cubby shelf, too. 

Tall Narrow Diy Shoe Cubby Shelf Woodworking Plans, Remodelaholic

Vintage Mail Sorter Shoe Cubby

This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure policy here

Hi guys, I’m Sara from Sincerely, Sara D. I am overjoyed to be here with you all today on Remodelaholic!

Although I believe I’m a misplaced southern girl (I love the sun and heat), I was born, raised and (still) live in the midwest.  I’m mom to three cute kids, and a wife to an amazing man who puts up with my never ending projects and ideas.

I blog about my DIY home decor endeavors, and I will paint anything.  My painted faucets tutorial is one of my most popular posts along with my tutorial for perfect chalkboard lettering.

vintage mail sorter turned diy shoe cubby to store shoes and organize items in an entry hallway

We moved into our current home a couple years ago, and one of the first areas I tackled was our mudroom. It’s a long, narrow space, and it’s our family’s main entrance into our home since it’s right off the garage.

Our kids are pretty good at remembering to remove their shoes when they enter the house, but that can leave an ugly pile of shoes by the doorway.

Luckily we hadn’t lived in our home long before I randomly came across an old post office mail sorter. It was love at first site at a local antique mall and a steal for $80!  I had to have it and was crossing my fingers it would be the right size for my kids’ shoes.

Narrow entryway storage, vintage mail sorter turned shoe cubby, Sincerely Sara D on @Remodelaholic

The guy I bought it from was gracious enough to drive it home to me, but I had a lot of explaining to my husband when I drove up the driveway with a panel van sporting the words “mystery machine” in tow.

He watched as the muddy, wasp infested mail sorter was unloaded – not quite seeing my vision.  However, a little elbow grease, and the piece was cleaned up and a perfect fit in our space.

With three kids, we’re always running off somewhere – school, sports, piano or church. A DIY chalkboard calendar was a great finishing piece for this space to keep us going in the right direction and the perfect companion to the mail sorter.  Two years later, and we’re still loving and using the mail sorter turned shoe cubby!

When Remodelaholic asked if they could create plans so you could build one, too, I was happy to share dimensions.

I also suggested that the cubbies would fit shoes better (especially larger kid and adult shoes) if they were a little bit deeper and a little bit wider than the original mail sorter shelves.

DIY Shoe Cubby Overall Dimensions
Get the printable shoe cubby plans HERE

How to Build a DIY Shoe Cubby Organizer

We asked Amy from Hertoolbelt to draw up some modified plans to build a vintage shoe sorter shoe cubby shelf like Sara’s.

The 12-page woodworking plan is beginner-friendly and ready to build in a weekend! The complete plan includes detailed diagrams and dimensions, and assembly instructions.

Shoe Cubby Dimensions

This tall shoe cubby can be easily adjusted to fit your space (like Kristi did below). The plans include detailed measurements to build a mail sorter cubby featuring 35 cubbies:

  • Overall dimensions: 55” W x 48” H x 11 ¼” D (9 ¼” at the base)
  • Individual cubby dimensions (interior): 7” W x 6” H x 9 ¼” D


This tall shoe cubby is built using 1×10, 1×12, and 1×3 boards, plus 1 1/4″-2 1/4″ trim molding.

If you have a narrow hallway or entryway, you can conserve a few inches of space by using 1×8 and 1×10 boards instead.

You’ll also need


You could make this shelf using just a hand saw and miter box with screws and glue/nails for assembly… but for joint strength and ease of cutting and accuracy (plus saving time!) we recommend these tools: 

Get the complete shoe cubby woodworking plans here.

Inspired by a vintage mail sorter, this DIY shoe cubby is the perfect piece of furniture to help you wrangle shoes. Free plans.


Reader-Built Mail Sorter Shoe Cubby Shelves

We love seeing readers use our plans to create great storage solutions and beautiful furniture for their homes!

If you’ve built something using our plans or inspired by something you’ve seen here on Remodelaholic, send us a brag post here

Dan’s Shoe Cubby

Our reader, Dan, used our plans to build a shoe cubby for his daughter. Turned out great! (January 2017)

Shoe Cubby, Mail Sorter Style, Reader Update On @Remodelahoilc

Here’s what Dan had to say:

I built the shoe cubby for my daughter’s house and she loves it in her redecorated entry way.  I used Kreg pocket screws and biscuits to join the shelves and partitions.  She stained the pine with white stain and 5 coats of polyurethane.

What a great gift, Dan. No wonder your daughter loves it! Thanks for sharing.

Kristi’s Narrow Shoe Cubby Organizer

Kristi was so inspired by Sara’s shoe organizer, that she headed to Home Depot for supplies and made her own!

From Kristi: We used 1×8’s for the cubbies and sides, a 1×10 for the top piece, a 1×2 under the top piece and a piece of decorative trim in front of that under the top lip!
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
I had to make mine fit between two doors, so it’s not exactly as Sara’s is.  Mine is 49.5″ wide and tall, and the cubbies are 6 5/8″ wide and 5 3/8″ tall (give or take a 16th here and there because we’re not perfect!) 
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
We cut out the back at the bottom so it would fit flush with the wall over the baseboards and then mounted it to the wall into studs because it’s so narrow that it could easily fall if bumped.
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
We absolutely LOVE the shoe cubby and my girls are so thankful that they don’t have to carry their shoes to their bedroom closets anymore!  (Where they always ended up in a pile anyway!)
how to build a vintage style mail sorter to organize shoes @Remodelaholic
Get the printable plans to build a tall shoe cubby shelf

Check out more building plans from Hertoolbelt

DIY Shoe-shelf benchconsole table with scroll legs sqDIY kid step stool for bathroom

Shoe Shelf Bench // Scroll Console Table // Kid’s Step Stool

More shoe storage ideas:

Build your own vintage mail sorter shoe cubby organizer, inspired by a thrifted piece, with free building plans on

Published 21 Dec 2015 // Updated 07 Jan 2021

Website | + posts

Amy is the tool lover at Hertoolbelt. On Hertoolbelt, Amy shares DIY furniture plans, handyman tutorials, and craft patterns. She has three pint sized 'helpers' that help fix things around the house and build fun projects.

get the reader favorite

Cleaning Binder & Custom Cleaning Calendar

This 18-page editable cleaning binder printable pack will help you establish a cleaning schedule based on the custom tasks you actually need for your home. From the spring cleaning checklist to everyday cleaning recipes, this printable set is great for kick-starting a cleaning routine and staying on task with annual and semi-annual tasks, too.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. This is so exciting! Thank you Remodelaholic for sharing and organizing the plans for the DIY vintage mail sorter shoe cubby. I wish I had Kristi and Amy’s skills! The plans look fabulous. Way to go, ladies!

  2. I store a lot of jewelry supplies in plastic shoe boxes. I have been looking for some way to organized those boxes with easy access and this would be perfect!

  3. I was so excited when I realized there were actual plans and not just a repurposing of something most of us will never be able to find! I do have a glitch though. Most of these cute projects are not usable in my home. I have baseboard heat and no one ever takes that into consideration when making these projects. Maybe you ladies will keep that in mind and come up with a solution. I’m sure others have baseboard heaters too!

  4. The plans turned out so well… I kinda want to build another one now! Thanks for including me in this awesome DIY!

  5. Thank you for the plans for this beautiful organizer. Do I spy that you also painted the electrical panel? I plan to start on this right away, and my panel is also right where it is going. It is such an eyesore! This should work great in our narrow hallway!

  6. It looks gorgeous and perfect for what I want. It will be my first project but I’m really stuck on something. I don’t understand how to attach the dividers to the 2 1/4 ” top frame. Where and how to I put the brad nails in? I understand how to bang in the brad nails underneath as you have clearly marked this on the drawing. This also goes for all of the dividers at the top. Do I bang the brad nails in at an angle, going into the divider and up into the above shelf? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      On the top row of dividers, nail through the 2 1/4″ board into the dividers. On the rest of the dividers you can ‘toenail’ them in on an angle like you are talking about. Really, the top nails are to hold them in place until the glue dries.

  7. I love this. I am not a handy person, so I will probably hire someone to build this for me. Thank you for including plans! This will definitely lower the cost.

  8. Hello,

    I love this plan and want to build this as I have been looking for a vintage mail sorter for my entryway. Problem is they are either too expensive or too tall or wide. I have one question, I would like to build this and finish like the original in picture. Do you have instructions with colors how to make it look like the original photo. It looks vintage and that is exactly what I want! Hope you can help!!!

    1. Hi Bob,
      We don’t build these to sell, but there are talented woodworkers all around that do, and any of them can use our plans and make the modifications like you’d like.

  9. My husband and I just made this for our mudroom and we love it!! As written it would have been slightly too wide to fit so we made it only 6 cubbies across (and made the cubbies slightly wider). I think the photo that shows the pieces of wood and all the cuts you have an extra board in there! Just wanted to let you know.

  10. Hello, I am just gathering supplies to start the shoe cubby I read through the instructions fully for the first time and on step 3 second sentence, and subsequent steps….”use wood glue and brad nails to secure the dividers into place”. From where? If the row of dividers is directly above you cannot nail down, at they put in at an angle? From where? Everything else looks great. Thanks.

  11. Hi, I am new to this furniture building thing, and I read that you need a clamp for pocket screws. I can’t figure out how a clamp would work with this piece. Any hints?

  12. Fabulous job. I love this post, and truly could use a piece like this. I know we will not be able to tackle this until this summer. I’ll print yours out then. Yours look amazing. I hope ours turn out just as pretty and adult usage.