Before we even moved into this house we had decided we needed a shoe/storage bench for by the side door. We don't really have room for a dedicated entryway area so we needed a place to store shoes. This bench and a few coat hooks keep it pretty organized.
I found this amazing website a few months ago, Ana White, and she has TONS of plans for household items. Its great because then you don't have to do all that mental math and struggle. Torrey made this bench and it didn't take long at all. We used some leftover olive green paint from our TV stand and ta-da! We have just what we wanted. Room for shoes underneath and room for little items in the bench itself.
If you are handy or know someone who is I high recommend Ana Whites blog!