If you have more than 2 children, you must implement some sort of shoe organizational system near your back door. Do not underestimate the difficulty in finding 6 shoes (8 if you include your own) any time you want to leave the house. The purchase of a shoe shelf/coat rack with 3 cubbies and training the children to use it may be our best move of 2008!
The shelf we have is from LL Bean Home (I know, I didn't know they had furniture at LL Bean, either!). It is their "painted cottage locker" and is very reasonably priced at just over $329. I promise I am not intending (nor do I get compensated) to advertise for LL Bean, but I'm trying to help out other moms because we're all busy and you might as well benefit from my experience! We bought it on the internet and I'd give you a link to the site and product if I knew how to do that, but I haven't figured it out yet. I am doing good to have included a photo for you; I'll save researching how to add links another day! Anyway, back to the Cottage Locker. It is great because the hooks are low down. The whole thing is only a little over 4 ft. tall, so that gives you reference about where the hooks fall. So, even your 3 year-old should be able to hang up her coat! Before finding this one, we looked at the locker type shelving at Pottery Barn, and aside from being much more expensive, the hooks are way higher up.
I added the Container Store extra shelves at the bottom of each locker to hold more shoes. Notice my boys get away with one shelf, thus being able to hold their 2 pairs of shoes, but my daughter's cubby needed a little more room! Count them up, 5 pairs of shoes!! For a person that will outgrown them in a few months, crazy! But, give me a break, she is my only girl!!
I'm not sure if this was a good decision, but I didn't order the LL Bean baskets that fit in the top cubbies, because the style didn't really match my house. I planned to get different baskets somewhere else, but never found any the right dimensions. Then I happened upon the Dollar Store beach pails. You won't hurt my feelings if you say they are tacky looking, I kinda ride the fence on that, too, but they are functional. I don't have to see all the junk my kids cram in them (think party favor treasures!) and they have a handle so the kids can carry them to another room if needed.
Oh, and one last thing and then I promise to stop going on and on about shoe storage! This is a mudroom type of locker, but we don't actually have a mudroom. Just to encourage you other mudroom-less people out there, you can put this locker somewhere else in your house. Our house was built in the late 1980s, maybe before everyone saw the light about making bigger laundry rooms, and my laundry room literally holds the washer and dryer and that is it! We set up the locker on a wall in our breakfast room that is near the back door. I am a little picky about not wanting my home to be too cluttered (at least downstairs in adult-land) and this locker does not bother me as making things too cluttered looking. It is definitely better than the table draped in coats and backpacks!