The £3.99 shoe rack hack going viral as a smart space-saving solution for growing seedlings indoors

Get down to your local Home Bargains ASAP!

Seedlings growing in a tray
(Image credit: Getty Images)

March is the perfect time to start growing vegetables, fruit and flowers. However, while it's still a touch early for showing seeds outdoors, we've found a clever hack for making space indoors for starting your seeds off. 

When learning how to sow seeds, you will need a little warmth in early March to help them germinate. Seedling pots can take up a lot of space if you're doing this inside your house, but one keen gardener on Instagram is going viral with her hack for making more space with a shoe rack.

Sophie Valentine is the latest gardening fan on Instagram sharing this clever method for stacking seedlings inside. You don't need fancy gardening equipment, just a £3.99 shoe rack and seedling pots. 

The shoe rack gardening hack for seedlings

In a video shared with her 63,000+ followers, gardening influencer Sophie revealed that for this indoor gardening hack, she headed off to Home Bargains to pick up one of their wooden shoe racks, which cost just £3.99.

She explains that she bought two for her gardening purposes, and that while they come disassembled, they were incredibly easy to put together. You don't necessarily need to buy Home Bargain's wooden shoe racks, though they are a great option, and one of the most affordable shoe racks around. If you can spend a little more, this £18 Argos shoe rack is also a good alternative.

Sophie then shared that – instead of popping her heels, flats and boots on this shoe rack – she placed them on top of a cabinet, and popped her seedlings (in trays) onto the tiers of the rack.

In fact, in the video, she places two racks on top of one another for double the amount of space for her seedlings, offering her three levels in total on which to place the trays. In the caption, she explains that this is a great hack, as it’ll allow you to start gardening and growing seeds even in the cold weather.

'March is a busy time for seed sowing and I like to use the warmth of my house to get things germinating. Once they have started to sprout I kick them out to the greenhouse,' Sophie says.

But if you're not lucky enough to have a greenhouse and want to copy this trick, you can of course keep your seeds on your shoe rack until it’s a little warmer and safe to plant them out.


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She’s not the only one trying out this trick on social media; another TikTok creator revealed that she opted to place seedlings in trays in a shoe rack she already has, adding extra warmth to them with a couple of lights installed above them.

Other online creators have been using back-of-the-door shoe racks for germinating seedlings in the warmth of the home – which actually makes a lot of sense, thanks to the handy little pockets of space which are ideal for housing a small pot.


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Neil, owner of The Bath Gardener, agrees that this is a brilliant way to get started with this year’s seed sowing schedule, and perhaps even a better method of germinating seeds than usual options. 

'This hack is great, as success rates with gardening are higher if you start off your seeds indoors, and it’s cheaper to do it this way as well.

'It will also mean people aren’t using a windowsill, which can be problematic due to the fact that they can be the coldest place in the house at night, and the hottest in day; seeds don’t like extremes – instead, consistently warm soil is best for germinating.'

Pumpkin plants growing indoors in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images/Trudie Davidson)

He also suggests that this shoe rack is a great way to get little ones at home involved in gardening. 'Anything to get new gardeners interested – there are so many benefits to getting budding gardeners involved at the early stages of germination.'

However, he did note that if you're going to use this trick for your seedlings, the shoe rack should be carefully placed within your home. 'Location is key,' Neil explains. 'Choose a place that is safe from heavy traffic, pets, cold drafts, and excess heat, and where spills of potting mixture, water, or fertilizer will not be a problem.

'It’s also important to choose a spot with enough space to accommodate later sowings of seed, and with enough space for seedlings to grow and be transplanted to larger containers.'


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine