Notice that tiny door in the back? It leads to a world of pure imagination! We knocked out the wall, cut a normal-sized door in half, and wa-la! A cupboard under the stairs. We finished it off with carpet and stapled up some white cardboard walls and added lights. It's like a really nice homeless shelter in there. Perfect for a boy-wizard.
The shoes look kind of stupid, I know, especially those ones piled on that top shelf, but oh well. I might get some totes or something to put them in so it looks better, or I might just leave it and continue to apologize for it. (Probably the second option.) I built that shelving beside the tiny door myself. I apologize for that as well. But the closet is too narrow to build a shoe rack on either side, so we had to make that space work as shoe storage.
A metal rod used to stretch across the space under that upper shelf. Our coats and some hanging shoe racks blocked access to the back of the closet, where there was some extra storage space. Not that we needed to get back there often--it was basically a place to throw random crap. But we took down the rod to give us access to the back of the closet, and added coat hooks to the left wall instead. On the right wall are three backpack hooks and a dry-erase board. And of course we painted (it was dirty white before).
The point is, I have a cupboard under my stairs. (!!!)