Kids tote a lot of stuff to school and use a lot more while they’re there. And they need places to stash it all! If your school or classroom doesn’t have built-in cubbies or lockers, you might be looking for other solutions. These DIY classroom cubbies provide options for handy teachers who love to build, busy teachers with no time to spare, and budgets of all sizes. You’re sure to find something here to fit your needs!
1. Assemble a tub tower
A stack of big tubs and a handful of zip ties are all you need to create this storage tower! This is easy enough for anyone to assemble—and it’s lightweight, so you can move it around the classroom as needed.
2. Build a bucket wall
When Haley T. shared these classroom cubbies in a discussion on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE Facebook group, other teachers were instantly intrigued. Colorful buckets mounted to the wall make sturdy storage spaces that will last for years.
3. Tape off some personal space
Sometimes all you really need is a place for kids to plop their stuff. This P.E. teacher came up with a simple solution. “Students bring down so many things to my class: water bottle, sweatshirt, lunch box, papers, folders, belongings from the class before. I decided to give students their own cubby space where they can place their belongings in their own designated number, and at the end of class I can call out specific numbers for students to get their things and line up, or if things are left behind, I can announce what number it is in!”
4. Corral some crates into classroom cubbies
Milk crates are a popular and easy option for student storage. You may be able to get them for free, but if not, you’ll find colorful options at the dollar store that work well too. Many teachers suggest using zip ties to hold them together for added stability. (Get more ideas for using milk crates in the classroom here.)
5. Separate cubbies for easy access
No one said you need to keep all your cubbies in one place! Try making smaller stacks around the room so kids don’t bunch up around them at busy times. Stacking them by tables and desks makes them even more convenient.
Source: Thrasher’s Fifth Grade Rockstars
6. Turn trash bins into stash bins
These inexpensive trash bins from IKEA are sturdy and easy to hang. At only a few dollars apiece, they’re economical enough for an entire collection of classroom cubbies.
Source: Renee Freed/Pinterest
7. Hang up sturdy plastic totes
Plastic totes are usually available in a wide variety of colors and sizes. If you mount them on hooks, kids can easily take them down to root through and find what they’re looking for.
Source: Prepping for the Primary Gridiron/Pinterest
8. Fasten plastic baskets to the wall
You can get a whole bunch of colorful plastic baskets for very little money. Mount them to the wall to save space or try attaching them under individual chairs, using zip ties.
Source: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard
9. See why teachers love Trofast
If you’re looking to buy something that’s pre-built, a trip to IKEA may be in order. The Trofast storage system is a perennial favorite of teachers because the bins come in bright colors and a variety of interchangeable sizes. Since they’re from IKEA, they’re pretty affordable too.
10. Craft a laundry basket dresser
These ingenious dressers are similar to the IKEA Trofast system, but you can save some dough by DIYing them instead. Get the full instructions at the link below.
Source: Ana White
11. Construct homemade wall cubbies
If you’ve got a few tools, you can assemble these cute wall cubbies in no time flat. Make as many as you need, in any color you like.
Learn more: Remodelaholic
12. Convert tote bags into hanging storage
If you’ve got a row of coat hooks but no classroom cubbies, try hanging inexpensive totes from them instead. Kids can stash whatever they need inside and hang their coats on top.
Source: Teaching With Terhune
13. Put together a PVC frame for plastic totes
PVC pipe is relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. (Pro tip: Many home improvement stores will cut the pipe to size for you!) Build a rack to hold individual totes for each student.
14. Create milk crate storage seats
Rather than a row of classroom cubbies on a wall, why not give each student room to store what they need right at their seats? Find a how-to for this popular craft at the link below.
Learn more: Music From B2Z
15. Stow lightweight items in hanging organizers
Hanging closet organizers are easy to find and don’t take up much space. They’re best for lightweight items rather than books, though.
Source: Play to Learn Preschool
16. DIY a set of rolling wooden cubbies
It’s usually less expensive to build your own instead of buying them. If you’re going that route, try this plan for student cubbies, which has lockable wheels. That way, you can easily move them around your classroom.
Source: Instructables Workshop
17. Use the shelves you have
It’s pretty easy to find used bookshelves at thrift shops or online neighborhood sale groups. Make the most of them with baskets or bins for each student, and they’ll make perfectly good cubbies.
Source: Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas
18. Save money with cardboard boxes
It’s not the fanciest option, but cardboard boxes with plastic baskets tucked away inside will certainly do in a pinch. Cover the boxes in wrapping paper or contact paper to dress them up.
Source: Forums Enseignants du primaire/Pinterest
19. Alter existing shelves into cubbies
If you have units with adjustable shelves, this is an easy way to make room for coats, backpacks, books, and more. Remove a couple of shelves, add some adhesive hooks, and you’re done!
Source: Elle Cherie
20. Upcycle plastic litter containers into classroom cubbies
Got cats? Save your plastic litter containers and stack them for student cubbies. The lids can even serve as “doors.”
Source: Susan Basye/Pinterest
Come share your ideas for classroom cubbies in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Need more classroom storage ideas? Check out these teacher-approved options for every kind of classroom.