30 DIY Classroom Cubbies for Every Budget and Classroom

Give your kids some space of their own.

Examples of DIY Classroom Cubbies including kitty litter containers and student photos on cubbies.

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. You may also want smaller cubbies to house art supplies or books. 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. We especially love that you will be able to personalize them with bright colors or even cute pictures of your little learners! You’re sure to find something here to fit your needs.

1. Assemble a tub tower

Green plastic tubs stacked into a pyramid and held together with zip ties, filled with toys and games

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.

Learn more: Homedit

2. Build a bucket wall

Orange, yellow, green and blue 5 gallon buckets turned on their sides and stacked in rows to form DIY classroom cubbies

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

Taped off numbered squares on a concrete surface

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!”


Learn more: @humans_of_p.e.

4. Plastic drawers make for a personal workstation

A set of white plastic drawers with clear fronts are shown beside a student desk.

Gabrielle at Teaching Special Thinkers shows us how some plastic drawers can be used to help set up an independent workstation. Store tasks to be completed independently inside the drawers and label them accordingly.

Learn more: Teaching Special Thinkers

5. Corral some crates into classroom cubbies

Colorful plastic crates stacked into classroom cubbies and labeled with student names

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.)

6. Separate cubbies for easy access

School classroom showing plastic crates stacked at tables to use as storage cubbies

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.

Learn more: Thrasher’s Fifth Grade Rockstars

7. Turn trash bins into stash bins

White basket-style trash bins from IKEA turned into classroom cubbies

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.

Learn more: Renee Freed/Pinterest

8. DIY pen and marker storage

Three pictures show cubes that have been divided into 4 triangles to house markers and pens.

These DIY cubbies are the perfect way to store markers, pens, pencils, and any number of art supplies. Just follow the step-by-step instructions here to make your own for your art room.

Learn more: Reddit

9. Hang up sturdy plastic totes

Red plastic basket totes hung from Command hooks and used as DIY cubbies

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.

Learn more: Prepping for the Primary Gridiron/Pinterest

10. Fasten plastic baskets to the wall

Four plastic baskets are attached to a wall and used as classroom cubbies.

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.

Learn more: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

11. See why teachers love Trofast

IKEA Trofast storage system used for student storage in the classroom

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.

Learn more: WeHeartTeaching/Instagram

12. Use a shoe organizer for much more than shoes

A shoe organizer is shown holding all kinds of school supplies.

Classroom cubbies can come in the form of unconventional materials like this affordable over-the-door shoe organizer. It is the perfect tool to organize smaller items since its many deep compartments perfectly fit classroom items like glue sticks, markers, Post-it notes, stickers, and more.

Learn more: Truth for Teachers

13. Craft a laundry basket dresser

Wooden dresser system with sliding plastic laundry baskets labeled with letters

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.

Learn more: Ana White

14. Construct homemade wall cubbies

Aqua blue numbered wall cubbies hanging by a table

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

15. Use simple plastic bins to separate books by reading level

Classroom cubbies can hold reading materials like these four white tubs that are holding books. Each tub has a label - level 1, level 2, level 3, and level 4.

Classroom cubbies are often used to house reading material, so why not pick up some affordable white tubs like the ones shown here? We especially love the way each tub is labeled by reading level so little readers can find the perfect book for them!

Learn more: Miss Jacob’s Little Learners 

16. Convert tote bags into hanging storage

Colorful numbered tote bags hung on hooks and used as classroom 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.

Learn more: Teaching With Terhune

17. Put together a PVC frame for plastic totes

Storage system for plastic bins built from PVC pipes and fittings

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.

Learn more: Formufit

18. Create a cubby space for cell phones

Purple and yellow slots are on a hanging cubby. They are numbered.

A hanging organizer like this one makes for the perfect way to store cell phones during the day. While every school and every classroom has different rules around phone usage, this organizer allows for every kid to be assigned a number. These classroom cubbies could even be used to take attendance since any cubbies not filled at the start of the day will be marked absent.

Learn more: Pioneer Optimist

19. Create milk crate storage seats

Red milk crates with blue and green padded seat covers

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

20. Store everything your students need right under them

A blue and pink storage ottoman are shown. The pink one has books stored inside.

This is another cute option for classroom cubbies that double as seating. While not super cheap, these ottomans should last a few years, so investing in a few of them could prove to be a wise investment. We especially love all the vibrant colors they offer!

Buy it: Amazon

21. Stow lightweight items in hanging organizers

Hanging clothing storage bins used for classroom cubbies

Hanging closet organizers are easy to find and don’t take up much space. They’re best for lightweight items rather than books, though.

Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool

22. DIY a set of rolling wooden cubbies

Wood classroom cubbies on rolling wheels surrounded by the tools used to build them

It’s usually less expensive to build your own cubbies 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.

Learn more: Instructables Workshop

23. Use the shelves you have

Bookshelves turned into classroom cubbies with baskets

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.

Learn more: Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas

24. Save money with cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes stacked with lids turned sideways to form bins for plastic baskets

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.

Learn more: Forums Enseignants du primaire/Pinterest

25. Alter existing shelves into cubbies

Tall narrow shelving units turned into classroom cubbies with room for backpacks

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!

Learn more: Elle Cherie

26. Upcycle plastic litter containers into classroom cubbies

Square plastic cat litter containers stacked to form rows of cubbies

Got cats? Save your plastic litter containers and stack them for student cubbies. The lids can even serve as “doors.”

Learn more: Susan Basye/Pinterest

27. Make cleanup a snap

Classroom cubbies can include papers for how to clean-up as shown here. Art supplies are color coded for each student.

There are a couple of great ideas here. To start, color-code every student’s supplies and indicate their “cubby” by a taped piece of paper or felt on the ground or on a shelf. Then, find containers in that color to store that student’s supplies (these can often be found in dollar stores or dollar sections of department stores). Finally, hang up a reminder poster above each spot with photos of how the area should look once cleaned.

28. Really personalize each kid’s cubby

Blue wooden classroom cubbies each have a photo of a different student in them.

Do you have an old set of classroom cubbies? Maybe someone gave you a hand-me-down set? Dress them up with some paint and, most importantly, some adorable photos of each of your students!

Learn more: K Fundamentals

29. Jazz up some magazine files

magazine files are in bright colors and each have a photo of a child reading on them.

These have to be the cutest reading cubbies we have ever seen! Take a photo of each of your students reading a book and then print and adhere it to a simple, cardboard magazine file.

Learn more: Kindergarten Kindergarten

30. Fasten a table and cubby in one

Several tables are made from crates turned on their side with blue round tops attached to the top.

Grab some wooden milk crates, paint them bright colors, and attach a rounded top. These cute tables or desks double as cubbies since book bags, books, and more can be placed inside the base.

Learn more:Katie Martin/Instagram via 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.

Can't afford premade classroom cubbies? Try these creative ideas using baskets, buckets, bins, and more clever storage solutions.