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
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
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!”
Learn more: @humans_of_p.e.
4. Plastic drawers make for a personal workstation
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.