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

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.

Source: 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 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 (Classroom Cubbies)

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!”

Source: @humans_of_p.e.

4. Corral some crates into classroom cubbies

Colorful plastic crates stacked into 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.)

5. 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.

Source: Thrasher’s Fifth Grade Rockstars

6. 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.

Source: Renee Freed/Pinterest

7. 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.

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

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.

Source: WeHeartTeaching/Instagram

10. 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.

Source: Ana White

11. 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

12. 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.

Source: Teaching With Terhune

13. 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.

Source: Formufit

14. 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

15. 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.

Source: Play to Learn Preschool

16. 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 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

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.

Source: Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas

18. 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.

Source: Forums Enseignants du primaire/Pinterest

19. 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!

Source: Elle Cherie

20. 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.”

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.

20 DIY Classroom Cubbies for Every Budget and Classroom