Every classroom needs more storage, and every teacher needs a budget break. That’s where milk crates come in! There are so many ways to use these inexpensive (or free if you can find them!) crates. Take a look at some of the clever ways folks are using milk crates in the classroom, then head out to gather up a few of your own and give it a try.
1. Craft milk crate seats with built-in storage.
This Pinterest-worthy project has been popular for ages, and it’s easy to see why. A few simple DIY steps turn milk crates into comfy seats that are the perfect height for little ones. Plus, lift off the padded lid and you’ve got plenty of storage space! Hit the link below for a tutorial.
Source: The Apple Tree Room
2. Add some legs for bigger kids.
Add some legs to the classic padded milk crate seat, and you’ve got a taller stool that’s ideal for older kids or even adults.
3. Twine it up for simple seating.
Weave a pretty pattern with sisal rope to make this stool. These portable seats would be ideal seating for outdoor learning experiences. Get the how-to at the link below.
4. Up the comfort factor with a backrest.
A little woodworking, and a plastic milk crate becomes a comfortable chair for just about anyone! It’s not as hard as you think. Check out the link below for instructions.
5. Line them up to make a bench…
Zip-tie several milk crates side-by-side and you’ve got seating for a whole crew! Use the space beneath to store books, toys, or other supplies.
Source: Sun, Sand, & Second Grade
6. Then turn those benches into a cozy reading nook.
Oh, how we love reading nooks! This one is especially pretty, with its milk crate benches, gauzy backdrop, and floral accents.
7. Assemble your own stability ball seating.
Stability ball chairs are a fun choice for flexible seating, but they can be expensive. Make your own with milk crates and large “bouncy balls” from the discount store!
Source: The Enthusiastic Classroom
8. Attach milk crates under chairs for handy storage.
This is a terrific idea for classrooms with tables instead of desks. Use zip ties to attach crates to individual chairs. Now kids have storage no matter where they’re sitting!
Source: Kathy Stephan/Pinterest
9. Or secure them to the sides of desks.
Give students a place to stash their stuff during class, or stock the crates with the supplies they need for that day’s lesson. This is especially useful for the all-in-one desks often used in junior high and high school.
Source: Leah Allsop/Pinterest
10. Build a table to go with the milk crate seats.
Milk crates are made to be stackable, which gives you lots of options. Assemble a configuration you like, then top with wood for a sturdy surface.
Source: Janet Neal/Pinterest
11. Create a comfy corner couch.
Use plastic crates to make a platform, top with a crib mattress, and add some cushions along the back. Now you’ve got a comfortable place for kids to settle in and read the books you can store underneath!
Source: Brie Brie Blooms
12. Assemble colorful cubbies.
Stack and secure a collection of plastic crates to make individual cubbies for each of your students. Label them with their names so they’ll always have their own space.
Source: The Coffee Crafted Teacher
13. Mount plastic crates to the wall for shelving.
Get crates up off the floor and attach them to the walls instead. You can configure them any way you need, at any height that suits you.
Source: The Container Store
14. Make the most of a corner space.
We love this creative use of plastic crates to create corner storage. Remember to use the right hardware to make sure your crates are securely attached to the wall.
Source: Randy Grsckovic/Instagram
15. Turn an unused coat rack into more storage.
Hanging crates on the wall is even easier if you can use hardware that’s already there! This is a fantastic way to make use of unneeded coat hooks.
Source: Sara Brinkley Yuille/Pinterest
16. Expand your options by adding some wooden shelves.
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Stack crates with wood shelves between for a sturdy storage solution.
Source: Ever After… My Way
17. Craft a bookcase on wheels.
This rolling bookshelf allows you to take the storage wherever it’s needed most. Wouldn’t this make a really cool traveling library cart?
18. Throw in file folders for easy classroom mailboxes.
Use file folders in plastic crates as “mailboxes” for your students. Return graded papers, distribute daily lessons, hand out flyers to take home… all in one place.
Source: The Primary Peach
19. Plant a classroom garden.
Lined with burlap and filled with potting soil, milk crates make a great container garden! You can even do this indoors if you put down something to protect the floors first.
Source: Hobby Farms
20. Construct a milk crate cart.
The creators of this cart used an old scooter they had lying around. No scooter? Attach wheels and build a handle from some inexpensive PVC pipe instead.
21. Fashion a basketball hoop.
We all know kids are going to practice their trick shots when they throw papers in the trash can. Why not make a basketball hoop to hang above it by sawing the bottom off an old plastic crate?
22. Set up a coat closet or dress-up center.
Turn cubbies into a closet by adding a metal rod for hanging coats or other items. This would also make a clever space to store dress-up clothes and accessories. Get the DIY at the link below.
Source: Jay Munee DIY/YouTube
23. Set sail for adventure!
OK, these milk crate boats won’t float, but that won’t stop kids from hopping aboard and using their imaginations!
Source: Lisa Tiechl/Pinterest
What are your favorite ways to use milk crates in the classroom? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.