Sometimes it seems like teaching is one endless round of collecting and passing out papers. Student mailboxes keep the hassle to a minimum, plus they teach kids the responsibility of checking their boxes each day. Mailbox options run the gamut from more expensive models that will last for years to inexpensive and DIY options to fit more modest budgets. We’ve rounded up all our favorite student mailboxes ideas here. (If you’re concerned about keeping separation between students and supplies this year, we’ve found a couple of options that work for that too.)
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1. Customize pre-made student mailboxes
If you’re in this for the long-haul, invest in this sturdy wooden organizer (available on Amazon). It comes in plain white, but with a little paint and time, you can create a cute or funky piece that fits your own style.
2. Try the milk crate system
Hang file folders in a crate to make student mailboxes that don’t take up much space. And that clever flag on the side lets them know they’ve got mail: genius!
3. Hang shoe organizer cubbies
Make use of a closet rod, or hang these student mailboxes from a clothes rail. Either way, it’s an inexpensive and innovative solution! ( Find those shoe organizers on Amazon.)
4. Or try a shoe pocket organizer
These are usually sold as over-the-door organizers, but you can hack them to hang on a wall too. And they’re so affordable! Get a well-reviewed shoe organizer on Amazon.
5. Tape folders to their desks
In a year when teachers and students will need to keep their physical distance as much as possible, this simple idea might just be your best bet. It keeps students from congregating in one area to pick up their papers.
6. Use magazine holders as student mailboxes
Whether you buy inexpensive cardboard models or invest in sturdier plastic or metal options, magazine holders make great mailboxes. We like these colorful ones from Amazon.
7. Magazine holders work horizontally too
Turn plain magazine boxes on their sides and tape them together. Then, cover them with contact paper, and you’ve got cool student mailboxes!
8. Add photos for younger learners
Pictures will help your youngest learners know which box is theirs. (This is especially nice when you have a class with 4 Emmas and 3 Jacobs.)
9. Invest in drawer organizers
Drawers make student mailboxes a little more private, which is great for returning graded papers. Grab a 4-pack of these stackable 3-drawer sets on Amazon.
10. Label student mailboxes with binder clips
Instead of putting new stickers on each year (and then trying to peel them off later), try the binder clip trick! These are easy to make and simple to move around as needed.
11. DIY with upcycled cans
How cute is this set of student mailboxes? Those repurposed cans have a whole new life in the classroom!
12. Turn a pocket chart into mailboxes
Pocket charts have so many uses in any classroom. Here, they serve as a really easy space-saving mailbox solution. Buy this pocket chart here on Amazon.
13. Staple up file folders
This is similar to the pocket chart idea, but all you need is a stack of manila file folders and a stapler. Low-cost, high payoff!
14. Make an IKEA run
Teachers love IKEA! For a long-term student mailboxes investment, try IKEA’s beloved TROFAST collection. These sturdy hanging bins are big enough to fill with all sorts of items and will last for many years.
15. Use chair pockets as mailboxes
16. Create student mailboxes from cereal boxes
Here’s a terrific low-cost option: save old cereal boxes and stack them into student mailboxes. Cover them with wrapping paper or contact paper for a simple solution that fits even the tightest budgets!
Now that you’ve got a handle on in-class mailboxes, it’s time to get their take-home folders organized! Here are 8 innovative ways to get them under control.