Not every teacher is a clean freak or skilled at organizing. And very few teachers have the time to clean their rooms day after day or period after period. But there’s good news! There are plenty of great classroom storage ideas. You can find solutions that match both your teaching style and your classroom’s space limitations.
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Try These Classroom Storage Ideas
1. Pegboards: If you’re looking for flexible organization options, try a pegboard in your classroom. Make it a work of art by painting it (or allowing students to paint it).
2. Floating shelves: No floor space for shelving but tons of wall space? Make it work using floating shelves!
3. Bookshelves: Keep classroom materials easily accessible using bookshelves. For items that need to be stored together, use small bins, separators, or color coding.
4. Storage carts: Storage carts with drawers are great options to keep student groups or subject material organized and contained in a small (but mobile!) space.
5. Bins: With so many options for bins, you can find exactly what you need for your classroom’s set-up. Clear bins and color-coded ones can help you easily identify what’s inside and what they’re used for.
6. Hooks: 3M hooks are a teacher’s best friend! Add hooks to your classroom walls for hanging student work, posters, and wall organizers, or stick them onto other areas—like the backs of chairs or the sides of desks—to keep student materials off the ground.
7. Cubbies: No classroom storage list is complete without cubbies. You know what to do with them! Need we say more?
8. Cabinets: Hopefully, you have cabinets in your classroom already, but if you don’t, consider making an investment in a few.
9. Community table: Keep a desk or small table in your room filled with the items that students usually need in your classroom—a pencil sharpener, stapler, pencils, etc. Create a table mat that outlines each supply and where it should be on the table. That will help you keep track of what’s missing and give students a reminder of where things go.
11. Mailboxes: Use cardboard or plastic office mailboxes to return work and important notices to students. Label each with a number that is assigned to a student—this way, you never have to relabel between school years or semesters.
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12. Hanging files: If you don’t have the space or budget for office mailboxes, use hanging files instead!
13. Magazine organizers: Use magazine holders for group or student work folders, clipboards, dry-erase boards, chalkboards, and other slim school supplies.
14. Retractable clotheslines: Install a few retractable clotheslines in your classroom to quickly hang student work, posters, or other materials without worrying about them falling off the wall.
15. Paper sorters: Two-tier paper sorters can be used for work pick-up and return to grouped students, classroom forms, your own desk organization, mailboxes between students and teacher, or student work submission.
16. Incline sorters: Use incline paper sorters just like you would a flat one for a smaller footprint in your classroom.
17. Milk crate cubbies: Milk crates are inexpensive options for storage space. When turned on their sides, they can be used together or split up throughout the classroom for smaller cubbies. Make a portable filing system by adding hanging folders to a crate.
18. Wall-mounted folders: Don’t have table or desk space for folders? Go vertical and use your walls!
19. Hanging shoe organizers: Hanging organizers with pockets can be private for you (when hung inside a closet door) or student-facing on doors or walls to organize art supplies, learning manipulatives, headphones, or other supplies. Plastic organizers can be easily labeled for students.
20. Cord organizers: It’s a small detail, but keeping cords controlled can make your classroom a less frustrating and safer place. Stick these clips on desks, walls, or floors to keep cords out from underfoot and easily accessible.
21. Hanging closet organizer: Use these in your storage closet or hang them from hooks in your classroom’s ceiling to use vertical space.
22. Hollow ottoman: Add an ottoman to your reading corner for a more comfy option for a teacher or classroom reader… and then level up to an ottoman with hidden storage.
23. Extra corkboard: What would a list of classroom storage ideas be without corkboards? They can spruce up bare walls fast. Hang a corkboard or use stick-on corkboard tiles to make the most of small spaces.
24. Recipe card boxes: Keep flashcards in their proper place with recipe card boxes. Use tabs to separate by unit, subject, or difficulty.
25. Buckets: Buckets can be used and reused in your classroom. Just sort supplies and materials into them to create kits that can be distributed to groups quickly and easily.
26. Silverware drawer organizers: Perfectly suited for art and school supplies, silverware organizers are slim and stackable for fast distribution.
27. Hangers: Use a clothing hanger with clips for pants and skirts for poster storage. Just clip and hang!
28. Picnic utensil caddies: Usually meant for kitchens, repurpose silverware caddies for accessible art and school supply storage.
29. Tote bags: Reusable shopping bags or totes are great for grab-and-go storage in classrooms. Create take-home kits, assign bags to each student, or use them in another creative way that makes sense for your classroom.
30. Lazy Susans: Plop a lazy susan in the middle of a table or group of desks and fill it with supplies to keep creativity and problem-solving flowing in an organized and easily accessible manner.
31. Plastic bags: Group manipulatives and supplies with Ziploc bags. They’re cheap, easy to label, and come in different sizes to match your needs.
32. Pizza boxes: Store flat items like books, materials, and manipulatives by unit, theme, or use in new pizza boxes. They stack well and are cheap… and you can even create learning stations with them!
33. Spice racks: Use small spaces effectively with spice racks to keep supplies easily within reach.
34-41. DIY your storage space: If you’re handy (or know someone who is!), the possibilities are endless for bespoke organization options that exactly meet the needs of your classroom:
- Upcycle clean detergent pod containers or cat litter containers for cubbies
- Add stools to make bookshelves do double duty in your room
- Create mobile classroom storage with these directions
- Use cardboard boxes for cheap storage space
- Turn crates into mini ottomans (with space for their things) for your kiddos
- Make use of a label maker or Cricut to keep everything in its place
- Fasten clothespins to a board and create a No-Name Paper station
I hope these classroom storage ideas have inspired you! When everything in your classroom has a place and you know where everything goes, you’ll be able to effectively manage students and teach content. And your students will be learning valuable lessons about the importance of organization, follow-through, and what it means to be part of a team.
Joanna Guldin-Noll spent years teaching at a Baltimore high school, pioneering the school’s first AP English Language and Composition course, garnering thousands in grants for her students, and teaching American Literature, honors, and recovery courses. With a Master’s in Secondary English Education from Johns Hopkins, she was an adjunct faculty member and portfolio coach for the School of Education’s master’s program and served as a consultant for educational start-ups. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband John and her puppy Albus.