HOW TO CREATE MORE STORAGE SPACE IN YOUR CLASSROOM

You can not make your classroom bigger, but there are ways to create more storage space in your classroom? Your solutions are here! These simple decluttering tips, organizing strategies, and storage solutions will transform your space!
When your students are able to access and return things they need such as manipulatives, it empowers them to take responsibility of themselves and their learning.  While it is important for these tools to be accessible, it is equally important for these tools to be organized and stored away so they are not distracting for students.  The organization piece is especially important because if things are haphazardly stacked or clocking walkways, then it becomes a safety issue.  We know it is important to have an organized classroom, yet we also understand that we are given limited storage space.  How can we maximize our storage space in our classroom?  Read below to find the solution you need!

This blog post will…

  • offer tips and solutions for creating more storage space
  • share how to create covered storage

Before we begin:


Potential Storage Solutions

  • Take advantage of deep shelving by placing storage containers filled with infrequently used items or seasonal books behind objects you use more often. 
  • I use tables instead of desks in my classroom. Before I was able to obtain enough tables for all the students and phase out the desks, I treated the desks as if they were tables and did not have the students keep their personal belongings inside. I was then able to use the desks for additional storage.
  • Adding a skirt or tablecloth to a table that students don't sit at will allow you to store tubs and boxes underneath and out of site.
  • Using cheap wooden shelves that are marketed for shoe storage (available at most big box stores) can be added to tabletops to create additional supply storage.
  • Since you need places for your students to sit anyway you might want to consider creating seats that do double duty. Above are some storage crate seats made from plywood and plastic crates (be sure to use quality crates or they will crack and bend). Below are some bench seats made by turning Ikea's Expedits on their side. We have several of these at our house and they are a strong, quality piece of furniture. Wooden shelves are available at craft stores and unfinished wood stores would be a cheaper option and you could paint them to match your classroom. These would make great benches at a rectangle small group teaching table or as seating in your whole group lesson area.

  • Always take advantage of your vertical space. Stacking boxes and wall-mounted shoe pockets are great ways to use space that would otherwise be wasted. 
  • Also, think about over the door and small mounted shelves for the backs of closets and cupboard doors.
  • Adding plastic drawers or neat looking storage boxes under tables and desks maximizes storage room without taking up any additional floor space in the classroom since the table has already created a footprint.


How I Created Covered Storage in my Classroom

I have some wall-mounted shelves in my classroom.  I adore the storage.  I loathe the visual clutter potential.  I do have the items fairly self-contained and organized into smaller containers and boxes, but it still can be distracting to me...um, I mean the students. :)  So I cover it.  Which is a win-win! Below is a before and after photo of the open-shelving.
 


Covering the shelves not only reduced the visual clutter and distraction to students, but also provided  a place to display math reference charts, a numberline and more.  In years past I covered it with butcher paper and made a timeline. I put a paper for each month and would add pictures of the things we did together.  The downside to this was that it wasn't too simple to lift and access the materials underneath.  
So this year I use black poster board and I now have small panels that lift easily.  I attached them by simply creating "hinges" out of tape.  At the bottom I added a number line. I took the number line I already had and cut it down to fit each board. I used a yardstick to help make it straight.  To make it fancy, I hot glued ribbon along the top of the number line.  And finished it off by covering the tape at the top with more hot glued ribbon.

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You can not make your classroom bigger, but there are ways to create more storage space in your classroom? Your solutions are here! These simple decluttering tips, organizing strategies, and storage solutions will transform your space!
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