Wouldn’t it be great if every time someone walked into your classroom they fell in love with it?
They’d all be in awe at how practical, beautiful and ingeniously creative it was.
The other teachers would want to steal it from you. The children line up to get inside it. And, the parents rave at their friends about how incredible their child’s classroom is.
Now, imagine you could get a classroom like that for less than a couple of dollars. How good would that be?
Well, in this article you’re going to see the cream-of-the-crop of ideas to help you have the best classroom on even the tightest budget.
If that sounds good to you, read on…
Practical Storage Ideas
01. Use Plastic Wall Baskets For Colorful Separation
Perfect for paper, pencils or whatever the heck you like. These inexpensive wall baskets affix to your walls easily and add a splash of color to your classroom.
02. Use Your Old Tin Cans As Magnetic Pen Holders
Clean them up, stick some fancy tape around the top and either stick them to a magnet board, or keep them on your desk. Chances are, you’ve already got some in the recycling.
03. Use A Metal Bucket As A Library Book Drop Off Point
You can jazz it up with stickers, stencils and vibrant colors. Writing “Stop forgetting your books!” in big red letters is done at your discretion.
04. Create Seats With Storage By Using Old Milk Crates
Add a cushion to the top of these and you’ve got the perfect blend of storage, maneuverability and (dis)comfort.
05. Photo Boxes for Cards
Fed up of card games getting dog eared, stepped on or lost? Grab some plastic photo boxes and store them there instead.
06. Reuse Baby Wipe Containers
How many tubs of baby wipes will the parents of your kids go through? Ask parents to donate their empty ones, or use your own. Decorate and use for storage. Easy.
07. Use Carabiners to Hang Bags and Coats
Carabiners are guaranteed to hold a rock climber to side of a mountain. However, their results remain untested with an eight-year-old’s jacket. Also, you can use them to make a quick abseil escape from an unruly mob.
08. Turn a Dish Drainer into a Filing Caddy
Got an old dish drainer? Give it a lick of paint and use it as a filing caddy instead.
09. Spice Rack Storage
Sticking with the kitchen themed storage, you can use a spice-rack as a creative storage option for smaller objects. And, it’ll probably get more use than that container of Five Spice that you’re still looking for a reason to use.
10. Use A Curtain Rail To Hang Magazines
Place magazines into plastic covers and hang them onto a shower rack with shower curtain hooks. Sorted.
11. Spray Paint Plastic Locker Bins
It’s not until you become a teacher you realize how versatile plastic storage bins are, right? Take some dollar-store storage bins, spray paint them, and you’ve got ‘lockers’ for your students.
12. Mini-Crate Scissor Rack
Grab a small crate. Flip it upside down. Pop your scissors in. Winner.
14. Pencil Storage
Another great way to use old tin cans. Have one for sharp pencils and one for dull. Then give the job of sharpening the dull ones to one of your students.
15. Use Shoe Holders for Electronics
If there are items you don’t need to lock up – like headphones or usb sticks – you can use these neat little shoe holders to keep them tucked away.
16. Decorated Cork Boards
Decorate bland cork boards using wallpaper, wrapping paper or some funky colored craft paper. Who knew cork could look this beautiful when it’s not next to a wine bottle?
17. Hanging Books
Hanging Books are a cute little addition. All you need is some string and a command hook, then you’re ready to go.
18. Use Funky Tape For Colorful Edging
Refresh your dated filing cabinets or desks with some funky patterned tape. I wonder if they make a Police Line Do Not Cross tape for a confiscated items draw, too?
22. Rain Gutter Book Shelves
Cheap and easy to assemble, these look great without taking up too much space. And, you can always leave one full of leaves and mud to clean as a detention punishment too (optional, of course).
23. Paint Old Lightbulbs
To add a little bit of quirky decor to your classroom get the children to paint some old lightbulbs, then hang from the ceiling with fishing wire.
24. Vinyl Classroom Cushions
These cushions add color, are really easy to clean and are cheap to make. Looks a little more like home too, right?
Teacher’s Little Helpers
26. Plastic Bracelets for Group Time
Grab some plastic bracelets from a local discount store and give each group a certain colored band. Makes things clear for the children and saves you having to remember.
27. Dry Erase Spots on Tables
This is great for group activities when they need to come up with ideas, and they can be easily wiped away when they’re finished.
28. ‘Line Up’ Vinyl Floor Stickers
A really useful visual tool for kids to stand in a straight line. So simple, but so helpful.
29. Alphabet Pebbles
This a completely free idea to help kids learn their letters. You can even get kids to bring in their own pebbles to paint, too.
30. Photo Frame Teaching Prompts
These little photo frames work great for putting prompts on your desk, or for adding notes and reminders around the classroom. Saves on wall space too, and can be changed in just a few seconds.
31. Box-Lid Customized Desk Organizer
Why should your cutlery drawer be the only one that’s well organized? Find some small boxes – match boxes or thumb tacks – and box lids, to create a desk organizer for a little moment of sanity in your classroom.
32. Carpet Squares
Stuck for space with seating? Grab some carpet square samples and use those instead.
34. Job Pegs
Write each child’s name on a peg and attach it to a ‘job’ chart for the day. It’s a simple visual tool to give your kids responsibilities in the classroom.
35. An I’m Done Chart for Early Finishers
Stuck for what to do with children who finish their work first? Have an I’m Done chart on one of the walls and get them to pick a task.
36. Instant Pom Pom Eraser
Hot glue some poms-poms to the end of your dry eraser for an easy wipe solution.
37. A Clothes Peg ‘Turn In’ Bin
Put each child’s name on a peg and have them attach it to their work. This way you know who’s assignments are missing.
38. Color in the Clock
This picture is more for a home schedule but I love the idea for the classroom. Color in different sections of the clock and put a chart underneath so the children know exactly how the day will run.
39. Have Colorful Duct Tape on Pencils
Another line of defence in the never ending battle to find lost pencils.
40. Cell Phone Day Care
This is a great way to get the phones out of their pockets and away from their desks. Double it up as a charging station to get them in there in the first place.
Let Your Creativity Flow…
Okay, now it’s over to you. Did any of these cheap ideas inspire you, or do you have some of your own that other teachers need to know about? Let me know in the comments…
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