Crate Storage Shelves and Cubbies

Did I ever tell you about the time I moved to a new campus and the only furniture or materials in my classroom were tables and chairs?

I knew in advance I would have nothing so I spent my entire summer with my best friend Craig, his last name is List. I also spent a lot of time with my other friends, eBay and Goodwill.

I bought as much as I could on my own but when all was said and done I still didn’t have anywhere to put the blocks, puzzles, or any of the other center materials I had purchased with my own money.

how to make crate cubbies for the classroom
Disclosure: Amazon links included below

DIY Storage Shelves

During the back-to-school sales I spotted some file crates on sale for $3 that solved my problem. Here’s my super easy, quick, and inexpensive DIY tutorial for making storage shelves or cubbies for your classroom or home.

how to make crate storage shelves for the classroom

Supplies for DIY Storage Shelves

  • Zip ties– also known as cable ties can be found in the electrical section of your home improvement store.
  • Milk or file crates can usually be found during back-to-school sales at your local big box stores.
  • Optional: If you already have crates but they’re not the right color you can spray paint them the color of your choice with plastic spray paint

milk crate storage shelves for the classroom

How to Make Your Own Storage Shelves

Use the zip ties to secure your crates together. In the picture above I used six crates but you could easily use more if needed.

You can also make double sided shelving units by securing two sets of crates back to back. The double sided shelves are more sturdy and don’t tip over.

If your single sided crate storage unit is too tall you can secure it to the wall so it won’t fall over.

More DIY projects from Pre-K Pages

Classroom Storage board
Follow my Storage board on Pinterest board for more great ideas!

About Vanessa Levin

Vanessa is the creator of Pre-K Pages and author of the book A Fabulous First Year and Beyond: A Practical Guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers. She has more than two decades of teaching experience and enjoys helping kids and teachers through her professional development sessions. Follow Vanessa on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. Great simple solution, Vanessa! I’ve not seen this before – but I will definitely be doing this!

  2. We did this very thing making shelves for groceries when we had a grocery store in dramatic play. It works great!

  3. Amber Keim says:

    Such good material on here. Even though it is for Pre-K, I can definitely use it in both my 6th and 8th grade math classes. I cannot wait to start teaching this fall!

Printables for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers

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