Especially during the colder months, student backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, snow pants, gloves/mittens, hats, scarves, and winter boots are stuffed into the small space (lockers, cubbies, hooks, coat closets, etc.) you designated for their personal items. This space is an ideal location for germs, lice, and bedbugs. Yuck! Read below to find some helpful classroom backpack storage ideas for your classroom!
10 Classroom Backpack Storage Ideas
Below are 10 classroom backpack storage ideas for elementary teachers.
1. Think about What You Will Need to Store
Where you teach will determine what items you will need to store. If you teach in a place where it snows, for example, then you will need to be prepared to store winter coats, snow pants, gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, and winter boots. Similarly, if it rains where you teach, then you will need to store rain coats, rain boots, and umbrellas. Other common student belongings you will need to create a storage system for are backpacks, lunch boxes, sneakers for gym class, and sweatshirts. That is a lot of stuff! As a result, it’s important to develop storage and organization systems to house all of these items.
2. Consider How What You Will Need to Store Will Fluctuate
As mentioned in the first idea on the list, weather impacts what students will need to store. Your students’ items may fit great in the space you provided at the beginning of the year, but will everything still fit when the weather grows colder and their personal items multiply? Remember to account for this.
3. Take into Account Fire Codes and Safety
Follow your school’s fire codes when choosing a spot to ensure the safety of your students. Make sure you do not block any doors or windows when choosing a spot for student belongings. Be sure to check your local fire codes to confirm you are in compliance.
4. Reflect on the Purpose of Having a System for the Items
The purpose of a storage and organization system is to eliminate the clutter of having student belongings scattered about the classroom; make it easy for students to retrieve their things if they happen to be dismissed early; create a systematic and expected routine each and every morning that helps get your day off to a smooth start; and teach the children about being organized without them even realizing it. When planning this space, take all of these things into consideration.
5. Prioritize Accessibility
Make sure your students are able to access their items both independently and with ease. For example, if you opt to use command hooks, you do not want to place them too high so they are difficult for students to reach.
6. Inventory What Furnishings and Supplies You Already Have
Do you have a coat closet or set of student lockers? Do you have anything in your room that can be repurposed as a system for organizing students’ belongings?
7. Make a List of All the Furnishings and Supplies You Will Need
You will need a way to label the organization system. In order to do this, you will need printable labels, paper, tape, and a black marker. In addition, you may need crates, command hooks, or plastic storage tubs if you are not given some sort of coat closet for your space.
If you opt for command hooks and crates, consider purchasing stackable crates and command hooks. Find a wall that has some free space. Hang command hooks on the wall about 1 foot apart from each other. Label the hooks and crates with either student names or student numbers.
If you decide to go with plastic storage tubs, purchase the kind of storage tubs that have covers and can be stacked. Get the solid color to limit visual clutter within the classroom or clear to make it easier for friends to find what they need. Label the tubs with either student names or student numbers.
8. Plan Out and Teach Related Procedures and Routines
Take the time to plan out what it will look like for your students to put away their belongings in the morning and afternoon. Here’s an example for if you decide to go with the plastic storage tubs. Assign 3 or 4 students to each tub. In the morning, place the bins with the lids off in different areas around the classroom. The reason for spreading them out is to help with traffic flow and limit clusters of friends talking while they wait. Students take out what they need for the day out of their backpacks and put the rest of their belongings into the the tub.
Assign a couple of friends the class job of putting the lids on and moving the bins to the back of the room where they will be lined up and stacked. At the end of the day, those same helpers are responsible for putting the bins back into their designated spots around the classroom and removing the lids. This routine makes it so all students know where their belongings are.
9. Consider the Impact of a Student from a House with Smokers
If you have a student who comes from a home where smokers live, his backpack and clothing will likely have a heavy odor of smoke. If this is the case, you may want to avoid using the predetermined numbers and just put students’ names on the bins. Without drawing attention to the specific students, you can create a bin for students that this would apply to.
10. Anticipate Lice and Bedbugs
This was never an issue in the schools I have worked in, but it may be something to consider. If this is an issue for you then I think it would still be an issue if all 30 students were cramming their belongings onto closely spaced hooks. I think what I would do is get a class set of the XL4 Ziploc Bags or add them to the student supply list (they are about $2.00-3.00 a bag), have the students first place their belongings into their own bag and then into a bin for out of the way storage.
3 Classroom Backpack Storage Ideas
Below are 3 examples of classroom backpack storage systems that you can use for inspiration.
In closing, we hope you found these classroom backpack storage ideas helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:
- How to Set Up Your Whole Group Meeting Area
- 20 Back to School Read Alouds for Elementary Teachers
- How to Set Up Your Small Group Instruction Area