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The best classroom storage bin

Which classroom storage bins are best?

Classroom storage bins, especially when used as a system, are helpful to keep track of homework, handouts and school supplies.

While a classroom storage bin performs the simple task of compartmentalization, combined, they are invaluable resources for storage and organization. These bins keep paperwork and small items accessible and viewable, not to mention easier to retrieve and return. Storex Small Cubby Bins, our top choice, are deep and spacious to accommodate arts and crafts supplies.

What to know before you buy a classroom storage bin


Classroom storage bins are usually sold in sets, which may include between three and 24 pieces. To determine how many bins you need, think of how you intend to use them. If you plan on creating group workstations, half a dozen classroom storage bins should be ideal. On the other hand, you may wish to buy an individual storage bin for each student or subject.


Depending on the shape and size, you can place a storage bin on a desk and inside a shelving unit or use more than one in activity spaces. Certain storage bins are compatible with cubby systems or classroom storage units. If portability is a concern, place bins on a storage cart, such as one featured in the BestReviews buying guide.


Classroom storage bins is a broad category that includes bins of several shapes, sizes and functions. Here’s an overview of the most popular ones:

Storage cubbies: These shoebox-sized bins are deep enough to hold a wealth of classroom supplies. Some cubbies come with lids.

Paper trays: These hold standard-size paper. While they’re only a few inches deep, they may hold up to a couple hundred pages of homework or handouts.

Shelf bins: These bins fall between cubbies and trays in terms of size and depth. They’re compatible with many classroom shelving systems.

File organizers: These upright bins hold folders, workbooks or slender hardcover books. They’re a space-savvy option that offers visibility of file labels or book spines.

What to look for in a quality classroom storage bin

Popular materials

The most popular materials for classroom storage bins include plastic, cardboard and wood. Plastic bins remain a top choice because they’re durable and easy to clean, and many of them come in bright colors. Cardboard sets occasionally are more affordable than plastic sets, but quality is hit or miss. Wood storage bins have the best aesthetic and durability, although they may splinter and often have sharp edges.


While it doesn’t affect the usefulness of a classroom storage bin, color is an important consideration. Many classroom storage bins come in primary colors such as yellow, blue and green. This boosts the bins’ visibility and adds pops of color to the classroom.

Label slots

Several classroom storage bins have label slots or blank spaces for labeling. This offers another layer of organization to the bins, especially if the bins hold particular items or have specific uses. These aren’t standard features—but it’s not exactly a deal-breaker. After all, it’s easy to make custom labels by hand or with a label maker or label stickers.

Stacking designs

Many classroom storage bins have stacking designs so that when they’re not in use, it’s easy to store them. Some of these bins, including plastic and wood designs, have notches on their sides, whereas cardboard bins are collapsible.

How much you can expect to spend on a classroom storage bin

A classroom storage bin set starts at $12, which usually includes three or four bins, but some can cost up to $25. Classroom bins made with premium materials such as wood or bamboo may cost between $25-$60 per set.

Classroom storage bin FAQ

How do you clean plastic classroom storage bins?

A. You can wipe clean many of these bins with most cleaning products. If you prefer a natural option, use a nontoxic surface cleaner or a diluted mixture of white vinegar, water and essential oil. For a deeper cleaning, opt for disinfectant surface cleaners.

What is the best way to keep track of many classroom storage bins?

A. Label them with a number system, such as “1 of 10” and so on. If students often use the bins, employ a checkout system where students sign them out and must return them at the end of class.

What’s the best classroom storage bin to buy?

Top classroom storage bin

Storex Small Cubby Bins

What you need to know: These spacious bins are deep enough to hold shoes and durable enough to last through years of heavy use.

What you’ll love: The set of five comes in bold colors for easy color coding. They’re made with impact- and chip-resistant plastic you wipe to clean. They easily fit inside shelving units and stack for storage.

What you should consider: The bins don’t come with lids, so contents may accumulate dust if they’re left sitting for a few weeks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Top classroom storage bin for the money

Bankers Box Classroom Magazine File Bins

What you need to know: Ideal for organizing handouts, these magazine file bins feature school-inspired designs and bright colors.

What you’ll love: The six cardboard bins are durable and stand upright even when weight isn’t evenly distributed inside them. They’re wide enough to accommodate dozens of folders and slender hardcover books. Each has a blank space for labeling.

What you should consider: Some people noted that spiral notebooks get caught on the inside flaps.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Worth checking out

Ziploo Paper Organizer Bins

What you need to know: These tray bins are ideal for holding handouts or for creating stations around the classroom.

What you’ll love: The trays come in a set of five and accommodate standard-size paper. Because they’re only 3.5 inches tall, they fit inside school desks, drawers and many shelving units. The set has a nesting design for easy storage.

What you should consider: The plastic isn’t as dense or thick as expected, and it doesn’t hold up to much use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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