top of page

How to Organize Classroom Supplies & Student Materials Without Desks

The other day I wrote about my classroom seating arrangement and how I got rid of all my desks in favor of tables. If you're considering making the switch too, you might be wondering where your students will keep all of their supplies.

I have tried a lot of different options but have finally settled on something that I love... table caddies.

There's nothing I hate more than messy student desks crammed full of, well, crap - crumbled papers, broken crayons, pencil shavings, food wrappers. You know what I'm talking about! Well, fret no more - caddies will solve the crap problem in your classroom.

If you're on a tight budget, you can sometimes find plastic ones like this at the dollar store...

desk caddies

I used these when I taught kindergarten for a few years. I had pencils and crayons in the small cups and little decodable reading books in the larger compartment. They worked well enough but I really wanted something larger. I would've liked a spot for glue sticks and scissors, too.

Eventually, I found these table caddies at Really Good Stuff...

really good stuff desk caddies

These are the caddies I've been using for the past two years and I love them! My students keep ​​their morning work packets in the bottom. Their chapter books go on top in the center. The other four compartments on top hold pencils, glue sticks, dry erase markers and erasers, and scissors. Everything stays organized and getting out supplies is super quick and easy. The only problem with these caddies is the price. They cost a lot! But they are super durable and do the job.

classroom setup student tables

Now the rest of their supplies (books, binders, folders) go in the cubbies you can see in the background.

Table captains are in charge of getting out materials when they're needed. If you don't have cubbies, you can use storage baskets, bookshelves, plastic storage drawers, etc. There are so many options!

The key is to find a system that the students can maintain mostly by themselves.

One of my classroom jobs is "supplies manager" whose task is to make sure the caddies are filled up at the end of the day. That student also sharpens the pencils.

My "clean team" makes sure the cubbies are neat and lets the other students know if their cubby did not pass inspection.

This system really keeps things running smoothly, I don't have to be involved most of the time, and umm - no more crap!


Want more teaching ideas, tips, and freebies like this delivered right to you? Sign up for my Teaching Tips Newsletter! It's quick, easy, and no pressure!

1,050 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page