These are my tips to show you alternatives to filing cabinets. Filing cabinets are great if you have the space for them. I have only taught in small classrooms, too small to fit anything more than a bookcase, my desk and chair, and the students’ furniture. However, we made it work. There are smaller and more affordable alternatives to filing cabinets that can be used for organizing your classroom files. You can use accordion bins for record keeping, file box containers, mobile file storage carts, collapsible file cube boxes, or milk crates.
I love to find awesome classroom organization ideas. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. The ideas and paid links below are based on Amazon finds that are great alternatives to filing cabinets in the classroom.
metal Alternatives to Filing Cabinets
Use a decorative wire framed filing bin: This is a metal wire framed file organizer that is sturdy for storing file folders. It can be hung on the wall or placed on a table top.
Mobile file storage carts: Mobile carts may soon be more popular than filing cabinets simply because they can be easily moved around the classroom. Some carts are open on the sides so you can actually see the files. Some teachers may prefer the closed ones with metal sides or with plastic sides. Some can even lock.
Plastic Bin Alternatives to Filing Cabinets
Use a plastic file box container: File folders fit nicely into it. This container is lightweight and easy to transport. The lids clip on and they are stackable.
Insert portable file containers into larger carts: Portable file containers are used to keep file folder stacked neatly. They can be used on their own as stand alone file storage for table tops. I love seeing them used in conjunction with portable teacher carts.
Use a milk crate type of file crate: a file crate that is big enough, can be used as an organizer for file folders. These file folders fit perfectly in this black file crate. The crate itself is stackable and it has little grooves with the wire rods inside of it to hold the folders. It can also fit a laminated sheet of paper and a 3-ring binder.
Use portable file boxes with side rails: These are file boxes with flip lids. The black closed frame keeps the files private and secure. This is a very affordable option.
Use an accordion folder bin: This folder bin organizer stretches out as you add more files to it. Keep your student records for reading logs, parent information or any student files that you need to keep within easy reach.
Use a plastic drawer cart: I recently found this new Sterilite drawer and had to add it to this list because it was made for file organization. I love that it is clear enough for you to see the file hangers inside.
Collapsible Alternatives to Filing Cabinets
Use collapsible cube file boxes: These are functional and aestheically pleasing. They have pockets on the front for you to label the file categories.
I should mention that if you really prefer a file cabinet for your small classroom, you can try a small filing cabinet that fits under your desk. I have this blog post about small cabinets for classrooms that has lots of pictures of the different style options that are available, if you are curious.
More ideas for alternatives to filing cabinets will be added as I find them.
If you have any questions, you can ask me anything in the comments below.