Ideas for an Organized School Locker

By Elina Kats

The state of a middle school student’s locker says a lot about their personality. Is their locker neat and tidy? Messy and disheveled? Decorated and colorful or bare and spartan?

 

Over the years I’ve seen my fair share of cluttered lockers, and heard lots of students say, “I know where everything is—it’s fine.” You’ve probably heard something similar as well. And yet, when a space is physically organized, it translates into a calmer mental state. When students spend less energy searching for a missing item, they have more energy for learning.

Now that the school year is underway, have a conversation with your student about their locker. What's working? What isn't? What do they wish they had more of or less of in their locker? Do they have what they need to stay organized? Do they need some inspiration?

Some of our middle school students at University School of Milwaukee let me take a peek behind closed doors, and we’ve compiled some of our favorite locker organization ideas in the photo gallery below. As you’ll see, it doesn’t take much to make even the smallest of spaces functional and attractive. These tools are available at your local Target or Walmart, or online. 

It’s clear that there are many ways for students to personalize their lockers and make the space an extension of their personality. But when lockers are organized and students are able to find what they need quickly and easily, it only increases their chances for success at school. Show your student these ideas and see what they gravitate towards. Are there any ideas they can incorporate into their own space? Start with one change, check in to see how it’s working, and adjust as needed.

About Elina Kats

Elina Kats serves as the Middle School counselor at University School of Milwaukee. She earned a bachelor’s in anthropology and a master’s in educational psychology. She is the proud parent of a USM student, taught English in Japan, and enjoys building relationships, advocating for students, working to educate parents, and promoting mindfulness.

A photo of a locker with a magnetic caddy to hold supplies.

Magnetic caddy: Keep your pens, pencils, highlighters, and other tools organized and easily accessible with a magnetic locker caddy.

A locker with a calendar and mirror.

This student found a clever way to keep her class schedule front and center, and well protected―she put it in a sheet protector and hung it from magnetic hooks. 

A middle school student organizes her locker.

In this locker, magnets combine form and function to decorate while also pointing to (literally) important information. The student also incorporated greenery with small potted plants.

A student locker organized with empty cereal boxes.

This locker is proof that organization doesn’t have to be expensive―check out the DIY recycled cereal box used as a file holder! In addition to being clearly labeled, the file holders are also color-coordinated by subject area to make it easy to grab-and-go between classes. The magnetic chandelier at the top adds a fun surprise.

A locker organized with colorful binders for each subject.

Further proof that organization doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, this student clearly labeled binders by subject area and kept related materials next to the binders. An easy and simple way to add order to a locker.

A locker with colorful wallpaper inside the door.

This student used peel-and-stick wallpaper to provide a fun pop of color to the inside of her locker, while motivational magnets add encouragement to her day.

A locker organized with caddies for different supplies.

This locker has a mix of everything, from fun magnets to a white board and a variety of ways to store writing utensils.

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