Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Storage Cube Seating: My Experience























In the summer of 2011, I frequently roamed around Target. Not only did I enjoy their free air conditioning, but I also spent the time coveting the storage cubes that line the center aisle waiting to be snagged by college students. Since I get a lot of emails asking about them I figured it would be a good idea to write a review.

I NEEDED them for my small group area. But, at $17.00 a pop, it was hard to justify buying six of them for my small group teaching area when I had a surplus of chairs in my classroom. As I started to set up my classroom that year my desire to add the cubes increased. Ultimately I talked myself into buying them based on the fact that I hadn't spent much on my classroom that summer and instead had repurposed things I already owned.

Well, it's now 18 months later and they are starting to bite the dust. In the past month or so three of them have met their demise. There are two things to note: I teach 3rd grade so my students range in size from itty bitty to small adult.  Kids can't seem to sit in them and instead rock.

With that being said, I think 18 months is a pretty good lifespan. They've been used all day every day for 1 and 2/3 school years. I still prefer them to chairs because they allow me to fit 6 friends comfortably at my teaching table. Adults have sat in them for 2 years worth of parent teacher conferences. They provide a good amount of hidden storage (I love hidden storage). They are lightweight and very easy for a kid to move around the classroom. 

I bought these in the middle of the Milkcrate Seating Craze of 2011...which lingered into the summer of 2012. I debated making those. However, when I had my (then kindergarten) son sit on them they seemed too low to the ground. I imagined they would be way too short for 8/9 year olds. I also wasn't feeling all the crafty and didn't love the idea of constructing something. The milkcrates offer storage, but depending on what is inside they can looked cluttered. Finally, when I calculated the cost of materials and factored in time these were a no brainer for me.

Am I thrilled that they are creaking, caving in and meeting the dumpster one by one? Obviously not. Will I replace them next year with another pricey trip to Target? Most likely.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has bought these and/or used the milkcrate seating.  Leave a comment and share your experience.


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21 comments:

  1. That's too bad about your chairs! I can barely fit 5 chairs around my table and I have little kids so I need some crate chairs. I made 2 crate chairs year ago and they have held up really well. I think this summer I'll have to make 5/6 more since they've worked well. You are right though it's a lot of time to make them!
    Rambling About Reading

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jess,
      Have you seen the seats made out of buckets? Those might be a good option for you as well. :) Jodi from www.CFClassroom.com

      Delete
  2. I made the milk rates for my 4th graders. They love them and so do I! I filled mine with colorful legal size accordion file folders and the lids are covered in black and white polka dot fabric. They move them all over the room to sit and are even sturdy enough for me to teach small group from.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jill,
      I'm so glad to hear that they've worked well with fourth graders. Also, I love the idea of the file folders inside. Did you use larger sized crates? :) Jodi from www.CFClassroom.com

      Delete
  3. I too bought 5 of these stools. I really like them.I have had one of them bite the dust - the wooden stays cracked:( Kids like to do everything but sit on them so i don't know how long the others will last! They are a perfect fit for the horseshoe tables though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kimmie,
      I do love how they fit around the table. How long did yours last before breaking? :) Jodi from www.CFClassroom.com

      Delete
  4. I am so glad to hear your update. I have been cruising the Target website trying to decide if $17 was worth it. Interesting to hear how they hold up....
    My only problem is since I have the inclusion classroom, we have two kidney tables and I would need 12 seats. I'm not sure I can afford that price every 2 years:(

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jen,
    Mine have been somewhat abused (i.e. kids constantly tipping them back when sitting on them) and did survive 18 months. I would have thought they would collapse in a week given the way they were treated so overall I'm impressed with the quality. Perhaps you could try Donorschoose or even ask for parent donations. Also, if you keep your eyes open they tend to go on sale for $15.00 around Back to School Time. :) Jodi from www.CFClassroom.com

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  6. I repurposed old bar stools. My husband cut off the legs to make them just right for first graders. the left over leg parts were saved. We are going to cut out plywood circles and put seats on those lower cut off parts. I will have eight stools instead of four! I use them in my "whole group area". Some students sit on the stools, others on the rug. We have more room, bubble space, an
    and vewing is better for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are the milk crates from the company that supplies milk for schools a heavier plastic that the "store bought" ones? They definitely look sturdier, but I've not used them for seating children. I have used them for almost everything else, such as cubbies for personal items. I turned them on their sides and fastened them together with cable ties. Four years later, when I decided to purchase wire crates for cubbies, I had to struggle to get each of the cubbies free from the others. And, the price, FREE, fits great in my classroom supply budget.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I only bought one and it was intended for use as an ottoman for the two comfy chairs I have in my library but it ended up being a seat most of the time and writing journal storage. While I still have it in my room in the second year, it has been broken all year. I probably got a full school year out of it. I also teach fifth grade so my kids are much bigger. The kids can no longer sit on it but it still holds our books. I think the only reason that I hung onto it as long as I did is because I was so annoyed that I paid for a seat that I didn't really "need". It's getting tossed in June. Oh, well! Live and learn!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have stools at my guided reading table: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37507742@N03/7832521018/in/photostream and I LOVE them. Fortunately, they were in my classroom already. I agree that it is nice to have seating that takes up less space to allow seating for 6 kids. I have seem similar stools for as low as $35 online. Not cheap, but maybe a good investment. :)

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  10. I bought the same kind as you, and it didn't even last one school year. At the same time I also bought a round one from WalMart, with a top that serves as a desk on the bottom side of it, and it's still going strong well into year 2.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have been thinking about making the switch for next year ( right now I cram normal chairs around my kidney table...) but a friend of mine bought Marius stools from Ikea and she loves them! They don't have storage, but for 6 bucks it just might be worth it!!

    Melissa
    Todayinfirstgrade.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have used the larger white paint pail/buckets from the large box home improvement store - I think they call them "contractor pails." 5 bucks per pail!
    These buckets come with lids, which I found uncomfortable and extremely difficult to remove (I wanted to use the interior of these buckets for storage!) My teaching partner has used hers as seating...but I am a much older teacher!
    I went online and found a contracting site/cleaning supplies place that sold the "lids" for 8 dollars a piece.
    Total cost was a bit higher than the milk crate deal, BUT...
    my containers/lids are still in use (10 years going...just replaced 5 lids out of the original 18). The lids were originally sold in the hardware section for contractors to use as seating on a job site.
    I have had parents, principals, visitors, and students of all ages sit on these. They are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. We're not allowed to bring any upholstered items into our classroom, so I made the crate seats with vinyl tops. They work great at my listening center, but for my kidney reading table I want something taller. I am going to build rolling storage cubes this summer- see the link: http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2012/07/rolling-storage-cube-stools.html
    I can make them the height I need for my 1st graders.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have a few too, and they've lasted with kindergarteners - but we don't use them by tables, so maybe that's the difference. I got some at Target and some at Walmart - the sales helped at the end of the season. It shocked me to see you picture! Hope mine don't do that for a longggg time!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have painters buckets from Lowes that I added cushioning (mattress pad) on top of. The bucket and lid together cost around $5. The only alteration I will be messing around with this summer is making them less likely to slip/tilt when students rock and lean on them. Overall I am very happy with this addition to my classroom.

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  16. I bought similar ottomans and I loved how they looked! I even covered the tops with vinyl to make them extra durable. Unfortunately, they didn't even last half the year. I'm not sure if my kids were extra though on them, but the tops started to cave in - they just were not sturdy, and the sides started to look really ragged from the kids sneakers rubbing against the fabric. I was so sad I spent my own money on them. I still love the idea and they looked great at the beginning, I just feel like I need to stick to finding chairs at school that I can use. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who couldn't make these last. I agree about how short the crates are. I thought about using buckets, but just couldn't see spending that amount of time and energy on them.

    Christine
    leapingintothird.blospot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I thought about spending the money but I just couldn't go through with it. I'm a big classroom spender and I've been trying to curb my classroom spending appetite...lol. Anyway, I purchased stools from Ikea for $5.99 and so far so good this school year. They match my room and can be stacked and put away when not needed. I love them! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00218240/

    ReplyDelete
  18. I use the ikea stools and really like them. I can easily put six under my reading table. I have had them for years (4th grade) and haven't had to get rid of any of them. They do get a little wobbly due to the kids tipping in them, but they still work. One year I tried to tighten the screws but it didn't work very well. The kids love them and they are cheap. I was looking for some seating with storage now. Maybe I will stick with he stools.
    Jen

    ReplyDelete

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