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How to Choose a Filing Cabinet

| How To Instructions, Office Storage & Filing


Apr 23 2015

If you find yourself constantly surrounded by a sea of paperwork at your desk, then a filing cabinet may be just the tool to get you back on track. Deciding to get a filing cabinet is one thing, but picking one out is another thing entirely. With the number of options available, it can be tough to know which is the right choice for you and your office. Take these common filing cabinet types into consideration before you begin your shopping journey so that you can narrow the playing field right away.


Lateral Files

Lateral filing cabinets are designed for use in high volume work environments since they can hold a large amount of paperwork at once. These units include two or more drawers, and many are equipped with an anti-tip mechanism that will prevent them from falling over when a drawer is opened at full extension. Because lateral filing cabinets are wider than they are deep, filing is typically done from side-to-side, and most have the ability to accommodate both letter- and legal-size hanging folders. As lateral files are so large, be sure to measure the space you intend to put your new cabinet in first before you buy.


How to pick a file cabinet for your office.

Vertical Files

Vertical filing cabinets are more commonly used in home offices and in workspaces with little floor space to spare. These units can have just as many drawers as a lateral file, but each drawer is much narrower. File folders are typically sorted in a front-to-back formation, and the drawers are typically deeper than those found on lateral cabinets, so be aware that you will need to have enough clearance space to fully extend them.


How to pick a file cabinet for your office.

Mobile Files

Mobile filing cabinets are a convenient option since they can be rolled around wherever needed. These units typically come equipped with either two or three drawers and are most commonly vertical, but can be lateral as well. Most mobile files are designed to fit neatly under standard height desks to provide convenient storage without eating up a lot of room. The majority of mobile files can accommodate both letter and legal size paperwork, but, due to their compact size, some only hold letter files. Be sure to check the description of the cabinet you’re considering to make sure it can hold legal files, should you need it for that purpose.


How to pick a file cabinet for your office.

Open Shelf Files

Open-shelf files are wide and shallow, resembling bookcases more than filing cabinets. These units feature open fronts that are suitable for filing end-tab folders side-by-side. Designed for use in narrow aisles and areas with a limited amount of space, these types of arrangements are great for highly accessed files such as those used in medical facilities.


How to pick a file cabinet for your office.

Flat Files

Flat files are made up of a series of flat, shallow drawers designed to keep large, flat items, such as blueprints, neatly organized and protected. Most flat files can be stacked on top of one another to maximize office space.


How to pick a file cabinet for your office.

Fireproof Files

If you work with sensitive documents, then keeping them in a fireproof file will be well worth your investment. Not only do fireproof files prevent damage caused by an open flame, but they’re also water and theft resistant, ensuring ultimate safety for your most important documents. Fireproof files can be found in both vertical and lateral varieties, so you can find the one that will best suit your office space and the amount of paperwork you have. Fireproof files are commonly used in large corporations in which assets need to be protected, but they can be useful for anyone, including home office employees who want to keep their social security card, birth certificate and other important documentation safely stored away.


How to pick a file cabinet for your office.

More Things to Consider:

Locking capabilities: Not all filing cabinets lock. Be sure to read carefully to determine whether or not your file of choice is lockable, if you need it to be.


Counterweights: Counterweights help prevent filing cabinets from tipping, which could be an important feature if you tend to pack your files as full as they can get.


Follower blocks: Follower blocks are metal drawer dividers that were often used in filing cabinets before hanging files became commonplace. Some units still use these, so be sure to determine whether or not you want this type of filing technique.


Hanging bars: Hanging bars are what keep your file folders hanging. If you want to file your documents in a front-to-back fashion in your lateral filing cabinet, be sure to purchase additional handing bars for this purpose.


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Comments


I didn't know that there were so many options for filing cabinets. It seems like there is a cabinet for any purpose and available space. This post has given me a lot of ideas for what my work for me so I'll have to keep this in mind as a search pre owned and new filing cabinets online. Thanks for the helpful post.
- John Carston
6/27/2016
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