What To Look for When Buying a Filing Cabinet for Your Home Office
Investing in a filing cabinet is a great way to free up space in your home office. Buying a fireproof cabinet that also locks helps ensure that your important documents won’t get stolen or destroyed. A locked, fireproof container is essential for really important documents, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports and car titles. You could also keep them in your bank’s safety deposit box.
To maximize storage space, buy a four-drawer filing cabinet. Make sure your chosen filing cabinet is sturdy: You don’t want it to break or fall over onto your foot.
Once you’ve got your cabinet, get to the business of filling it. If you just throw all your paperwork in there, you might as well have not bought the filing cabinet in the first place. Use hanging folders for the main categories (like client, financial and medical records). Within those folders, subdivide your papers into individual folders.
Come up with a system to organize your files. It can be alphabetical, numerical, color-coded — whatever works for you. Label every file and put it in its proper place in the filing cabinet so you won’t have to go hunting for it when you really need it.
Buying the Right Filing Cabinet for Your Home Office
Know the types of filing cabinets available:
- Lateral: A lateral file cabinet features drawers that extend from the longest side of the cabinet. It provides a wider drawer that doesn’t offer the same depth as other models. This layout may be ideal for smaller spaces where there isn’t enough room to extend a longer drawer into the room. A lateral configuration also allows workers to sift through files from a seated position.
- Vertical: Vertical models have drawers that extend from the short side of the cabinet. Typically, this means that the drawers offer greater depth. These cabinets are also usually taller than lateral models and will need adequate space to be fully extended and provide easy accessibility to files located throughout the length of the drawer.
- Flat: Flat file cabinets are specially designed to accommodate larger documents that are usually laid flat for storage. This cabinets provides short, spacious drawers that can be used to lay canvases, blueprints and other documents completely flat. You won’t have to worry about causing damage by rolling or folding important files.
- Mobile: It should come as no surprise that a mobile file cabinet is one that can easily be moved around the office. These cabinets come equipped with casters that allow it to be rolled over carpets and other surfaces. This provides an easy way to transport files throughout the office and push the cabinet out of the way when it isn’t in use. Instead of a permanent cabinet that takes up space, you can store a mobile model under your desk and simply pull it out when you need to access a file.
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Right File Cabinet: Cost and Size
Cost: You want to find the right value that provides a durable design that will withstand repetitive use without overpaying. Think about how often you will be using the cabinet, what kind of security features and locks you will need and what kind of budget you are working with. Also, be sure to take delivery costs into account and be on the lookout for models that come with free delivery.
Size: Choosing the perfect size file cabinet depends both on how much office space you have to accommodate a file cabinet and how many files and papers you will need to store. Be sure to keep in mind that your storage needs are sure to continue to grow. Purchasing a cabinet that merely meets your current needs could end up being a waste of money. Instead of guessing about dimensions, break out the tape measure and try to get a more exact idea of the size and style of file cabinet that will best meet your needs.
What are the Best File Cabinet Materials?
File cabinets are constructed using four main materials: steel, aluminum, plastic and wood. Each of these different materials offer their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Steel file cabinets provide the most durable option on the market. These models are designed to withstand years of use without warping, sagging or wearing down. They are also impact and scratch resistant, so that will continue to look like new even in demanding work environments. When you invest in a steel model, you can rest assured that you won’t have to go file cabinet shopping again for some time. In addition to durability, steel models also incorporate more features than plastic or wood models. They typically come with lock systems, counterweights for smooth operation and full drawer suspension capabilities. Steel file cabinets are real workhorses that will keep up with your needs. The biggest disadvantage of steel models is that they aren’t all that aesthetically pleasing. They tend to focus on function over form and come in drab colors that won’t do much to liven up your workspace. If you are looking to break up the monotony that can plague that modern office, you may want to consider a more stylish wood option.
- Aluminum file cabinets offer many of the same advantages as steel models. They are also designed to offer a certain level of durability and long-lasting performance. However, aluminum tends to be lighter, cheaper and more malleable. This means that aluminum may not withstand impacts as well as steel, but this might not be an important factor in your office. If you are looking for a more budget friendly option, an aluminum model may be the way to go.
- Plastic file cabinets provide an affordable option. Unfortunately, these models aren’t that durable and will need to be replaced over time. If you simply need a temporary solution, a plastic model may get the job done. Just keep in mind that plastic models also lack the same level of security that other materials can provide.
- Wood file cabinets offer a more attractive alternative to metal options. While wood is more susceptible to scratches, this only adds to the overall character and patina. In general, wooden file cabinets are just as sturdy and durable as metal models and they offer the extra benefit of creating a warmer office environment. Choose between various colors and finishes to create the right look and feel