Filing Cabinet Buying Guide
While we strive for a paperless future, we want our contracts, documents, work, and personal records to remain in a secure place. Now that working from home is the norm, try to organise your compact space and turn it into an efficient and purposeful home office. To achieve this, you need a well-planned organisation system, including some storage furniture like a bookshelf, pedestal, and filing cabinet.
But what type of filing cabinet should you use? It might get too overwhelming to deal with all the papers you need to secure in your home office. To help you, we rounded up some tips for choosing the right filing cabinet for your storage needs.
Why Do You Need a Filing Cabinet in a Paperless Office Setting?
Paper files may not be as prevalent in the modern office as before, but we are still in the process of converting important physical files into digital copies without risk, and paper is easy to handle and doesn't seem to go out of style.
Whether you have a few paper files that you can't leave anywhere else in your home or have a lot that you can't work well on your office table anymore, you will need a filing cabinet that will handle all your important items without cluttering your room.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Filing Cabinet
There are many types of filing cabinets: lateral, vertical, mobile, letter size, legal size, and more.
Lateral Filing Cabinet
Lateral filing cabinets are great for large-capacity storage. They feature wide drawers to arrange more documents, while their shallow two to three-tier structure makes it easy to fit the cabinet even in narrow spaces. Their shallow design also makes the files more accessible despite being contained in a limited area. These cabinets are low and can fit under the office table.
Lateral filing cabinets can fit both letter and legal papers and are equipped with an anti-tip mechanism to prevent other documents from slipping or the whole furniture piece from falling every time you open the drawers to go through your files.
Vertical Filing Cabinet
If you are short on square footage, you can try a vertical filing cabinet which is narrower than a lateral filing unit. A vertical cabinet has more drawers than a lateral unit but is significantly more limited. While lateral cabinets are ideal for high-capacity storing, vertical filing cabinets are great for personal files and daily use. To maximise the capacity of a vertical cabinet, we suggest arranging the files from back to front. Vertical cabinets may require more space allowance when fully opened.
Mobile Filing Cabinet
Based on its name, a mobile filing cabinet or a pedestal can be transported from one area of your room to the other with ease because of the presence of castors. Like a lateral filing cabinet, this unit is low in profile and can be tucked under the computer table. This has a combination of shallow upper drawers and a deeper lower compartment for flexible storage.
Open Shelf Cabinet
This storage unit can be tall and narrow, small and wide, or tall and wide, depending on your needs and available space. Because of its open structure, you are free to compile different items with ease. Since it resembles a bookcase, it can also store thicker items like books and knick-knacks. To easily organise your files in an open shelf cabinet, we suggest using end tabs and coloured labels.
Fireproof Filing Cabinet
This is a common piece of furniture in formal offices where they store confidential files like employee and company records. Offices use a fire-proof filing cabinet to secure the files from fire or liquid spills that can damage them.
Filing Cabinet Size
One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a filing cabinet is the dimensions. When choosing a unit for your home office, you have to consider the size of your document, the number of records you want to store, and your available home office space. Most paper files range from 8 ½”x11” (letter) to 8 ½”x14” (legal). Ultimately, you want these files to fit into your cabinet without getting folded. Lateral filing cabinets have more space for filing extra items, while vertical cabinets give you additional options to categorise your items as they have more drawers to offer. Remember, some cabinets take up more space when opened. You have to consider this if you plan to put your filing unit under your table or in another compact space. If you buy a filing cabinet too big for your area, you will most likely feel cramped. If it’s too small for your needs, you might end up buying another one in the future, which is not an economical choice.
Another important thing to note when shopping for a filing cabinet is its security. Aside from setting some rules and boundaries within your household when working, it's important to have a secured place to store confidential files without the risk of being accidentally lost or damaged. The safest way is to look for filing cabinets with a lock. Some filing cabinets have locks on their uppermost drawers, while others have central locks on top that can secure the whole furniture. If security is important to you when filing, make sure to check whether the unit has a lock or not before purchasing.
Filing Cabinet Design
Of course, we shouldn't overlook the aesthetic appeal of the filing cabinet. While capacity, structure, and security are important, the cabinet's design will help you create a conducive mood for your home office. Most filing cabinets have simple designs and straightforward configurations, but they can also come in more exciting looks and various colour choices. You can also choose from different materials like laminate, solid wood, metal, or plastic. As for the handles, you have to make sure that they are easy to grip and pull, especially the recessed ones.