Your Home Office File Cabinet: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

A file cabinet that does not open easily is a “bad” file cabinet

An increasing number of home office furniture options are now available to the work-at-home mom, entrepreneur and telecommuter. One client had a cheap shallow file cabinet (left over from her grad school days) that she could barely open. She confessed that she stacked papers around her desk because it was too hard to open her file drawers. She invested is a well built and well-equipped file cabinet and was delighted at how much more efficient her filing and organizing became.

Some of my clients excitedly show me catalogue photos of new file cabinets. I suggest my clients first find out what is inside that lovely cabinet. While they look more attractive than the usual metal cabinet, they may be missing something important on the inside, something that can make one a headache instead of a helpmate.

Two things to check out before you purchase a new file cabinet:

  • How deep is it
  • The drawer hardware.

Many decorator file cabinets are simply shallow pedestals for a desk top. They may hold only half as many papers as a standard metal files. If a shallow pedestal meets your needs, that’s fine. If it doesn’t you may need extra cabinets, or you may have to look further.

The best file cabinets have “full-suspension” hardware for the drawers. This allows you to open the drawer all the way and easily access papers in the back of the drawer. It also lets you open the drawer easily. Without the right drawer hardware only the front two thirds of your file will be easy to reach – making your storage less efficient. The drawer may jam or drag and you may have to use brute force to open it.

Check out these details when you are shopping for a new file cabinet. Be sure that it is fully functional and not just a box to support your desk top.

Read more about file cabinets and home office storage tips in The Smarter Home Office