A file cabinet is an important piece of furniture in any office. It helps to store your document, files, and folders in a more organized manner. Often, you visit an office and find papers flying around. This occurs mainly due to the absence of a file cabinet, as the occupants of the office may be unable to place all their documents in a secure environment. There are several types of file cabinets out there, and it may not be so easy for you to decide on the best for your office. We will be discussing extensively on file cabinets in this post, and hopefully, you will see the reasons why you need to purchase one. You will also learn how to determine the most appropriate for your office.
4 Major Types of File Cabinets
There are a few types of file cabinets out there. Although they can all serve the same purpose, they defer in configurations. This is enough reason for you to choose one over another.
Lateral File Cabinets
This is one of the major and most popular types of file cabinets due to their ability to slot easily into a small office. They are designed to have more width than height. Files can be stored inside this cabinet in a side to side, or front to back manner making it easy for you to access your files quickly and easily. Lateral file cabinets are usually short and come with a few drawers. If you run a small office with little documents to shelve, this is the right cabinet for you.
Vertical File Cabinets
Vertical file cabinets are just as useful and popular as lateral file cabinets. They are designed to have more height than width and can have up to 4 or even more shelves. Due to the limited width of the cabinet, files are arranged in a stacked manner which can make it a bit difficult to sort. You may still be able to arrange the files in a back to front manner depending on the depth of the cabinet. Vertical file cabinets come in various sizes, and you can make your choice depending on the available space in your office.
Flat File Cabinets
The Lateral and vertical file cabinets can accommodate your files and folders in a standing position and as well as a lying position. This considerably makes them taller and bogus. It also makes most of them unable to store wider documents and folders because manufacturers always try their best to make their cabinets compact. On the other hand, flat file cabinets are wider and shorter. Additionally, you can only place your documents in a lying position. If you don’t care much about ground space, and you work with wide documents, consider purchasing this file cabinet.
Mobile File Cabinets
If you work in a place where there is a frequent need to switch office, you should consider purchasing a mobile file cabinet. It is simply a vertical or lateral file cabinet with casters for mobility. If you wouldn’t be storing many files on the shelves that will weigh it down, you could purchase a mobile file cabinet with plastic casters. However, if you will be storing very heavy files, you should go for one with sturdy metal casters.
If your cabinet does not have wheels at all, you can look into getting some heavy duty Colson caster wheels to install on your own.
How to Organize a File Cabinet
Your file cabinet is supposed to be one of the most useful furniture in your office. However, if you are unable to maximize the ability of the cabinet, it will be no better than any other furniture in your office. Below are some conventional methods of organizing your file cabinet in other to get the most from it.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, this method of filing is one of the simplest as it helps you access any file or folder almost immediately. Using the alphabetical system may be difficult if you just purchased the file cabinet and have a bunch of files and folders to arrange in it. However, once you go past this first stage, it becomes easy to find a file, take it out, and replace it.
Rather than arranging all your files in alphabetical order and placing them directly in your shelf, you can make things easier by using a folder. Simply write the alphabet on each of the folders and arrange corresponding files inside the folders. This way, if you need a file under a certain alphabet, you can easily pick a folder corresponding to the alphabet and search all files within that folder.
One disadvantage however of the alphabetical filing system is that you may need an index to keep track of a large number of files and folders.
This method of filing is just as useful as the alphabetical filing system. It is best suited to documents, such as invoices, which deal more with figures.
To use this method, you need to get the range of figures for your documents so as to know the best way to group them. If your files are numbered 1 to 50, it may be best to group them in tens so that you can have five folders. That is if the amount of files is not too many. If the files are many, you may have to group in fives or less. Don’t forget to write the range of each group on the folders and possibly on the shelves of the cabinet too.
Just like the alphabetical filing system, you may also need an index here for a large number of files.
The category filing system focuses more on the various sections of a project or a workplace. You can still employ the alphabetical or numerical system here, but it will come under each category. Let’s take, for instance, you are the head of an office. You can arrange documents from various departments of your office into categories. The departments could be admin, marketing, sales, human resources, finance, etc. Each of these departments will form a category, and you can further break them into smaller categories. You’ll need to use as many shelves on your cabinet as possible for this system so as not to end up confusing yourself.
This system comes in handy for files that are related to a sequence of events probably in the past. It can be tiring and frustrating to scan through random files looking for the date of a certain event, but using this date-based system eliminates a majority of the stress. The best way to use the system is to make each month a subsection of one year, and each week a subsection of a month. Then you can place documents from each year on each shelf of your cabinet. Make sure the newest files always stay on top so that you can reach them quickly.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a File Cabinet for your Office
I can imagine how difficult it is to choose a file cabinet especially when you have never purchased one before. Manufacturers keep shipping in new models every day into the market and it becomes up to you to make a decision on the best for your office. Below are some factors to keep in mind before making your purchase.
If you are looking for a durable file cabinet, this is the most important factor to consider. File cabinets are usually made from either metal, wood, or plastic. Users expect that the metal designs should naturally be more sturdy and durable compared to the wood and plastic build. This is debatable to an extent because wood can equally be as durable as metal. It all depends on the quality of wood used, and the expertise of the manufacturing company.
Regardless of the materials used in construction, manufacturers are able to make their cabinets look attractive, although appearance still boils down to the user’s preference. Some people love steel and aluminum design due to its shiny and reflective nature. Others prefer wood due to the variety of shapes and designs it can be sculptured into. A lot of people love plastic as well but it may not really be the best for an office in terms of appearance. It is up to you to make a decision on the range of cabinets available to you.
Cost and Size
Cost and size are two factors that must also be taken into consideration before purchasing a file cabinet. You can determine the size required for your office by evaluating the number of files you intend storing in the cabinet. You will also need to evaluate the space within your office where you will be placing the cabinet. Once you have been able to determine the appropriate size for your office, the next thing is to check the price of various cabinets within your required dimensions. Apart from size, other factors that could influence the prize of file cabinets are the design, attractiveness, locking mechanism, and other advanced features.
Depending on how confidential your files may be, you may need a file cabinet with a high-security locking mechanism. For this purpose, you will have to choice but to go with either a metal or a wooden file cabinet. Plastic is just not an option here as it will be impossible to equip it with a sophisticated locking mechanism.
Whether you decide to go with a metal or a wooden file cabinet, you need to choose a locking mechanism. This still boils down to the level of security you want for your files. The most popular locking mechanisms used for file cabinets are the cam and sliding teeth locks. These offer some level of security and ease of replacement, but file cabinets which use advanced locking mechanism like electronic locks are also available if you want better security.
The Autonomous filing cabinet is a luxurious cabinet which is made of steel and capable of slotting seamlessly into any office. If you are looking for a reliable vertical cabinet for storing your office files, this cabinet could be what you are looking for. It is designed for very tight offices with little or no floor space to place furniture. The file cabinet comes with 3 shelves of which the top two are the same size, while the bottom shelf is about 2x bigger. It is ideal for storing a few files and folders of different sizes.
The Autonomous File cabinet is designed to fit perfectly under most desks thereby utilizing the space which in most cases are unused. The steel body is passed through a 10x anti-rust treatment to ensure it resists most temperature conditions of the space where it is placed. The build and design of the cabinet are quite attractive and will instantly improve the beauty of any office where you use it.
We have discussed extensively on file cabinets in this post starting from the major types, to how you can organize your cabinet, and the factors you need to consider before purchasing one.
I will reiterate that the best file cabinets are made from steel, aluminum, or wood. This is because of the strength and range of designs that are possible with these materials. The only drawdown to metal and wooden cabinets is that they are expensive. Plastics are good as well, but they are not just good enough for professional use. The advantage plastics have over metal and wood is that they are quite cheap and you’ll most likely not spend much to get the best of them.
No matter the file cabinet you intend purchasing, try your best to care for it as this will ultimately increase its lifetime. Hopefully, this post has enlightened you, and you can now go out there to make an informed decision.