A home office has to be just as well organized, neat and tidy as any office should be. Most people who work from home fail to keep things organized, which leads to reduced productivity and work done. Besides a desk tidy, drawers and files, you also need a file cabinet to keep your files and documents organized and well in order.
Yes, despite the major transformations that have taken place in the storage of data and important documents over the years, the file cabinet is still used. This is because there are lots of agreements and contracts written on hard copies. This is where a file cabinet proves useful to keep the files well organized and easily accessible when in need.
With a filing cabinet around, you no longer need to hurriedly stuff all your important papers onto desk drawers just because you don’t know where to store them. You can store all your important documents in it, which helps keep you organized, rid of unnecessary clutter and provides easy and convenient access to documents.
Types of file cabinets
While looking for filing cabinets, you first need to know that they come in different types for you to choose from. They are:
- In case of lateral units, its drawers extend horizontally on its longest side. Though the drawers are wide, they are not as deep as other models. However, the benefit of having this type of filing cabinet is that’s you can easily sift through files even in the sitting position.
- Vertical units have deep, vertical drawers extending from the cabinet’s short side. As these cabinets come with quite a few drawers, they are rather tall. This means that the topmost drawer will be rather high, and will have to be taken into consideration before buying it. no point in someone short buying these filing cabinets as they will not be able to access or use all of the drawers.
- Flat units are similar to lateral units, but come with long and narrow drawers. They are a better choice if you have large documents that have to be laid straight, without fear of rolling while in storage, like blueprints and x-rays.
- Mobile file cabinets have casters so that they can be easily moved around. Not only is this convenient for transporting files from one place to another, even across carpets, it’s good for small offices. You can roll the cabinet into the office only when you need it, and store it elsewhere when not in use.
How to select the right file cabinet
1. Budget and features
You have to choose a file cabinet that’s in your budget and is durable enough to withstand your usage. This means you have to select your filing cabinet based on how often you will be using the cabinet and the type of locks or security you require. Most companies also charge to deliver the cabinet to your home. As this can get expensive for you, it’s better to look for someone who delivers for free if you are on a tight budget.
The chosen file cabinet should not only fit into your available office space but should also accommodate all your files and papers. Don’t forget that it’s highly likely that your storage requirements will increase with time.
Instead of frequently buying new file cabinets that will take up more space, it’s better to buy a slightly bigger one in the first place. To be on the safer side, start looking for your file cabinet only after measuring your available office space and determining the type of documents you will be storing in it.
File cabinets come in four main materials; steel, plastic, wood and aluminum, each with their individual advantages and disadvantages.
Steel file cabinets are the most durable and are designed to withstand years of use without any warping, sagging or wearing down. Besides, no matter how much you may use them, or how much wear and tear they undergo, they look new for a long time because they are scratch and impact resistant.
Steel cabinets also come with additional features like lock systems, counterweights, and full drawer suspension. Their drawback, however, is that they are not that aesthetically pleasing because they come in boring colors, which do no help in spicing up your workspace.
Like steel, aluminum file cabinets are also durable and long-lasting in performance. They are also lighter, cheaper and more malleable than steel. Though they may not be able to withstand too strong impacts, it’s not much of a worry in home offices. They, however, do make a more budget-friendly choice if you are looking for a strong and affordable cabinet.
Plastic file cabinets are cheap but not durable. This means they have to be replaced quickly with excessive wear and tear. While they do make an ideal temporary solution, they are not as safe as other variants.
Wooden file cabinets may be considered the best of the lot because not only are they sturdy and durable, they are also much more attractive than metal options. It’s true that wood is easily scratched, which actually adds to the cabinet’s overall character and patina. They also create a warm working environment and come in various colors and finishes.
4. Types of files to be stored
You should look for a high-quality wooden or metal file cabinet if you need to safely store lots of important documents like medical or legal documents. Besides safety, you also have to make your choice based on the size of the documents to be stored.
This is because standard cabinets can store 8.5 x 11’ paper, which is not good enough for you if you have to store large blueprints, legal documents or archival materials. This is where flat file cabinets prove to make a better choice.
While the most common locking mechanism in file cabinet opens by key, some come with more sophisticated and secure electric locks that open with a key code.
Last, but not least, as file cabinets are heavy, make sure they will be delivered not only to your doorstep but to the spot where you plan to keep it. All this is included in the delivery costs, without which you will have to spend more money just to have the cabinet shifted to your office.