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Vicki Norris

Professional Organization Expert

File Cabinets

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  • Good Housekeeping
Rusty drawers that creak and squeak when you open them. A wobbly, uneven foundation that requires propping to make it level. Jam-packed drawers that won’t fit one more piece of paper, no matter how hard you try. Sound familiar?

If I just described YOUR filing cabinet, you’re not alone! File cabinets are one of the most commonly misused pieces of furniture our organizers find in our client’s homes and businesses. Most people don’t take the time to figure out what their needs are prior to purchasing. Just as you wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, you shouldn’t pick a file cabinet without determining the right fit.

As tempting as it can be to just purchase the first thing you see, consider size and style first:

a) Determine how much storage capacity you require; is one file drawer enough, or do you need four?

b) Will your file system remain fairly small once it’s set up, or do you anticipate constant growth? Consider how many additional drawers you will need

c) In the case of a home office, does the file cabinet have to blend in with existing furniture and décor?

Space planning should be taken into account as well:

a) Vertical filing cabinets can be quite deep; you’ll need to make sure your space allows for that depth

b) How many people will be accessing the file system?

c) Would you prefer lower, lateral storage drawers rather than a taller, vertical unit?

File cabinets have come a long way since the standard gray metal days. Whether you’re looking for an elegant console for your home office or something utilitarian for your corporate worksite, I hope these options will inspire you to tackle that backlogged filing!

Best File Cabinets by Vicki Norris

The Best You Can Get

  • Pottery Barn - Bedford 2-Drawer File Cabinet

    Vicki says: When it comes to office furniture, Pottery Barn knows how to marry form with function. This file cabinet from their Bedford collection is no exception. It looks strong and classic on its own and is up to the task of keeping your files in their place. When used in combination with other pieces in the same line, such as a desktop, additional drawers, and a hutch, you can create a customized, efficient workstation for yourself. The cabinet’s drawers slide smoothly on sturdy glides. Our organizers love the heavy-duty drawer pulls and, of course, the all-important label holders.


    • Strong, side-mounted drawer glides
    • Available in 3 colors: white, brown, black
    • Holds both legal and letter-sized files
  • Ballard Designs – Home Office Ensemble File Console

    Vicki says: What happens when you’ve got four drawers worth of files, but don’t love the look of vertical file cabinets? Go horizontal! With a sleek, black exterior and minimal detailing this low profile console blends into your home décor so well, it could almost pass as a sideboard in the dining room. Able to accommodate a high volume of legal and letter-sized files with ease, this handsome piece from Ballard Designs will serve you for years to come in almost any room.


    • Attractive design
    • Smooth open drawer glides
    • Designed for legal and letter-sized files
  • Crate and Barrel – Preston Four-drawer File

    Vicki says: Tall, dark, handsome, AND dependable. What more could you ask for? How about sexy legs? This stylish, four-drawer vertical file cabinet from Crate and Barrel makes the most of vertical space. The drawers hold a sizeable number of files and it works well in both home and office environments. Classic lines and brushed nickel handles add a degree of sophistication not normally found in a file cabinet. Lean and leggy, this cabinet takes filing to a whole new place!


    • Espresso stain with a lacquer finish
    • Smooth ball-bearing drawer glides
    • Drawers hold letter or legal-sized files
  • Pottery Barn - Metal File Cabinet

    Vicki says: Office furniture to brighten your day! Perfect for a creative office or for storing finished artwork in the playroom, these cheerful file cabinets provide old school practicality with an updated kick. The sunny yellow unit is made up of ten shallow drawers – just right for holding arts and crafts paper supplies or children’s art class masterpieces that are best stored flat. The tangy orange cabinet comes with a full-sized file drawer and makes filing a little more fun. In addition, there are two upper drawers, just right for smaller desk supplies and essentials.


    • Sturdy metal construction
    • Front-mounted label holders
    • Casters provide mobility
  • Ballard Designs – File Storage Ottoman

    Vicki says: Being organized doesn’t have to be obvious and pedestrian. If you’re looking for something that conceals your files, look no further. An ingenious solution for file storage, this dual-function ottoman is especially useful in a small or multi-purpose office space. When the lid is closed, the ottoman can be used as an end table, a footrest, or additional seating. Lift up the lid and you’ll find a metal frame for hanging your letter-sized files neatly and within quick reach. There’s even room to store a few office essentials inside as well. Antique brass casters allow for easy mobility. With custom fabric choices, this file storage piece inconspicuously slides into any room arrangement.


    • May be upholstered to match room décor
    • Choose from a wide array of fabrics
    • Includes portable work surface

You will be happy with any of these

  • HON® 370 Series Four-drawer Letter File, Gray

    Vicki says: There’s something to be said for a good, old-fashioned filing cabinet. It’s sturdy. It’s reliable. And it does its job with little complaint. Their classic, functional design has been a fixture in the business world for decades. And as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Retro file cabinets like this one continue to be the sturdy, reliable workhorses of corporate offices, and have since made the transition to home office spaces as well. If you’ve got a lot of history to keep, you can rely on this classic.


    • Commercial grade construction
    • Drawers are 26 ½” deep
    • Easy-to-operate thumb latches
  • Gavin Legal File Cabinet

    Vicki says: There’s no doubt that letter-sized files have become the norm for most homes and offices. But for those of you who prefer their legal-sized counterparts, this cabinet may be just the thing you’re looking for. Without being overly masculine or feminine-looking, this easygoing storage piece has a cubby-like shelf and an impromptu flat work surface in addition to its large file drawer. And because it’s made especially for legal files, there’s no need to add or switch any hardware inside the drawer in order to convert it.


    • Stained black finish
    • Smooth metal glides
    • Open shelf for additional storage
  • IKEA – Aspvik File Cabinet

    Vicki says: Modern. Slim. Functional. With a streamlined white silhouette and fully extending drawers designed for letter-sized files, this three-drawer unit from IKEA provides a large amount of storage space within a slim profile. As with most IKEA furniture, this piece requires some assembly, but it comes together fairly quickly and easily. But if following directions really isn’t your thing, IKEA does provide assembly assistance for an additional fee.


    • White finish to match almost any décor
    • Unit can be locked for privacy
  • OfficeMax Premium 10000 Series Lateral File

    Vicki says: The Fort Knox of Filing! For those who have heavy-duty filing needs, here’s a heavy-duty solution. This sleek black cabinet from the OfficeMax Premium series wins the prize for sheer capacity! Its four lateral drawers will handle a large number of legal or letter-sized files. Keeping you and your files safe and sound, this unit features leveling guides on the bottom to ensure a strong foundation and a safety lock which prevents two drawers from opening at the same time.


    • Wear-resistant black enamel finish
    • Comes with magnetic label holders for each drawer
    • Holds letter or legal files
  • Manhattan File Cabinet

    Vicki says: If your guest room also serves as your home office, let this diminutive file cabinet serve a dual purpose. With traditional styling, this cute cabinet will hold your letter-sized files in its two drawers while serving as an end table or night stand for overnight guests. The sturdy construction and turned legs will add a dash of charm to any space.


    • Antique black finish
    • Multiple functionality
    • Available online only (not in stores)

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