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File Cabinets

File cabinets are found in homes, offices, and anywhere documents need to be stored and an orderly manner. To decide on the best file cabinet for your needs, you should take into account the type of documents you will be filing, your decor, and, of course, your budget.

File cabinets come in two basic styles: the traditional vertical cabinet and the lateral (horizontal drawer) cabinet. A lateral file cabinet is simply a vertical cabinet with the drawer rotated 90 degrees, which allows you easy access to files that would otherwise be in the back of the drawer; however, this configuration takes up more wall space than a traditional vertical file.The other variations are in the number of drawers (generally two or four) and in the file width (legal and letter-sized dimensions), although many cabinets are designed to accommodate legal sized documents by hanging them rotated 90 degrees; hence many lateral files can actually be used as shallow traditional legal sized file cabinets.

For such things as personnel files, financial papers, wills, and other such important documents, a "fireproof" file cabinet is the best choice. These expensive cabinets are lined with insulation and can withstand the heat of fire and protect against water damage. Look for UL Class 350 rating on the cabinet. This means it can withstand heat of 1700 degrees for approximately one hour (hence, they are really "fire resistant" and not "fireproof"). Fireproof file cabinets are quite heavy and can be difficult to move.

Most file cabinets are made of metal. A reinforced base and double-walled sides make for a sturdy file cabinet that will hold up for many years. Look for cabinets with sturdy drawer rolling mechanisms to support the weight of a full drawer.

Extras to consider:

  • Many cabinets are also available with locks for keeping important papers safe.
  • If the cabinet is not going to be fastened to the wall, look for an anti-tipping drawer locking system that allows only one drawer to be opened at a time.
  • For the executive office, file cabinets also come in wood to match the office

    decor. These cabinets are not as durable as the steel cabinets generally used in offices and are not recommended for high volume use.
  • There are also small file cabinets available on wheels if file mobility is important.

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