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Cabinet Caveats: File Cabinet Organization

Jul 8, 2008
Are your filing cabinets disorganized? This article is designed to provide you with some useful information that will help you keep your filing cabinets neat and organized. Specifics may vary from person to person; however, the following information includes helpful and important guidelines from which everyone can benefit.

Most people don't realize it, but a file cabinet is a more intricate piece of office equipment than you might imagine. Indeed, it can save you plenty of time by neatly organizing your filed documents, while also protecting them inside closed drawers. However, file cabinet organization must also be done correctly. Not only will you get the most out of it, but you could actually prevent injuries in your office!

To follow are five important guidelines to keep in mind concerning file cabinet organization and safety in your office:

File Cabinet Organization Guideline #1. Never overstuff a cabinet! The temptation always seems to be to cram as much paperwork as possible into each drawer... but this is counter-productive because it makes individual papers much harder to retrieve. It's very difficult when you try to squeeze your fingers into a jammed-up filing drawer (the worst paper cuts ever!). It can also create a hazard when you open the drawer. If the contents are especially heavy, the filing cabinet can tip forward and cause injuries. As a general rule, leave a full four inches of free space in each drawer so that you can access and identify your files easily.

File Cabinet Organization Guideline #2. Open only one drawer at a time, especially the upper drawers. Having several drawers open simultaneously, particularly when a filing cabinet is full, can cause the cabinet to tip over and possibly injure someone, maybe even you. It may seem like common sense (you can really only get into one drawer at a time anyway), but you would be surprised at how many office workers find this out the hard way.

File Cabinet Organization Guideline #3. Label the contents of each file drawer on the outside front of the drawer. DYMO label makers and self-stick labels are perfect for file cabinet organization, providing a visual signal of what each drawer contains. You don't need to include the name of every file in the drawer on your label, just the key categories. This will significantly reduce the time it takes for everyone in your office to find a specific file. Plus, you can even use different colors, fonts or sizes to dress things up or create an original filing system that makes finding files easy.

File Cabinet Organization Guideline #4. When setting up a cabinet, be sure to leave enough space in front of the drawers for the drawers to open. This might sound like simple common sense, but it can be amazing how often this rule of thinking is ignored.

File Cabinet Organization Guideline #5. If your file drawers do not contain built-in rails for hanging filing, put in a frame specially designed to convert a standard filing cabinet organization system into a more efficient hanging system. Pendaflex makes several different kinds of frames designed for this purpose.
About the Author
Sharon Mann is President of the I Hate Filing Club, a group of nearly 100,000 office professionals who hate filing but love finding new ways to become more organized. For information about how you can get new ideas, sample new products and connect with your peers, visit www.pendaflex.com.
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