What Can I Use Instead of a Filing Cabinet? 4 Ideas

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File cabinets are great for storing a large number of files and documents. However, the bland and boring appearance of these file cabinets may bring down your office appeal. They can make your home office look uninspired. Because of this, many wonder how to organize papers without a file cabinet. 

What can you use instead of a filing cabinet? Other than a filing cabinet, you can use a dresser, a shelving unit, or storage trunks. Depending on the size of your office space, you can use any containers to organize paperwork. You can also consider going paperless and digitize your office documents.

With that in mind, all you need is a little creativity to create better ways to organize your papers, whether you work at home or at the office. So, what can you use instead of a filing cabinet? Here are the most creative and unique alternatives to storing your papers without file cabinets. Let’s get started.

What Can I Use Instead of a Filing Cabinet?

In today’s modern office scene, functionality is important, but it’s not everything. This means that commercially made file cabinets, with the main purpose of organizing your files, do little to make your office space more beautiful. To solve this issue, you have to think outside of the box, literally and figuratively.

How can I organize my papers without a file cabinet?

So, how can you organize your papers without a file cabinet? There are many furniture options that offer value in terms of aesthetics.  Let’s take a look at some of the best file cabinet alternatives. These choices should offer the same storage capacity, without making your office look sorry. 

1. Dresser

Believe it or not, a dresser can easily work as a functional and versatile filing cabinet alternative. After all, they both look very similar and resemble each other. A vertical dresser works great if you don’t have a lot of space to work with, providing you with a quick and easy way to store files and folders.  

While dressers are used to store clothing, it can be used to store papers as well. A vertical dresser stand boasts a slim, lightweight design to easily fit into smaller spaces while still providing plenty of storage capacity. Just be sure to buy one with removable drawers that have an easy pull handle to make opening it simple. 

PRO TIP: If you are looking for file cabinets to accommodate smaller spaces, be sure to read our reviews of the best file cabinets for small spaces. We’ve carefully selected the best compact-sized filing cabinets that not only look beautiful, but offer excellent storage capacity as well.

2. Shelving Units

A useful addition to any living space or storage area, shelving units allows you to create valuable vertical space. In the living room, a shelving unit can beautifully display books, magazines, board games, and more. In an office setting, it can help keep files, documents, and supplies neatly organized.

To provide better flexibility, you can opt to buy a shelving unit equipped with caster wheels. This allows you to place the shelving unit anywhere you want it easily. It’s easy to see why many businesses choose to use shelving units instead of file cabinets, due to its contemporary good looks and convenient adjustable design.

3. Storage Trunks

Storage trunks are often found in homes and are often used to store towels, clothes, and toys. These storage trunks come in unique designs and are shaped like a treasure chest. While you can’t store a huge number of files in these trunks, they can act as a creative file cabinet alternative at home.

Often, storage trunks can double as a makeshift chair as well. If you want to maximize the value of a storage trunk, find one that can act as an ottoman. Whether in the living room opposite the sofa or the hallway next to the wardrobe, you can beautify any living space while keeping your files organized.

4. Plastic Containers

Plastic storage containers can function as an affordable filing cabinet alternative when you are on a tight budget. If you don’t want to spend a hefty amount for a real file cabinet, then you can save a few dollars by buying a plastic storage container. Not only are they cheap, but you will be able to store many things as well.

We recommend buying a 3-drawer medium storage cart. They are an ideal storage solution for your home or office. The smoke-tinted plastic drawers enable you to see the contents inside the drawers and access them with ease. A versatile and portable plastic storage container can also be used in classrooms and dorm rooms.

PRO TIP: If you are looking for the best option for your home office, look no further and read our reviews of the best file cabinet for home office. Every product on that list is specifically designed to maximize home office space, all the while providing you with the necessary storage capacity for your needs.

How can I hide my filing cabinet?

So, how can you hide your filing cabinet? The best way to hide your filing cabinet is to paint it. Applying a coat of paint is arguably the easiest way to disguise a plain-looking metal filing cabinet. Instead of regular gray, beige, or black, paint allows you to choose virtually any color for your filing cabinet.

Another great way to hide your filing cabinet is to create a slipcover or fabric skirt for your filing cabinet. It’s an ideal way to disguise it, especially if you’re handy with a sewing machine. If you don't know how to sew, you can use a piece of fabric to cover the entire filing cabinet and drape it over the furniture like a tablecloth.

Going Paperless

Taking everything into consideration, a creative way to greatly reduce the number of papers used  at the office is to go paperless. A paperless office is a work environment in which the use of paper is greatly reduced or eliminated. This is done by converting documents into digital form, a process known as digitization.

Physical documents can be hard to track. Reams of paper can get lost, misfiled, or destroyed without anyone noticing. It can also be challenging to monitor the access, printing, and copying of sensitive documents. The digitization process can help boost security and ease the transfer of information as well.

With that said, you may want to go digital to take your business to greater heights in the process.

Final Words

Hopefully, this post can provide you with creative ideas to answer the question: what can I use instead of a filing cabinet? With so many options available at your disposal, choosing the best filing cabinet alternative is all about being resourceful and handy at the same time. Here’s to a wonderful day at the office. 🙂