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The *best* way to store plain manila file folders?

Hi all,

Once upon a time you could buy a filing cabinet that worked with file folders of the non-hanging variety, but it appears that such times are long past. I've been trying to figure out how to store folders nicely in cabinets designed for hanging files, but nothing seems to work well:

* Shoving the folders in and hoping for the best makes a mess, because the folders in back aren't supported well and the ones in front slide down. Sticking small boxes in front and back kind of helps, but it's ugly and far from perfect.

* Putting manila folders into hanging folders works, but it seems terribly inefficient, especially for small folders. The David says you shouldn't have inhibitions about filing a single piece of paper. Further, it doubles the size of your files.

What tricks to people here use?


ggrozier's picture

David's recommendation that we not...

David's recommendation that we not use hanging files needs to be updated, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he needs to take account of the economics of office furniture and the realities of what we're dealing with out here. I get the impression that he deals with CEO's and professionals for whom cost is no object if they can afford to have someone like him come in and spend a couple of days with them. Such people can afford top-of-the-line Levenger filing cabinets. But most of us who are trying to implement his program are dealing with limited budgets and the sort of office furniture we find at Office Depot etc.

Many of the file cabinets sold nowadays just are not made for weight to be resting on the bottom of the drawer--the drawer bottoms slide into grooves on the bottom of the sides, and I've had a couple of bottoms give way when I stored things in the drawers because the pressed board used for the bottoms sags and the edges come out of the grooves, and my file drawer is disassembled, if not broken--the grooves can be somewhat fragile in some cases. The sides are more substantial, and the drawers are attached at the sides to the cabinet and the metal rails support them, which is why they are set up for hanging files--it's actually the drawer sides that can take weight, not the drawer bottoms. These drawers really could do away with the bottoms, because the only purpose they serve is to catch miscellaneous pieces of paper etc that fall down, and keep them from falling onto the top of the file drawer beneath them.

Unless you want to go for the more expensive, more substantial file cabinets, consider just using the hanging files the drawers were designed for. One thing I've learned is to go with the way things were designed, it makes them last longer and I'm happier with the product.

And it's very easy to use hanging files with manilla interior folders. I don't always label the hanging file folders and I like the flexibility of being able to move the manilla folders in and out. And if I label the hanging files then I can put several interior folders in that file as appropriate, and later move them to another folder --as when I move a folder from reference to action drawers.

And I like being able to label the hanging file with a more general topic and have several folders inside which subdivide that subject into sub-topics.

Also I never liked having to wrestle with adjusting the followers and having the manilla files flop over or the drawers get too crowded when I used regular file cabinets. The followers would get off the tracks from time to time and I'd have to take out all the folders in the drawer in order to fix the problem until the next time someone was careless about it. When I see photos of regular file drawers, even if the folders are labeled with David-approved labels they look messy to me, whereas the hanging files look neater.

So, if you have the hanging-folder type of file drawer, why not learn to live with it and use it and appreciate its advantages. If you get a regular file cabinet, then adapt to it and its advantages--tho once you get used to the flexibility of the hanging files you may prefer them.

It makes more sense to deal with what you have and use it appropriately than to be fighting with it, trying to get it to do something it wasn't designed to do.




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