Interesting uses for file cabinets?
December 15, 2010 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Interesting uses for file cabinets?

My office is moving to a new location and the previous tenants left 6 black metal file cabinets laying around. I have already called dibs on 4, but will be gifting 2 of those to a friend. I may snag the remaining 2 of the 6.

I'm considering converting by current 2 cabinets into wargaming miniature/terrain storage, then placing a large piece of wood on top to be a gaming surface (like a cheap pedestal desk).

What are some interesting uses for 1-4 file cabinets? I'm a musician, model maker, gaming, and overall computer and design geek. I have the ability to mod the cabinets with a dremel and other assorted hand tools. I don't mind adding extra bits. I'm also game to make something cool and then gift to someone else.
posted by Wossname to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I put power tools in the couple of extra that I have (skil saw, recip saw, drills, etc). Also store small painting tools, etc. A glorified tool chest.
posted by skypieces at 1:58 PM on December 15, 2010

Those look like hanging file cabinets. Are the bottoms of each drawer sturdy enough to hold a lot of weight?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:04 PM on December 15, 2010

The filing cabinet stand-up computer desk.
posted by lollusc at 2:07 PM on December 15, 2010


Smoked fish, sausages, hams, all these can be yours! Just in time for the holidays too. A $10 hot plate and you're good to go.
posted by bonehead at 2:09 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

You should put a diorama in one. I saw a bunch of stuff like this (boxes you open, or press a button to open) lit with neon lights at the Museum of Neon Art recently.

I've also been dying to have a drawer to mount a digital camera in, rigged to snap a picture of whomever opens it (and then automatically post the shots to a tumblr, natch).
posted by carsonb at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Burhanistan, let's assume that the bottom is sturdy. They are hanging file cabinets, but nothing says I can't reinforce the bottom.
posted by Wossname at 2:39 PM on December 15, 2010

One could make for an okay letterbox. Four could make for an awesome letterbox.
posted by doublehappy at 2:41 PM on December 15, 2010

One of the popular shelter websites (probably Design Sponge or Apartment Therapy) had a before and after where someone had turned a file cabinet into a planter.
posted by Wantok at 3:17 PM on December 15, 2010

I think this is what Wantok was referring to:

before & after: chad’s filing cabinet planter

posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 4:01 PM on December 15, 2010

Also, I really like carsonb's diorama idea. Very cool!

You could have Edwardians battling dinosaurs...
posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 4:09 PM on December 15, 2010

A startup I was with used those, plus hollow-core doors, to build desks for developers. It worked surprisingly well, and made it really easy to rearrange our open seating arrangement. We pair-programmed, and the width of the desk (the height of a door) made for really desks that were plenty wide for two people and two keyboards, plus a pair of monitors.
posted by dws at 4:14 PM on December 15, 2010

So maybe this will sound really boring, but I was SUPER EXCITED when I got a giant 5-drawer filing cabinet and finally had a chance to file all my papers! I painted the front panels to go with my office, got color coordinated hanging files, used a label maker for all my folder labels and made sure the tabs went in order from left to right as the folders go back into the drawer. Now I don't have stacks of paper waiting to be filed! Now I don't have an overflowing file cabinet whose drawers will barely close! Instead I have a beautiful, color-coordinated, highly satisfying system (based loosely on GTD, by the way) that makes me happy every time I have to deal with paperwork. Seriously, that is some kind of miracle. I guess I've always been more excited than the average person about organizing projects, but man -- to me there is nothing more awesome than using these things as god (or office depot) intended: as the best filing cabinets ever.
posted by vytae at 8:45 PM on December 15, 2010

i store my clothes in filing cabinets. I've put an old door on top of them to make a nice bench effect. they're great for jumpers and other bulky items.
posted by MT at 9:38 PM on December 15, 2010

Unless you've run out of things to store in them, there is no higher purpose for filing cabinets than storage. Heavy duty drawers that slide open all the way, with lots of space for whatever awkward, bulky, must-not-turn-upside-down items.

I do like the digital camera idea though. Maybe for a drawer pictures are stored in.
posted by yohko at 1:52 PM on December 16, 2010

I have plenty of storage for my files and tools. I'm looking for more interesting uses as fun projects. I'm surprised I didn't think about the planters and the smoker is absolutely inspired.
posted by Wossname at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2010

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