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5 Creative Alternatives to the Filing Cabinet

Get creative and spice things up in your home office without sacrificing your clutter-free space by replacing your drab bulky filing cabinet with any of these alternatives.

Business papers stacked in wooden shelving.

Gone are the days when functionality holds everything in its place. That’s tough luck for many commercially made and mass-produced filing cabinets designed with the primary purpose of keeping your files in order. Unfortunately, their manufacturers seemed to have left one thing out — aesthetics.

Most filing cabinets are drab, bulky, and boring. They’re an eyesore that keeps your home office looking uninspired. Good thing you don’t need to clutter up your space just to spruce things up. All you gotta do is to pump up your creative juices and hunt for stylish storage alternatives that’ll do the job without making your room look sorry.

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1. Dresser


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A dresser can actually wind up working as a pretty decent filing cabinet alternative. If you need a filing cabinet solution for your home, but you don’t really have the room for another piece of furniture, then you may need to make use of something similar such as a dresser. If you have one or two dresser drawers free, then you will likely be able to store all of your important files in them. It can actually be pretty convenient, so it makes sense to make use of this method.

This solution won’t be ideal for people who have many files to store. If you really have enough files to necessitate an entire cabinet, then you may want to look elsewhere. If you can dedicate an entire small dresser to the purpose of storing your files, then it should work out fine. It just depends on whether or not you have a dresser to spare and enough room to put it where it needs to go.

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This is an option that allows you to potentially make use of a dresser that you already own. If your files are limited in number, then you should be able to store everything that you have inside of a few dresser drawers. This will look a lot nicer than putting a large filing cabinet in your house. Many people prefer dressers from a simple aesthetic perspective.


This isn’t going to be as elegant of a solution as some of the other options. You are able to store files vertically in a file cabinet, and this makes it easier to pick out what you need. You will be laying your files down flat when you make use of dresser drawers, so it will be more difficult to find a specific file. If you are short on space and don’t have too many files, then this may wind up working out just fine.

2. Storage Trunks

Storage Trunks

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There are also many people who use storage trunks to help them store important files. The types of files that average people need to hold onto are often tax-related or they might be medical records. Storing files like this inside of a storage trunk is going to be an easy solution to your problems. If you are simply storing tax records, receipts, medical bills, and other pertinent information, then you won’t need anything more than a storage trunk.

Storage trunks have a very appealing look and people like displaying them in their homes. Some of the storage trunks will even have a similar design to that of a treasure chest. These filing cabinet alternatives may not work out excellently if you have to store a ton of files, but they will be great for everyday people. Think about your needs and exactly how many files you need to store before purchasing a storage trunk.

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You will really enjoy the overall look of storage trunks. If you want to be able to store important files inside of something that looks more appealing than a filing cabinet, then this might be your preferred option. You should be able to buy a storage trunk at a reasonable price, too. You’ll find plenty of different options to pick from and will be able to purchase the perfect one that will fit in at your house.


If you need to store many files, then this option is likely not going to appeal to you. There are large storage trunks that could fit many files inside of them. The problem with this is that you would have a difficult time sorting through them. It wouldn’t be able to keep things very organized and would lack the proper elegance to be considered a true filing cabinet alternative.

3. Shelving

Metal rack shelving

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Shelving is another option that you should look into as a filing cabinet alternative. This is actually going to be one of the most convenient alternatives that you can consider. You should be able to fit an ample amount of files on different shelves. Sometimes people use bookshelves to store all of their files.

It isn’t even too uncommon for businesses to make use of shelving for filing purposes. This can work out well when you have a ton of files to store. Shelves can go all the way up to the ceiling if need be, so you’ll be able to create plenty of storage space. You’ll be able to tuck away your files neatly and shouldn’t have trouble organizing them in alphabetical or numerical order.

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The biggest reason that people choose shelving over filing cabinets is that shelving can look quite a bit prettier. Nice wooden shelves are very aesthetically pleasing and will add some charm to your home or office. Metal filing cabinets just come across as a little bit soulless and are not nearly as fun. If you want a good filing cabinet alternative that will be practical in many spaces, then you should think about buying some shelving.


Shelving looks quite a bit nicer than a typical metal filing cabinet. You’ll be able to store all of your files on shelves just as easily as you would be able to if you had a filing cabinet. The files can stay organized properly, and it will be easy on you. Shelving may wind up being the solution that you have been looking for.


It is possible that shelving will be tougher to use than a traditional filing cabinet. If you have many files, then you will need to use a large or tall shelf to store them. This could force you to climb a step ladder just to reach certain files. The deeper filing cabinets will be a bit simpler to use than this, as you will be able to access your files at a normal height.

4. Desk Drawers

Desk with Drawers

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Another simple idea that you could try out is to store all of your files in your desk. If you have a home office, then it is highly likely that you have a desk of some sort. Assuming that your desk has drawers, you could use those drawers to store your important files. This is obviously only going to work out if you have a limited number of files to store.

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There are desks that have substantial room inside of their drawers. These types of desks will be very convenient for storing files. You can actually use some of these drawers similarly to an actual filing cabinet. It will be easy to store files if the drawers are deep enough that you can place them inside vertically.

Not all desks are going to be convenient for this purpose. You will likely need to look for a desk that is specifically meant for helping people to store files. The desk being shown here is an expensive example, and it has many filing cabinet drawers for you to use. It is possible to find less costly desks that will provide you with storage options as well.


You won’t have to take up extra floor space by placing an actual filing cabinet in your office. Having a desk that has deep enough drawers is going to be the filing cabinet solution you have been waiting for. Storing files will be easy, and you’ll always have access to them while you are working. This is very convenient, and you will likely want to go this route if you have a home office.


The cost of a good desk with deep drawers may be a bit much. It depends on just how much storage you need for your files. This is a good solution that is hard to find any faults with, though. If you need to store files, then it makes sense to store them in your desk and save yourself some floor space.

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5. Plastic Storage Containers

Plastic Storage Containers

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Plastic storage containers can work as an inexpensive filing cabinet alternative when you are in a pinch. If you don’t have the money to purchase a true filing cabinet, then you can spend a few bucks to get some plastic storage containers. These are going to be very cost-effective, and you will be able to store many things inside of them. This will make it so that your files will have a place where they can stay safe and organized.

Some plastic storage containers will be able to work just like a filing cabinet. You might even be able to place your files inside of the storage unit vertically to make things convenient. Either way, this is an affordable option that gives you the necessary storage space. You’ll be able to set it up very easily, and it will work fine.


These plastic storage containers are very affordable. Even if you aren’t working with much money at all, it won’t be too difficult to purchase some of these plastic storage containers. The drawers in these containers will work perfectly to store your files. They should be safe inside of the drawers, and you will not have to feel concerned about losing your files.


This method may actually look worse than traditional filing cabinets. Plastic storage containers are not going to give off a very classy vibe. If you want to make sure that things look professional, then you should probably get something that looks a bit nicer than this. If this is for your home and you just want something that is inexpensive that will work, then this is a good buy.

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