How Do I Choose the Best Vintage File Cabinet?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2019
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Staying organized in the home or office often means purchasing a file cabinet that allows you to store files and documents easily and efficiently. Many varieties exist, but if you want an aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching model, consider a vintage file cabinet for your space. When choosing a vintage file cabinet, however, you will need to do a bit of research to ensure you get a unit that is durable, convenient, and suited to your needs. It helps to have an idea of what kind of aesthetic you prefer so you can find a cabinet that will work well with your decor.

While the term "vintage" generally means old or from a past generation, it does not always necessarily mean high-quality. When choosing a vintage file cabinet, therefore, it is important to choose a unit that is not only old, but also in good enough condition to be usable. This is particularly important if you are considering a wood vintage file cabinet, as wood can rot or otherwise weaken over time if it is not cared for. Look for cabinets made from hardwoods such as oak, as these tend to be more durable and resistant to water damage. Softwoods like pine are more prone to warping, splitting, cracking, and rotting, and while you do not necessarily need to avoid these cabinets, you will need to examine them more carefully for damage.


Consider how large of a unit you will need, as well as what shape you will need. Vertical cabinets tend to be more common, though horizontal units can also be found fairly easily. The type of vintage file cabinet you need will depend on the size of the space in which it will be placed as well as the manner in which you intend to use the cabinet. Vertical cabinets are useful for file storage that will be accessed frequently by many people; a horizontal cabinet is most useful when situated behind a desk or workspace in which a person will access the drawers while sitting in a chair.

Remember that some vintage file cabinet models will require additional maintenance, or may need refurbishing. This means there will be an added cost to the original purchase price; you should prepare for such costs by factoring them into your budget for purchase, while keeping in mind that you may need to condition the wood, repair cracks, and otherwise repair the unit for use.



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