Things to Do With Metal File Cabinets


Old metal filing cabinets have the advantage of being well-built, capacious and nearly indestructible. On the down side, they are clunky, heavy and often unattractive. With a bit of work and some imagination, however, you can give those metal filing cabinets new life around your home.


  • No matter where your metal filing cabinets are from and what you want to do with them, they could probably stand to look a bit better. Why not give them a new paint job? Wash the outside of the cabinets with water and a mild liquid soap, being sure to remove any caked-on grease or other dirt. Tape over the handles and apply automotive paint or some other paint suitable to metal. You can use painter's tape to block out geometric designs or simply coat the whole thing in one color. For best results, use thin coats and a downward stroke, and give the cabinet at least three coats of paint.

Hobby Storage

  • Clunky, utilitarian metal filing cabinets make great storage for a craft room or workshop. You can use them to store tools, sewing supplies, paints and brushes or anything else you need for your hobbies. Use plastic storage dividers, food storage containers or cardboard boxes to subdivide the drawers to store several different things in each drawer. Then, tape a list of the items inside on each drawer.

Other Uses

  • Metal filing cabinets offer a great place to store anything you collect that is large and fairly flat. Records, for example, are too big for many shelves but fit well in most metal filling cabinets. Photo albums, scrapbooks and small paintings also fit well in large metal cabinets. These cabinets protect their contents from direct sunlight, water and other hazards, helping to preserve them. And don't forget the original use; metal filing cabinets are still the best place to store receipts, tax returns and other important records.

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