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Advice - Lateral vs. Vertical File Cabinets

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  • Advice - Lateral vs. Vertical File Cabinets

    Hi all,

    Looking into getting a file cabinet. Was considering a 3 or 4 draw HON 30" lateral, with filing back to front. That would make it the equivalent of a 6-8 draw vertical for slightly more cost. (These are both assuming letter size papers). As I hope to use the bottom draw (or half of it in the case of a lateral) to store specialty paper supplies (resume paper, envelopes), and with lots to file, I feel like a standard 4 draw vertical won't be enough.

    However, the laterals dont have a spring back for loading. Even when placing items in back to simulate the spring load, the files don't appear to line up as they do in vertical cabinets and sorta slide down.

    Does anyone have a suggestion on what to do? I could theoretically get 2 verticals, but would prefer the single lateral. Has anyone tried a similar setup (lateral with side to side loading)?

    Thanks in advance,
    Adam

  • #2
    Think about your back and some other thoughts...

    I find that to get things in and out of laterals (side loading), I end up in a twisted posture and I pay for it later. I truly, truly hate them. I think I would reserve laterals for achival kinds of filing if I had to make use of them.

    On the other hand, laterals come in many attractive styles so if you are putting them in your living room, you might want them.

    Maybe you need a supply closet?

    Maybe you need a desk with drawers? A lot of computer desks really lack any plce to put supplies.

    Some offices (esp, medical and dentistry) use a kind of lateral system of files but the folders are on shelves with an end tab handing off, sometimes printed on both sides. You can put these at a height where they are easy to see and retrieve.

    If you get a 4 drawer or even a three drawer, vertical you need to be tall enough to peer into the top drawers. Sometimes people use the top for supplies infrequently used.

    Comment


    • #3
      File Cabinet or Electronic Storage?

      I have two questions for you:

      1. How tall are you? Are these a small enough number of files you could have a lateral two draw file cabinet or credenza that you could sit and open? Or are there a lot of files so you need to yank out long drawers full of file folders?

      2. How many files do you plan on keeping vs. keeping the information on an external hard drive or server? If there is a chance you can chuck the paperwork, I would go for storing them online with a backup system of some kind.

      To me file cabinets make it too easy to keep papers and folders long after they are needed.

      So you might consider going for electronic storage.

      Just a thought.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
        I find that to get things in and out of laterals (side loading), I end up in a twisted posture and I pay for it later.
        That's why I wanted to use the back to front loading, with these

        I've been sending out lots of resumes, so I have a drawer full of resume paper and envelopes. Most of my other office supplies are in a supply cabinet/closet type thing, but my filing cabinet is closer and more accessible (this is for my apartment and not for an office)

        I've also tried a 4 drawer and found that I am tall enough to use the top without much trouble. (5'7")

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jackiwhitford View Post
          I have two questions for you:

          1. How tall are you? Are these a small enough number of files you could have a lateral two draw file cabinet or credenza that you could sit and open? Or are there a lot of files so you need to yank out long drawers full of file folders?

          2. How many files do you plan on keeping vs. keeping the information on an external hard drive or server? If there is a chance you can chuck the paperwork, I would go for storing them online with a backup system of some kind.
          1) 5'7"
          2) I'm not sure if I'll move to an electronic filing system (i have a pretty good feeder scanner) in the near future. I very well might, but at least for the near future I'll be using a paper based system. My credit card statements (which I still get on paper) will take up about half a drawer. As of now I can fill up 3 drawers (vertical) with stuff, and have the equivalent of another drawer that I need to organize. A lot could be gotten rid of (I agree with you that paper based makes you keep things longer) but...

          My primary concern with laterals, even using back to front loading, is that they don't have a spring loaded back, and placing files in it...they sorta slouch.

          Comment


          • #6
            very cool to enable back to front loading

            I love this idea as it allows one to face the drawer head on and be able to see several columns at once. That would make searching
            easier than having to open multiple drawers and it would make retreival possible without twisting at all. I suspect that you may have to approximately equilibrize the weight in each column for easy sliding (you don't want one end heavier than the other). You may also need to have about the same weight from front to back (that might be why it lacks spring loaded supports, so you "can't" just weigh down the front of the drawer). If that is the case, you could fill each column to about the same capacity with existing files and then fill the backs with empty folders. That might limit how much equilibrizing you would need to do bec. as you expand categories, you would just pull out empty folders, or you could ue old magazines.

            I have a miserable set of file drawers that I (SDMB) am going to replace and if you get these laterals, I hope you will post about your experience.

            One final thought, I know that some retailers deliver, but if you are not satisfied with the product, will they retreive and refund?

            And one other, I have noticed that some libraries use laterals, it might be worth exploring the brands and models. I think that quality and engineering are really important to a file drawer and the larger it is, the more important this becomes.

            Good luck.

            Comment


            • #7
              How much stuff do you need to file, anyway? A 4-drawer lateral holds a *lot* of paper, especially if we're talking about personal rather than business filing. The advantage of limited storage space is it encourages you to think about what you really need, instead of just keeping everything.

              FWIW, all the current files for my business take up less than two vertical drawers. Another drawer holds all the current household files. Office supplies are on shelves near where they are used. Files more than a year old are either tossed or stored in banker's boxes in the attic.

              Katherine

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
                I love this idea as it allows one to face the drawer head on and be able to see several columns at once. That would make searching...
                I have a miserable set of file drawers that I (SDMB) am going to replace and if you get these laterals, I hope you will post about your experience.
                ...
                One final thought, I know that some retailers deliver, but if you are not satisfied with the product, will they retreive and refund?
                My dad uses laterals in the back to front loading method without a problem. In fact, I ordered a lateral, tried it out and then returned it, which is how I really learned about the slouching issue.

                No major problem with weighting both sides equally, generally the files don't weigh enough to be a problem with the sliding. Ditto for the front to back weighting. Note that you can't use hanging files with the front-to-back loading, the separator doesn't allow for it (though I doubt many here use it). I'm guessing because laterals are meant to be used as laterals there's never been a spring loaded conversion kit made available. Would be great if they had one. I'm not sure I understand why front heavy would make a difference on a lateral and not a vertical.

                Viking/OfficeDepot and Staples drop off and will do a free pickup if you want to return it. Refunds are processed promptly and delivery is usually next day.

                The only brand I've looked at is HON, on the basis of their reputation and the fact that my father's office has numerous HON file cabinets. The 400 series has multiple drawer models, feels solid, and slides well. Note that many of the websites say only one drawer is ball bearings and the rest nylon rollers. I called up HON customer service and they've confirmed, after a look in the technical specs, that all the drawers are ball bearings. You can get the 434 from Viking for $370 (http://tinyurl.com/2atmb2), though I'd try to get them to price match filingcabinets.com (where its on sale for $315)..
                There is one downside to the 400 series. The recessed handle doesn't span the entire width of the drawer, so you may need to reach over and pull from the middle to open it. The F-Pull, Flagship, and 800 series lateral models have larger recessed handles. When I was looking at the verticals I wanted to get the HON 470 series (http://tinyurl.com/242u5y) which has a recessed handle. Alas, suppliers only carry it in "raw metal" and it would take 5 weeks to get the color I wanted.

                What other brands would you recommend a look at? I'm in NYC, I can always head over to an office furniture showroom and see what the actual models look and feel like.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kewms View Post
                  How much stuff do you need to file, anyway? A 4-drawer lateral holds a *lot* of paper, especially if we're talking about personal rather than business filing. The advantage of limited storage space is it encourages you to think about what you really need, instead of just keeping everything.

                  FWIW, all the current files for my business take up less than two vertical drawers. Another drawer holds all the current household files. Office supplies are on shelves near where they are used. Files more than a year old are either tossed or stored in banker's boxes in the attic.

                  Katherine
                  I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm relatively new to GTD and I'm probably erring on the keeping more side of things. I save lots of papers and essays that I've printed up to read. This would also, at least for the near future, serve the function your banker's boxes do. I'm in a NYC apartment, I can fit a 30" lateral without a problem, but don't have an attic for longer term archiving. The lateral seems more cost efficient than the equivalent vertical as well.
                  Eventually I may move over to storing more electronically, but not sure when.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Purge as much of the stuff as possible.

                    Originally posted by admsteiner View Post
                    I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm relatively new to GTD and I'm probably erring on the keeping more side of things. I save lots of papers and essays that I've printed up to read. This would also, at least for the near future, serve the function your banker's boxes do. I'm in a NYC apartment, I can fit a 30" lateral without a problem, but don't have an attic for longer term archiving. The lateral seems more cost efficient than the equivalent vertical as well.
                    Eventually I may move over to storing more electronically, but not sure when.
                    As the work you have to do will always take all the allocated time, the stuff you collect will always overflow the storage space you have.

                    The only solution is to limit the storage space and purge as much of the stuff as possible. Do you really think you will read these papers and essays? Most of them will be outdated after 3 months (some of them after 3 weeks).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                      As the work you have to do will always take all the allocated time, the stuff you collect will always overflow the storage space you have.

                      The only solution is to limit the storage space and purge as much of the stuff as possible. Do you really think you will read these papers and essays? Most of them will be outdated after 3 months (some of them after 3 weeks).
                      Probably true that I'll always have more to store than space. As to relevance, it depends on the essay. I put down interesting thoughts, facts, or thought processes (eventually I'll have to figure out a more efficient way of referring to them), ideas and approaches. Some, like "Meet the Life Hackers" from the NYT Magazine in Oct 2005, which got me on the path to GTD, I always want a paper copy of, etc etc

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        UK Source for Lateral File Cabinet

                        Great to know all this info before purchasing a file cabinet. Anyone here know where to source a lateral back to front filing cabinet?
                        Barbara

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just remember that you're almost forced to use pendaflex folders to get files to stand up. Increases cost and cuts down on amount you can store.

                          I am using a 2 drawer lateral now and definitely going to switch to vertical.

                          A 2 drawer vertical will probably hold as much as a 2 drawer lateral and is much smaller.

                          The only reason I'm using this lateral is that I got it for $10 (used of course).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Magnetic File Drawer Followers

                            admsteiner, I'm coming a bit late to the party, but I found something you might find interesting, namely magnetic file drawer followers. I stumbled across these while doing some searches.

                            One must of course be careful of magnetic media, since something like this could cause problems with it. With that said, these might help keep front-to-back loaded files in a lateral file cabinet upright.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Very interesting, thanks for the link.

                              Glad to see the thread is still going

                              --a

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