When my office cut the budget for me new office, I was left with nowhere to put a number of papers and no money to purchase more storage. These literature sorters were perfect for what I needed, but cost at least $50. This one cost me $4 and could have easily been made for no cost from cardboard and tape found around any office.
It's just sturdy enough and easy to make.
Step 1: What You Need
I used foamboard available from the dollar store by the poster board. For my project I needed 4 sheets, but any large cardboard box would also work. You will need a sharp box cutter, and a straight edge for straight cuts and/or ruler for measuring. Tape is recommended for stability to add a back and to tape down any edges that are loose at the end. You might use a pen/pencil to mark where cuts will go, especially on the sides, but it wasn't necessary.
Step 2: Cut Sides and Top/bottom
Cut the sides and top & bottom to size to suit your particular needs. For mine, I basically cut the foamboard in half lengthwise (and about 10 in wide) and then the sides half as high.
Then, about one inch from the edges I cut a slit about half way up. I alternated them on the sides to help add stability. I made these slits only as wide as the foamboard/cardboard.
Step 3: Cut Slits for Shelves
Measure how many sections you want in your unit and mark where the shelves will fall on the sides. At each of those spots, cut about a 4 inch wide slit in the middle of the side to accommodate the tabs for the shelves.
Step 4: Cut the Shelves
Cut all of your shelves the same length as your top and bottom. Then cut in these 4 inch wide tabs on each end to go into the sides of the unit.
Step 5: Cut a Divider and Back If Desired
Because I made a double unit I wanted to add a back and divider to help add stability. The divider is the same overall size as the sides but with the tabs cut differently. The back is the just the right size to cover the back of the unit without overlapping the top. You'll see me add these in a later step.
Step 6: Attach the Bottom and Sides
Slide the cuts from your bottom and side parts together to form a joint. After this you will have a sort of U shape. It is easiest done on its side as shown.
Step 7: Attach the Shelves
With the unit still lying down, enter the tabs for all the shelves into one side first. Make sure to put all of the clean edges together so they all face the front when you are done. When one side is done, you will easily be able to enter them into the other side so that it looks like the final result here.
Step 8: Add the Top
Now, slide in the top into the other slots on the sides. Don't worry if you decide this was the bottom and not the top. They are identical.
Step 9: Add the Divider
If you decided to add a divider now is the time to put it in. Make sure you now have the unit with the front facing up so that the edge of the divider will be in the front. This makes it possible to add the back in the next step.
Step 10: Add a Back
Flip the unit over so that the front is now facing down on the table. Now you can line up the back and tape or glue it in place as desired for stability.
Step 11: Tape or Glue Loose Edges
Now you can tape or glue any loose edges. Paint or paper or otherwise decorate the unit so it looks pretty and Voila!
Step 12: File Your Papers
Your unit is now complete and ready to use!