Introduction: Build a Stakable GTD Reference Filing Cabinet

Getting things done mobile system - build you own lasting and nice looking GTD File Cabinet. The wooden boxes are stackable and can be build in various lengths. Equipped with weels it's even better looking and goes mobile!

I have several reference filing boxes in use at home and in the office although more and more of the content goes electronic I don't have the time to scan everything. Filing is no problem anymore. I have everything at hand in a few seconds when I need it.

At the office I store the box in a standard corpus. At home I just stack the boxes to economize space. The content I use most is stored on the top.

Step 1: Build Your Own File Cabinet

While delving deeper into the ‘Getting things done’ system I was looking for an appropriate filing cabinet. I checked out several office stores in Switzerland and couldn’t get hold of a matching system. Everything is filed in suspension files.

I then saw that overseas Manila folders are used for paper filing systems. Unfortunately Manila folders are not sold around here. Without an appropriate system at hand I decided to build the whole stuff from scratch.

Step 2: Requirements to Fulfill...

For the filing box I looked for a solid box like the Rako system box. The dimensions just didn’t fit. I also checked archive boxes but those came in very unwieldy. Without a further ado I started to sketch my own reference box. My starting points were the following requirements:

  1. Storable in a standard corpus
  2. Possibility to have compartments
  3. Easy transportable
  4. Stackable
  5. Solid
  6. Durable
  7. Non scratching on the floor

Step 3: The Needed Parts

The whole construction is very easy. I ordered the wood already cut into the right dimensions (birch plywood) did the grinding and cut the slots. You need a router to cut the slots for the compartments. I consider the slots a very useful feature especially at the beginning when your filing cabinet is not full.

Then I drilled the wholes and screwed the whole box together. Should you be a cabinet maker or a skilled handyman you certainly can do it without screws – giving the perfect touch. You also can also use a base anchor with wheels so you won't have to carry it around anymore - having your mobile file cabinet!

Step 4: Make It Stakable

With the triangle end pieces the boxes become stackable. With the felt it cannot scratch the floor.

I also have made a mobile edition with wheels. There you can easily stack 4 boxes and move them around!

Step 5: Do the Filing

As we don't have manila folder around here I have chosen the Elco paper files for storing my documents: Elco Ordo

As these files do not have an Index I had to look for an alternative. 3M sells strong Index stickers that are big enough to write on with a water proof pen. This looks great and you can use your own color scheme.

Step 6: The Dimensions of the Parts

Here are the dimensions of the parts for my personal reference filing box (dimensions in millimetres). The dimensions are chosen according to my filing folders and corpus. So you should first measure your corpus or your preferred location site and adapt it to your needs.

Base: 582 x 248 x 9 Side elements: 582 x 239 x 9 Front and back: 338 x 248 x 9 Compartments: 326 x 230 x 9 Edges to stack: cut a rectangle of 60 x 40 x 9 diagonally.

Original article:

Original Filing Cabinet Article

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