DIY Filing Chest


Our home office is a small space, and our tall, boxy filing cabinet always made it feel extra crowded. To create a solution that didn't sacrifice on storage, I built a long, low chest that doubles as a bench! Inside, there's room for nearly four feet of hanging files, a sliding tray for office supplies, and a bulletin board for reminders and notes.
Today I'm sharing a quick view of how the parts come together, but you can always hop over to my blog, Build Basic, using the link below to see each detailed step, and a full cut list for this project!
The first step is to cut all the parts. Next, drill pocket holes along the edges of the plywood and ends of the 1 x 2 pieces.
Assemble the 1 x 2 frames for each wall, and then attach a piece of plywood to each frame to complete the wall.
Once each wall is assembled, screw them to the 2 x 2 legs using the pocket holes drilled at the beginning of the tutorial. Install 1 x 2 cleats between the front and back walls to secure the box, and then insert the plywood bottom.
Assemble the office supply tray using 1 x 3 boards around the edges, and ½ x 2 "hobby boards" on the inside as dividers. Add a strip of molding to the inside of the box along the front and back wall to support the sliding tray.
Now is a good time to prime and paint all the parts. I also applied a clear coat so the white paint wouldn't scuff. Once the pieces are dry, attach a piano hinge to the underside of the lid, centered along its back edge. Center a few squares of cork board on the underside of the lid. The cork board can either be left exposed, or covered with fabric.
If the cork board gets covered with fabric, I recommend finishing the edges with a piece of ½ x ¾ inch trim board.
Attach the piano hinge to secure the lid. For safety, a lid support hinge can be added as well. Lastly, set a rack for hanging files and the office supply tray into the box!
I hope you enjoyed this project! To see each detailed step and a full cut list, click over to my site, Build Basic, using the link below! Thanks for reading!! --Jenn

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Jul26461528
    on Jun 27, 2017

    Hello. I have a vintage chest i want to turn into a document storage, I have work portfolio and personal docs I am tired of keeping in plastic boxes....any ideas on how not to just "pile" them on this vintage peace? Its thw size of those old medium size travel chests and would look nice as a secor peace...its black with golden locks.... thanks
  • Sms12792078
    on Oct 13, 2018

    The question I have is about all the projects. I know I'm a dummy, but is there a way to navigate thru and find projects that you have discovered and the could not find the way back to a particular project. Is there a way to print out the directions on how to do the project?

    • Sandra M
      on Mar 4, 2019

      When you see a project that you think you'll want to go back to later, look to the very bottom of your screen where you should see a green heart and "I want to do this!" just to the right of it. If you click on that it will save the project for you and you can get back to it later by scrolling up to the very top and hovering your mouse over your turquoise circle with the S in it, located at the far right. One of the options that appears will be "Saved Projects" and this is where you'll find those projects that you wanted to see again. I'm sure there's another way too, but this is the easiest that I know of, you just have to plan in advance for a return visit. Note: I'm describing what I see on my desktop computer, if you're looking on your phone or iPad then it probably won't be quite the same process but there should still be a way to save them. Hope that helps.

Join the conversation

3 of 33 comments
  • ArtRockstar
    on Jan 10, 2016

    Great idea! I don't have the proper saws to cut that many pieces of wood but I wonder if I could upcycle an old chest or small low dresser, reattach the top to have a piano hinge...? Only need to find the right piece of furniture to find out! Thanks for the idea. I need this big time.

  • B. Enne
    on Sep 15, 2017

    Well done, I remember keeping a Martha Stewart magazine that had a similar concept. This would work well, in a built-in banquette too.
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