File Storage & Office Organization In An Effektiv Ikea Cabinet

We haven’t given our office any love in the entire eight months that we’ve lived here (other than deciding that it was no longer the dining room and shifting that into the old formal living room nearby). Pretty much our moving day MO was to: plop old office furniture down, work away, and ignore the fact that the rug’s crazy-off-center and you can bump your head on the old dining room chandelier. Sad times.

But the lack of love given wasn’t for lack of trying. We’ve been keeping our eye out for two similar/identical secondhand filing cabinets for, oh, eight whole months. So we were starting to lose hope after about twenty five visits to all of our favorite local thrift stores without finding two of them:

  1. that were the same height or depth (we ideally wanted to put two of them next to each other to make a square cabinet)
  2. that were even remotely operable (it was crazy how many were so dinged and dented that they hardly opened)

We even checked out online office supply shops and local places like Office Max, but a lot of the filing cabinet options that we found were upwards of $100 a pop – and we wanted two). Then on our recent trip to Ikea (for these shoe cabinets), this piece of furniture caught our eye as we strolled through the upper level:

It’s an “Effektiv” (hence the bad pun in the title of this post). And we decided half of it (it was actually two of them pushed together) would be the perfect solution for a little “situation” that we have going on (no not that Situation):

Yes, that’s a printer-paper-camera-bag-shredder pile right on the floor that’s sheepishly tucked out of view behind the sofa (but not completely out of view from a few other angles). And yes, Clara loves to push buttons and throw paper and cause general pile chaos. So something had to be done. Like yesterday.

Even though the Effektiv system has LOTS of customization options, we went for something very similar to what we saw on the showroom floor (just half as wide). I annoyingly lost the receipt (bad blogger) but it was in the neighborhood of $150. Which isn’t too bad considering some of the “heavily discounted office surplus” options would have been $200+ for the double-wide equivalent. Even the cost to build it all myself probably would have been in the $150+ range after getting all the drawer slides and hinges and file fittings (and I worried it wouldn’t have the same durability that I’d get from something made by experts since it would be constantly opened and shut). Oh and that price included one base, two shelf pieces, and the various interior fittings for a double wide file drawer on the bottom and concealed storage for things like our wireless printer and stacks of paper on the top double-doored shelf.

We figured it’d be a good piece to anchor this empty wall (opposite the wall with the desk, next to the doorway to the kitchen) while also adding some functional storage.

One by one, I assembled each of the three pieces and screwed them on top of one another. It was a thrilling process I assure you, so forgive me for glossing over it so quickly.

Oh and as for the vent on the right of it, luckily it has those angled registers so the air gets directed out at an angle that allows it to flow right out the side and into the room. There’s about a 4″ gap there (even though it looks a lot smaller in pics due to shadows) so it’s great thus far (we can feel the air easily coming out, so it’s not getting trapped or anything). Whew. Otherwise we’d just close that register because there are a few others in the room.

The beauty of this piece is that it slipped right in under the chair rail and fit pretty nicely width-wise too (we didn’t have the wall measurement with us, so we’re beyond relived that it wasn’t an inch too wide or something). It was offered with lots of customizable options – drawers, cabinets, hanging file systems, solid doors, frosted fronts, etc. We knew we wanted the upper shelf to work as a cabinet (to store the wireless printer & reems o’ paper mess) and the lower one to house a ton of hanging files (we have a surprising amount of paperwork due to being “our own business”). For some reason I’ve become addicted to hanging file storage and the two little file boxes slipped under our desk are, well, not doing it for me at all (they’re only about 7″ wide).

We went with basic white doors since they were the cheapest option and provide the easiest blank canvas in case we want to paint, wallpaper, stencil, or even O’verlay them with these cool things down the line for a more interesting (read: less Ikea-ish) look.

When it came to the interior fittings, first I put the file system in the bottom. It consists of a metal drawer/frame, a heavy weight in the back (to keep it from toppling when the drawer is pulled out) and a flat white cabinet face that will attach to the front. We also anchored it to the wall with an Ikea-provided kid-safe anchor system, just to be double safe.

Then the top half just consisted of putting on two cabinet doors, so the whole thing went from this…

…to this…

You’re probably wondering about our knob dealio. We decided to skip the ones from Ikea and go for a more homemade handle. We thought something rustic like casual string was a nice contrast to the sleek lines of the rest of the piece.

Okay, I’m totally kidding. The string was just temporary (since I learned the hard way that it was impossible to open the doors without prying them open with a flat head screwdriver without it).

I wasn’t kidding about passing on all of the Ikea hardware options though. We tried to like something. Really we did. But nothing was really doing it for us and we thought knobs from somewhere else might give it a little more character and make it work with other things in the room (like our $35 thrifted lattice desk chairs). Note: of course we have about ten million other changes we plan to make in here (slowly by surely) when it comes to the furnishings, lighting, etc.

But back to the hardware. Yeah, we’re hoping that adding some non-Ikea knobs or pulls could help to make the whole thing look a smidge less Ikea-y (as would eventually painting, stenciling, or wallpapering the fronts, sides, top or the whole darn thing). But we’re not gonna do any of that ’til the whole room is further along. Because who knows, once the room is painted (stenciled? wallpapered?) the piece could look best in plain ol’ glossy white (and we’d be kicking ourselves for having jumped the gun). We already found some pretty cool Anthropologie-ish handle options at a place that rhymes with Schlobby Bobby though, so once we make a final decision and screw them in (which always freaks me out by the way- is anyone else totally intimidated to drill right into new furniture?) we’ll be back with updated pics for ya. Hopefully within 24-ish hours.

Oh and since there have been a bunch of Clara video requests, we thought we’d share her latest party trick: animal sounds (although Sherry forgot piggy and doggy). You’ll note that she’s holding a fabric ruler from her tool kit the whole time. Looks like the girl’s ready to help me measure and screw in my hardware:

Has anyone else added some functional office storage recently? Did you have better luck hunting down something secondhand? Do you also have a deeply rooted fear of drilling holes into new furniture to attach hardware? I must measure things fifteen times just to be sure I’m not hanging them an inch off center or something.






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