Turning your old file cabinet into a garage storage favorite

If you were to ever come to my house you would quickly realize that out of all the rooms in my house, my garage is the land that time, space and attention forgot. I know where my tools are, but the rest of it is one big Bermuda Triangle of supplies. (i.e.: We have birdseed. We don’t own birds, a bird bath or a bird feeder. You get the idea..) I can’t tell you how many duplicates we have of very basic things simply because they have been put back here-and-there ish. ONE DAY I was going to organize it all. (Sort of like ONE DAY I’ll start exercising..)

A couple of weeks ago, fate intervened in the form of HGTV, who contacted me to ask if I would contribute to a feature in which an everyday object is repurposed and used in a garage. After the smelling salts wore off, I fired up every last working brain cell (took some doing, I’ve worked with a lot of toxic fumes) and came up with and idea built around this baby:

Oh yes, she's a beaut...


Impressive, right? Yes, we own this cabinet. It was holding super important warranties for appliances we haven’t owned since I was a natural blonde.  In other words, it was the perfect candidate for a makeover (as am I, funnily enough).  As with any makeover, it was time to look at things a little differently.  What about looking at it like this?


Looking at things a little differently..


NOW we’re cooking with gas..Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Sand paper
2. Spray Primer and Paint
3. Painter’s masking tape
4. Casters (4 if converting a small cabinet, 6 if working with a large one)
5. Peg Board and peg board hanging kit
6. Scrap wood
7. screws
8. Level (if choosing to do a decorative stripe)
9. Power drill


1. Lightly sand and wipe cabinet clean so that spray primer affixes easily. Spray with primer and allow to dry completely. Using a level, mark where your decorative stripe will be located (if you choose to do one).


Primed Cabinet


2. Cover contrasting stripe with tape and spray the rest of the cabinet with the spray paint of your choice (a glossy finish looks great on a file cabinet). Allow to dry completely before removing tape.


Ready for Candy Apple Red


3. Cover the painted part of the cabinet with tape and/or newspapers to protect newly painted surface and paint contrasting stripes. Allow to dry completely before removing the tape.


Kind of like that Mustang I hope to own someday....


Now you’re ready to affix the cabinet to its rolling base:

5. Cut scrap wood to slightly smaller size than the base of the cabinet.

6. Measure casters to be affixed at equal intervals from each other along the board, approximately 2 inches from the edge of the board.


You know what they say: Measure twice...


7. Mark holes with pencil where each caster is to be screwed in and affix with a washer and machine screw.


You're on a roll!


8. Using a hand saw, cut your peg board to slightly smaller than each end of the cabinet and affix to the sides using the peg board hanging kit sold in stores.


Julia Child loved peg board in her kitchen..


9. Mount cabinet on rolling wooden platform and secure by inserting two screws on both ends, passing through the base of the cabinet and into the wood. You can also screw several pieces of peg board into the metal slats that separate each compartment for a neater look.


Suddenly, I can find things....


The possibility of tool configuration are endless..


And now we have a practical, sturdy (and moveable) garage storage!   (You wouldn’t believe how many tools I discovered I didn’t know I had.)  Take a look at the HGTV feature,  Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Garage and get inspired!


I love it..


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    120 Responses to “Turning your old file cabinet into a garage storage favorite”

    Read below or add a comment...

    1. Aidel.K says:

      Hi–I just clicked over from Curbly. Great project! Maybe this summer….

    2. This is incredible. One man’s trunk is definitely another man’s treasure.

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      I don’t know we recognized completely whatever you meant by that, is it possible to expand more on 29 cosmetics ?


    6. Sabina says:

      I have done this for years. I was given a legal file cabinet and wonder to myself what am I going to do with this I left the drawers in and can easily find everything I need. The outside of the drawer has room for a label and I know exactly what is in each drawer.

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    9. Kathi says:

      WOW! I was going to throw away the old file cabinet in just a matter of days since I’m moving into a new house. I will have my first garage ever and now I can’t wait to do this project.

    10. Maria B Halverson says:

      This is really interesting and useful. As in my garage storage solutions, the storage space is limited and have to effectively utilize the available space. This is just made excellent.Thanks for sharing!!!

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