Should I Empty my File Cabinets Before I Move?

It’s one of the top questions our business clients ask us: “Should I empty the file cabinets before my big move?”

It is not surprising that so many people are concerned about this. We hear the same question about dresser drawers. After all, file cabinets are heavy, cumbersome, and often filled with business papers that you don’t want to reorganize after the move is completed. But will emptying your cabinets make a move easier, faster, or cheaper?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Should You Do With Your Records During a Move?

While we can handle your full filing cabinets for you, it’s generally a good idea to empty file cabinets before your office move. There are several reasons for this. The first is that emptying file cabinets before a big move helps prevent damage to your files as well as the filing cabinet itself.

Additionally, emptying file cabinets is a great opportunity to go through these cabinets and decide what paperwork you need to keep and what you’d do well to throw away.

What to do With Your Business Files

So, you’ve decided to empty your file cabinets. But now what do you do with all the documents you pull out?

Here are a few tips:

  • Remove the Files in Order. Keep things organized by removing the files in order. If you’re moving several filing cabinets, we suggest using heavy file boxes labeled with numbered masking tape. This helps you remember how files are arranged and ensures ease of replacement once you arrive at your destination location.
  • Use the Right Boxes. Choosing the right boxes is everything when it comes to packing your file cabinets. Here’s what our Operations Manager Chris Brazille has to say about it, “When packing the files into boxes, a banker-style box works great. Banker boxes are ideal for file transportation and storage. If you utilize a small box or 1.5 cubic foot box, I suggest having the box at a slight angle to one end, so that gravity will help the files stay tight to one side.”

Is it Ever Okay to Leave Cabinets Full?

While it’s generally a good idea to unpack your cabinets, there are a few cases where you can leave cabinets partially or fully intact:

  • Two-Drawer Cabinets. Stand up 2-drawer filing cabinets can typically be moved full with no additional servicing. Contact our team to make sure we can handle your cabinet as-is.
  • Four-Drawer Cabinets. If you’re moving a tall, stand-up 4-drawer file cabinet, you’ll need to empty the top two drawers. Otherwise, the weight of the files will bend the bottom of the cabinet, potentially ruining the entire unit. If it’s a wood-style cabinet, the force of the shifting weight will often be enough to destroy the structure of the cabinet.
  • Lateral Cabinets. With a wide cabinet, you’ll need to remove all the files to ensure safe transport. Typically, these cabinets feature lightweight construction, and moving them full will bend the frame of the cabinet to the extent that it will likely be nonfunctional after a move.

Have additional questions about moving file cabinets? Contact the team here at Master Movers Moving & Storage for trusted office moving services throughout Oregon and SW Washington. We’re the moving company you need for moving heavy items, corporate relocations, and more!