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Upcycled Filing Cabinet into Portable Laundry Bin

As I mention in my email newsletter (are you signed up?), I’m not one to shy away from a neighbor’s trash. Ain’t no shame in my game, especially when it saves vintage beasts like this from the landfill. I’m feeling the urge for an upcycled filing cabinet makeover that will have you rubber necking when there’s loot at Curb le Chic. {{yeah, baby!}}

Vintage Industrial Filing Cabinet Before Upcycle by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

To be forthright, I did drive past this several days in a row as it was at a neighbor’s house just down the street. I figured someone would pick it up for scrap metal, but there it sat. So, I also figured that I would have a crack at it and if it didn’t go well I would add it to my scrap metal pile I already had waiting for a local scrapper to pick up in few days. Win-win, right? In addition, I love filing cabinets for different things…like my fabric stash. (see HERE)

If you notice, the drawers are horribly bent up…like someone had a bad day. Know what I mean?

Damaged File Drawers on Upcycled Filing Cabinet | prodigalpieces.com

It looks as if the key is lost and entry is forced…just a bit. ahem. This vintage industrial style cabinets are hard to find and offer so much for storage. No need for heading to the trash.

DIY TIME

No worries though! Thankfully, I’m able to open the drawers and get an assessment. At first glance, I find a few treasures that lead me to believe this belongs to a (retired?) music teach of our local high school. Aside from a thousand paper clips, a few notes, and this loot, I also found two brand new neck ties with school logos that I gave to a couple of coaches. They were tickled to have them!

Found Music Teacher Supplies Inside Filing Cabinets | prodigalpieces.com

Initially, I thought I could salvage the drawers and add new fronts. Nope, nada.  They are tacked on and I didn’t need that kind of fuss. So, first I yank out the drawers, remove the hardware, and salvage what I can. Then, I need to remove the other part of the drawer guide. Since I thought you might want to do this too, I’m outlining how I got them out.

Removing Upcycled Filing Cabinet Hardware by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

  1. Using a flat-head screwdriver, bend out the tab at the front of the guide.
  2. Hit or pry the guide up out of the tabs with a hammer
  3. Pry the guide from the back towards the front with a hammer
  4. Recycle the pieces for scrap (a must!)

Next, I need to clean up the inside and out using a little sanding to remove rust and wear. There are a few dents here and there, but those don’t bother me.

Sanding Upcycled Filing Cabinet | prodigalpieces.com

Of course, I pull out my spray shelter and DIY turn table to make my painting a breeze. You can see it in action in the video below.

Video Tutorial Upcycled Map Chest by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Spray Painting Filing Cabinet in Spray Shelter | prodigalpieces.com

Spray Painting Black on Upcycled Filing Cabinet | prodigalpieces.com

NEXT STEPS

Last, it’s time to add the finishing details. I haven’t given away what my end goal is, but now is the time. Folks, I’m all about creating a rolling laundry cart out of this upcycled filing cabinet. woot! In order to do that I add locking casters to the bottom. Who doesn’t love wheels on things, am I right?

Adding Casters to an Upcycled Filing Cabinet | prodigalpieces.com

Also, as I mention earlier, I salvage the hardware from my upcycle filing cabinet and adding it to my cart. The handles go on top for added function, while the label holders are on the front for “Light” and “Dark” separation.

Last, I add a bit of my favorite things…typography. Using my DIY transfer tutorial I create a graphic and hand-paint it on.

DIY Typography Transfer for Upcycled Filing Cabinet | prodigalpieces.com

THE REVEAL

Now, let’s take a look at my upcycled filing cabinet turned a DIY portable laundry bin. Whatcha think?

Industrial Style Laundry Bin Made from Upcycled Filing Cabinet by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #industrial #diy

Side View of Upcycled Filing Cabinet by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #upcycled #home #diy #laundry

So much for headed to the trash, right? yeeehaaawww!! In addition, I was even able to find these two collapsible embroidered bins at my local Home Hardware that fit perfectly. I love when things work out like that, don’t you?

Top View of Upcycled Laundry Bin by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #diy

Repurposed Filing Cabinet Turned Rolling Laundry Bin by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #repurposed #upcycled

Folding Laundry Bin for Upcycled Filing Cabinet by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #industrial #home #upcycled

Likewise, I’m equally stoked that I was able to not only pull off the original drawer labels and handles, but that they also went on the new and improved upcycled filing cabinet. {{happy dance}}

Repurposed Filing Cabinet as Laundry Bin by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #home #diy #upcycled

Upcycled Filing Cabinet Drawer Pull on Portable Laundry Bin by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #repurposed #laundry #diy

Finally, I’m eager to offer this in my online shop. As much as I’d love to keep it, my one-butt laundry room does not afford me such luxuries. sigh…

  • Handmade Linen Ottoman by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | shop.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #furniture #shopping
    Linen Ottoman ~$75

Industrial Style Laundry Bin from Upcycled Filing Cabinet by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #laundry #upcycled

In order to inspire others to look past the damaged and see the potential, do pin and share.

Upcycled Filing Cabinet is Transformed into a Portable Laundry Bin by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #farmhouse #industrial #laundry #upcycled

Up next, this sweet little find will get some much needed love. Take a peek at it now OVER HERE!

Vintage Table Before | prodigalpieces.com

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, check out these other industrial makeovers like this upcycled filing cabinet:

Outdated Vintage Dresser Gets Industrial Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comA Cedar Chest Found in the Trash Becomes Industrial Style Decor in this Farmhouse Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Comments

  1. Karen says

    Wow , this is so amazing. I would never had thought to do this to an old filing cabinet. I wish my brain worked like yours. Great job!

  2. Rebecca - NC says

    Gobsmacked!!!!! I have a new favorite!!!!! Now if I only had the laundry room….. What a great way to remind us to be creative problem solvers. This piece won’t last long in your shop!!! 💕😍💕

    • Larissa says

      Doin’ a happy dance! I’m so tickled with it, Rebecca. Thanks!

  3. Debra Pashkowsky says

    I love your imagination. I would have never thought of it in a million years.

    • Larissa says

      Debra! I’ve missed you. Thank you for stopping by and the sweet words.

  4. Cathy says

    Well I am impressed. Great job and now a very useful item…Glad you did not pass this one by…

  5. Frances Batson says

    I love it. I took a 3 drawer filing cabinet and took out the best drawers and the hardware and laid it on its back. I put it in my building and put my shorter pieces of lumber in it. Now I can see what I have and not have to Tumble through a pile
    of wood to see what I have. A 2drawer filing cabinet has very short pieces in the drawers.

    • Larissa says

      Sweet! I just love these industrial size ones for that. So many uses!

  6. Caye Cooper says

    What a clever girl you are!! Such a great idea. It’s a keeper, Larissa. THANKS!!

    • Larissa says

      You’re so fun, Caye. Thank you! It was too good a project piece to pass up.

  7. Cheryl Atkinson says

    You are amazing

    • Larissa says

      You’re very sweet to say so, Cheryl. Thank you for the love. 😀

  8. Lorene says

    What a great idea! Love this!

    • Larissa says

      Once I had the idea, I couldn’t wait to work on it. Thanks, Lorene!

  9. Little Debbie says

    Get out of town!!!!
    You continue to top yourself!!!!
    You are so good at looking from every side!
    We should all treat people like that. 🥰
    You are a teacher…😘

    • Larissa says

      You just made my whole week…tee hee! I so needed a hug and a smile. Thank you!

  10. susan says

    I Never cease to be amazed at your foresight! A winner for sure!

  11. Bryan Patterson says

    I was telling a friend about your creativity last week… She’ll be seeing this it’s phenomenal!!!

    • Larissa says

      I’ve been hoping all is well. Yay! Thank you for the smiles, Bryan.

    • Larissa says

      I’ve been debating on showing him. Just so fun for me…thanks!

  12. Kim Banko says

    That is a fantastic upcycle Larissa!!

    • Larissa says

      Hey Kim! 😀 Thank you for the love. It was too much of a temptation to pass up. haha.

  13. Mary says

    Wow, oh Wow!! Unbelievable transformation Larissa! I just love this! I’m sitting here shaking my head, cause I absolutely could Not Imagine doing a thing with that file cabinet but recycle it. (this project really should win some sort of contest for creative repurposing!) And don’t ya just love when those pieces show up that fit the final purpose of the creation? (like the baskets from your home hardware!) Gives me chill bumps! There is a whole lot of the creative process we can’t “see”, but have to experience and it shows up regularly when we are creating. Thank you again for inspiring us soooo well!

    • Larissa says

      Mary, you so got what it means to me to be able to not only see my vision come to life, but to share it with you. Yes, those bins fitting were a God-wink because I was preparing to make them at home myself. I’m so thankful for our local retailers! Thank you for the smile. 😀

  14. [email protected] says

    You are so creative, Larissa! I never in a million years would have come up with a way to upcycle an old filing cabinet.

    • Larissa says

      Thank you bunches, Paula! You should have seen me trying to jack that thing up into my truck by myself. haha! I was determined! 😀

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