How To Remove Drawers From A File Cabinet

    How To Remove Drawers From A File Cabinet

    Are you tired of seeing your old file cabinet crammed with drawers that you can no longer access? If this is the case, it’s time to learn how to remove drawers from a file cabinet. There are a few steps required to get it done, and while it is a simple process, it can be difficult to properly understand if you’re not familiar with it. That’s why we’ve crafted this guide so that anyone can easily gain the knowledge they need to free their drawers from their confines. With this, we’ll take a deep dive into how to remove drawers from a file cabinet.

    Removing Drawers from a File Cabinet

    Removing drawers from a file cabinet can be a tricky task if you don’t know exactly what type of cabinet you have or where the release mechanism is located. Even the most experienced person can fumble when it comes to the unlocking or opening the drawers. In this section, we will provide a step-by-step guide to taking out the drawers of a file cabinet, so you can get the job done quickly and easily.

    Identifying Your File Cabinet

    Identifying your file cabinet is an important first step in the process of removing a drawer. In most cases, the first step is to determine the type and make of the file cabinet. Depending on the age of your cabinet, you may need assistance to identify it.

    The most common file cabinets are found in vertical and lateral designs. They may be made of metal, wood, or a combination of both materials. In addition, they may be two-, three-, four-, or five-drawer file cabinets. You may also see different labeling systems such as A-Z or full filing systems. It is important to pay attention to the detail on the anchor tags to determine the type of cabinet that you have.

    Some of the most popular brands of file cabinets include HON, Steelcase, and Bisley. If you are unsure about what type of filing system your cabinet uses, then you can use the manufacturer’s website to look up the details. By understanding the make and model of your cabinet, you can then make sure that the release mechanisms and hardware used to remove the drawer will be compatible with your cabinet.

    Locating the Release Mechanism

    Different file cabinets have different styles of release mechanisms, but they all serve the same purpose: to allow you to unlock and open the drawer. The most common type of release mechanism is a small metal lever located at the bottom of the file cabinet, near the floor. Depending on the model, you may have to rotate the lever in a specific direction to unlock the drawer. Older models may require a key for access. Some models are equipped with electronic locks and may require a code for access.

    When looking for the release mechanism, carefully inspect the cabinet for any lever or mechanism on the front, side, or bottom of the cabinet. If you cannot find a visible release lever, then it is likely that the mechanism is hidden by a metal plate or some other form of enclosure. Try to locate any screws, nails, or clips that may be holding the panel in place. Remove them carefully to access the release lever.

    Be cautious when handling the release lever, as it is delicate and can easily break if it is mishandled. If you break the release lever, it may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. Inspect the lever before engaging it, making sure there is no rust or damage to the metal. Engage the lever slowly and cautiously by pressing it into the open position.

    Unlocking and Opening the Drawer

    Depending on the type of file cabinet you have, you may need to locate a release mechanism before you can unlock and open the drawer. If the drawer has an electronic lock, the process will be similar to unlocking the door with a key. Simply press the unlock button and the latch will release the drawer. If you have a file cabinet with a manual lever, you need to locate the release lever and push it with your finger. Once the lever has been pushed, the drawer should open and the latch should release.

    For added security, some file cabinets come with a lock bar that needs to be put in the open position before the drawer can be opened. To open the lock bar, simply insert a flathead screwdriver or other slim object down into the receiver and press the release button. Once the lock bar is open, you can open the drawer and access the contents.

    Removing the Drawer from the Cabinet

    When removing a drawer from a file cabinet, it is important to exercise caution and lift the drawer with both hands. Start by fully opening the drawer and locating the handles. Most modern file cabinets have handles located at the edge of the drawer. Using your hands, firmly grasp both sides of the drawer handles. You may want to use gloves to avoid potential contact with the metal edges.

    To remove the drawer from the cabinet, gently lift the drawer up and away from the cabinet. As you pull out the drawer, it should glide effortlessly on its rollers. Once the drawer has been removed from the cabinet, you will be able to take a closer look at its contents.

    Below are a few tips for removing drawers from a file cabinet:

    • Always wear gloves when handling the drawer handles to avoid potential contact with the metal.

    • Gently lift the drawer straight up with both hands using equal pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking the drawer as this may cause damage to the cabinet or its components.

    • Make sure both hands have a firm grip before attempting to pull the drawer out.

    • If the drawer seems stuck, gently wiggle it back and forth before attempting to lift it.

    • Place the drawer on a flat surface. Reinstalling the drawer is much easier with a flat, secure surface.

    Reinstalling the Drawer

    Reinstalling drawers in a file cabinet requires a certain level of precision and safety. Before reinserting the drawer, check that all contents and locks are secure. Start by lining up the edges of the drawer with the slots at the back. If installing a Manual Lever, be sure to line up the notch at the top of the lever with the slider notch before pushing the drawer firmly into the cabinet.

    When inserting the drawer into the cabinet, it feels like it’s slightly bumping. This is caused by the swivel clips, which are designed to secure the drawer in place without needing to be tightened. You should hear a click as the clips snap into the grooves of the drawer.

    For electronic locks, insert the drawer and align the tabs of the electronic lock with the lock bar. Once aligned, press or turn the lock button once to re-engage it. However, if the lock is not in place, the drawer won’t be secured and the drawer may be opened from the outside.

    Finally, lock the drawer and check that it won’t open when tugged. If the drawer remains secure, you have successfully reinstalled it in the file cabinet.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you remove drawers from a filing cabinet?

    Yes, you can remove drawers from a filing cabinet. Depending on the style and type of filing cabinet, you may need to use a screwdriver or other tool to remove the drawers. Some filing cabinets may also require that you unlock and press the release button before you can remove the drawers. Be sure to read the instructions that came with the cabinet before attempting to remove any drawers.

    How do you remove cabinet drawers?

    Removing cabinet drawers is a fairly straightforward process. Start by examining the drawer closely and locating any screws, brackets, or fasteners that are holding the drawer in place, then unscrew these items. Once all fasteners have been removed, gently pull the drawer straight out of the cabinet. Be sure to hold the front of the drawer securely as you pull it to avoid damaging the drawer or its contents.

    How do you remove drawers that don’t come out?

    If drawers won’t come out, some possible causes may include the tracks being off-center, the drawers being stuck or the glide being broken. To remove the drawers, you should use gentle pressure when pulling them out and check if the tracks are off-center. If so, use a screwdriver and adjust the screws to center the tracks; this should help the drawers come out. If the drawers are stuck, try gently tapping the side of the drawers until they come free. If the glide is broken, you may need to replace it before attempting to remove the drawers.

    How do you remove drawers from a lateral file cabinet?

    1. Start by opening the drawers of the lateral file cabinet and then remove any contents that may be inside of the drawer.

    2. Locate and remove any screws that may be holding the drawer to the frame of the lateral file cabinet.

    3. Grip the drawer and pull it straight out from the lateral file cabinet. You may have to slightly tilt the drawer if it is stuck. This can be done by slowly lifting and then lowering the drawer in order to free it from the runners.

    4. Once the drawer is free, continue to pull it gently and slowly out of the lateral file cabinet. Be careful not to drop it too fast as this could damage the drawer.


    The process of removing drawers from a file cabinet may seem daunting, but following the step-by-step instructions in this guide should make it straightforward. Take your time, use caution, and have patience when handling the pieces. With careful attention to detail, you’ll be able to remove and reinstall your drawer quickly and successfully.