How to remove drawers from a metal filing cabinet

Whether need to make your metal filing cabinet lighter so you can move it to a new location or simply fix a drawer, we’ve listed the steps to safely remove drawers from your metal filing cabinet.

Why remove drawers from a metal filing cabinet?

There are many reasons why you may need to remove drawers from a filing cabinet, including: 

  • Remove weight from the filing cabinet so that it can safely be moved to another location
  • Fix damage to the filing cabinet
  • Repaint or renovate the filing cabinets

Whatever reason you need to remove the drawers from your metal filing cabinet, it can be more challenging than you think. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help.

So, how do you take drawers out of a filing cabinet?

Most filing cabinets feature side-mount runners which have safety locks built-in to prevent drawers from slipping out of the filing cabinet (without these, there would be a huge health and safety risk for employees as drawers could easily fall). You shouldn’t need any tools for the removal of drawers but you should take care not to trap your fingers. 

Remove the contents of drawers

Before you remove drawers you should remove any paperwork or items in the filing cabinet to both avoid dropping anything and reduce the weight of the drawer.  

Start top to bottom

Begin by removing the top drawer first and work your way down. This will prevent the filing cabinet from falling over as a result of imbalance. 

Pull the drawer out as far as you can

The drawer should stop when it has been pulled out of the cabinet as far as it can. 

Locate the clip/latch on both sides of the drawer

This should be on the runner and will either need to be lifted or pushed to release the drawer (do this on both sides).

Gently remove the drawer and hold on tight

Check that your surroundings are clear and slowly remove the filing cabinet’s drawer – take small steps backwards as the drawer edges further out and lifts away from the runners. Make sure you have a firm grip on the drawer so you don’t drop it. 

Push the runners back into the filing cabinet

This will keep them out of the way and reduce the chances of accidentally walking into, or catching anything on them. 

Other types of filing cabinets

There may be other types of filing cabinets which require a different approach to removing the drawers. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Filing cabinets with push latches – these are very easy to operate. Push the button that triggers the latch and the drawer will disconnect from the cabinet’s runners. 
  • Filing cabinets with friction disconnect – For these types of filing cabinets, you simply need to pull out the drawer as far you can and the drawer will disconnect itself after some initial resistance. Note: this design is only really used on filing cabinets with a low weight capacity.
  • Filing cabinets with rollers – These have small wheels on the runners/rails and drawers can be removed by carefully swaying them side to side and pulling. 

Looking for metal filing cabinets? 

If you’re looking for metal filing cabinets for your workplace, look no further Manutan! We have a range of filing cabinets to suit your business needs; whether you need a Bisley 4 drawer filing cabinet or a Bisley 2 door filing cabinet, we’re here to help!

You can always call us on 0800 652 6000 to speak with our customer service team if you have any questions or requirements.

Thomas Hewitt