Although they go unnoticed most of the time, lateral file cabinets are essential to the average workplace. They make it easy to store huge numbers of documents in a relatively small place. They can also quickly accumulate files that end up weighing hundreds of pounds. This makes lateral file cabinets nearly impossible to move without emptying them of their files and drawers first. When it comes time to move the cabinet or if it is in need of repair, you will need to know how to remove its drawers.

Things You Will Need
  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver

Take out all the items from the top drawer first and set them aside, and then do the same for the rest of the drawers, working from top to bottom. Remove the hang rail bars and set them aside also.

Extend the top drawer fully. Inspect the interior of the cabinet, and look for a block and rope assembly. If your cabinet has one, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws that are on the inside of the drawer in the back. This will remove the block attached to the rope that is part of the file cabinet's anti-tip mechanism.

Close the top drawer if that is not the one you wish to remove, and open fully the drawer to be removed.

Look for two plastic tabs that are on each side of the drawer. If your cabinet has these, proceed to Step 5; if not, proceed to Step 6.

Face the drawer so that you can use both hands on these tabs. Press both of these tabs, lifting upward and pulling out toward you at the same time. This will release the drawer from the slide assembly and allow you to pull it all the way out and remove it.

Get another person to help you to remove the drawers on those cabinets without tabs. Place one hand on the outside of one side of the drawer, and push it while lifting up on the bottom of the drawer with your other hand. This in-and-up movement will release the drawer from the slide mechanism. If necessary, have your helper use a flat-head screwdriver in the slide while you do this in order to release a stubborn drawer. Finish by repeating the process on the other side, while your partner supports the side that you have just finished with.


Beware of the danger of tipping over a file cabinet. Do not open more than one drawer at once, and do not remove the contents of lower drawers while top drawers are still loaded.