Bing Closet Drawer Tips: How to Remove Drawers

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Closet Drawer Tips: How to Remove Drawers

Closet drawer types and removal
Drawer with undermount slides on the left. Drawer with side mount slides on the right.

Built-in drawers are a coveted feature of custom closets. They allow you to store small accessories in a neat and convenient matter. But sooner or later they may need maintenance. Perhaps the drawer becomes overfull. Too much stuff in your drawers can cause items to fall behind or prevent the drawer from opening and closing properly. It's a simple problem to fix. You just need to know how to remove drawers from your closet system, clean out the space, and then reinstall.

Most drawers will need to be removed for maintenance at some point. It doesn't really matter whether it's a drawer for a kitchen cabinet, a piece of furniture, or a closet. They all work pretty much the same way. The size of the drawer box determines its capacity. The weight rating on the slides determines how heavy a load it can take. But no matter what type of drawer you have, they all slide out to open and back in to close. Most have some sort of stop that prevents them from coming all the way out when open. Knowing how to disable/adjust this stop is key to being able to remove the drawer for maintenance.

A drawer slide is the gliding mechanism that allows a drawer to open and close smoothly. Different types of drawer slides/glides are available. The type used in your closet will determine how you remove your closet drawer. However, chances are you either have undermount slides or side mount drawer slides. These are most common in the United States. Each uses a simple catch on the side or bottom of the drawer that allows it to be completely removed from its track. You just need to know where to find it.

How to Remove Drawer with Undermount Slides

How to remove a drawer with undermount slides.
Remove a drawer that uses undermount slides by pressing on the lever underneath each side of the drawer. This will release the catch and allow you to pull the drawer all the way out.

To remove a drawer that uses undermount or "bottom slides," first open the drawer as far as you can. Reach under the box and depress the Release Lever in the front right and left sides. It doesn't matter whether the drawer is soft close or not. The soft closing feature is controlled by the mechanics of slide. Removing the box will have no effect. Simply release the catch on the underside of the drawer box. Then drawer can be lifted out of the system. Clear out anything that has fallen behind the drawer and then reattach it to the slides by lining it up and pressing the release catch again so that you can slip it back in.

If the front of the drawer seems a bit crooked, that can also be adjusted. All drawers are adjustable up and down by moving the adjustment knob in the corner of the drawer clips (see picture below). Use this knob to fine tune the space between the drawer fronts.

Location of release lever and adjustment knob for an undermount drawer.
Location of release lever and adjustment knob for an undermount drawer.

How to Remove Drawer with Side Mount Slides

How to remove a drawer with side mount slides.
Remove a drawer that uses side mount slides by pressing on the lever along the rail mounted to each side of the drawer. For older Closet Works drawers that use a side mount drawer glide system, push the lever on one side up and the other side down. This will release the catch and allow you to pull the drawer all the way out.

To remove a side mount drawer from your closet, the first thing you must do is locate the release levers that are attached to the center of the rail track mounted to the sides of your drawer box. Pull the drawer out as far as it will go and look for this lever on each side. Various brands of side mount drawer slides will have slightly different release mechanisms on their rail. However, all involve pushing/pressing on a lever that is located in the center of the rail track that is mounted to the drawer. For some, you simply press inwards towards the side of the drawer. But most, including older models of Closet Works drawers (pre-2015), will involve pushing a lever on one side up while simultaneously pushing the lever the other side of the drawer down. Give the drawer a little tug after moving these levers and it should come out.

Put the drawer back in after clearing out any fallen items or performing maintenance. First push the slides all the way in. Then line up the track with the sides. There will be a little in the track that you need to line up with the side in order to push it back in. When you push the drawer back in, you should hear a little click as the release lever catches. Test your drawer by opening it to make sure the glides are secured properly.

Location of release lever for a side mount drawer.
Location of release lever for a side mount drawer. Legacy Closet Works drawers (pre-2015) are mainly side mount. There will be a lever like the one shown on either side of the drawer. Push the lever up on one side and down on the other to release the drawer. Undermount, soft close drawers became standard at Closet Works after 2015. However, it is important to look and identify which type of drawer you have. Both drawer types have been and are currently used dependent upon project needs.

Use these tips to perform simple maintenance on your closet drawers!

It's best not to overstuff your drawers in the first place. But things happen and, at some point, almost everyone does. This can lead to drawers jamming up and things falling behind the drawer where you can't reach it. If this happens to you, use these tips to try and release the drawer yourself. Drawer removal is a very simple maintenance procedure you can learn to do on your own. Try it. It's easy to master. Plus, you'll save time as well as a bunch of money on service calls.

If you are able to use these tips for your closet drawer, we'd love to hear about it. Please use the comments field below and let us know how it went.