How to re-align filing cabinet drawers

Quite often when a filing cabinet becomes overloaded or is transported the drawers can become out of alignment. This can affect the working of the locking mechanism as there is a locking bar which runs down one side of the cabinet. This bar is connected to the back of the lock and goes up and down in-between cut outs on the side of the drawers. When the drawers are closed the key can be turned which moves the bar into the cut outs and blocks the drawers from opening.

The symptoms of this issue include not being able to lock or un-lock the cabinet as the bar can’t freely move. Before you try either of the problem solving tips below, please ensure your key is the correct code to match the cabinet and the key can insert into the lock.

If the cabinet is unlocked - remove all the drawers and re-test the key to see if the locking mechanism is working ok. If its work ok, place 1 drawer back at a time, testing the key each time. If you find a problem drawer you'll need to adjust accordingly so the bar can move freely.

If the cabinet is locked - In this case the locking bar may be sandwiched in-between the cut outs in the drawers and is creating too much friction for it to move with the key. With some help, 1 person needs to rattle the cabinet while the other person tries to turn the key. Essentially you're trying to wriggle the bar free from the drawers. Once open you can remove the drawers to find the issue.