Thursday, June 23, 2016

How to Fix Hanging and Wiggly Drawers in 3 Steps

Today's post will be a shorty but a goody. A few weeks ago I totally transformed a dresser from awful to awesome, and at first couldn't figure out how to fix the drawers and their wiggle and their droop. When a potential buyer came to look at the dresser/bookshelf they loved the look, but when they opened the drawers they were turned off from the sale. After she left I had an "aha" moment as to how to fix this problem. Let me show you how a few dollars can totally fix this aggravating drawer problem...

This is how the dresser looked when I got it:

This is how it looked when I finished it:

But this is how the drawers looked when I opened them:


However, see those simple little products there in the bottom of the picture? Those little drawer guides fixed this annoying issue, and they only cost a couple dollars at Home Depot. Each pack typically comes with 2 or more guides, so that you can fix two drawers for that cheap price.

(Note: I have two different packs pictured, because I bought two different sized guides to make sure I picked up the ones that would fit my drawer's tracks. I only ended up using the white guide pack).

Ignore my paint overspray on the sides of the drawers. Obviously my taping job wasn't up to par when facing my paint sprayer.
See how straight the drawers come out now after using the guides? No more wiggle and droop.

So here are the 3 steps to Sliding, Smooth, Straight & Sturdy Drawers

Step 1: Screw the drawer guide on the back of the drawer

The pencil marks allowed me to get the screws into the small space that didn't have the metal backing from the drawer's track. Figured that trick out after so many failed screwing attempts

Make sure you line up the drawer guide with the drawer slide (which was fortunately still on the drawers when I got this dresser. If you need these, Home Depot sells these for a few dollars as well). 

Also, when purchasing drawer guides you will see that the "T" shape is of varying heights and widths. The first pack I bought was too wide and so the drawer continued to droop when pulled open. If you get one that is too small either in height or width, the drawer will not even fit on it's track and thus won't even open or close. 

This guide keeps the drawer from hanging when opened, but not from wiggling, which brings us to step #2....

Step 2: Screw or Nail in the drawer Side Saddles

It's hard to see the little "side saddle", but it's in the left corner, right above the drawer. 

This is how they look in the pack you buy at the store:

The pack I bought had these little L-shaped guys, but I tried screwing mine in, instead of hammering them in with the provided nails. This was utterly stupid, since the screw then sticks up too high and prevents the drawer from sliding well. The included nails I hadn't noticed in the pack until I reused the saddles that the dresser still had, and then when I saw the nails I realized how the side saddles were supposed to be installed. 

You want these to be installed just a tad away from where the drawer's sides are, so it prevents the drawer from wiggling side to side. It took me a few attempts to get this right, because at first I put them too close together and thus the drawer wouldn't go in. 

Step 3: Slide the Drawer into place and check for Stability and Smooth Gliding

If it is still droopy when opened, make sure that the guide is the right size, and is installed directly behind the drawer's track. 

If it is still wiggly make sure each of your side saddles are close enough to the drawer's sides.

If it is still wiggly, make sure the drawer's track is firmly screwed and glued to the bottom and back of the drawer. (Some drawers' guides are side mounted, and if that is the case with yours only part of this post is helpful).

If you've done all of the above, and you still have an issue, make sure that the other portion of the drawer's track, that is attached to the dresser, (or other piece of furniture's) frame, is securely screwed in. Once you have checked all of these items, you will have smooth, sailing, strong drawers again.



So there ya have it. A simple, DIY tutorial that is not only cheap, but will fix a very common household problem.

Please share if you have any other tips or tricks that have solved common drawer problems because they are invaluable. Or if you have any questions I am here to help!


  1. The girls' dresser has had droopy drawers for years. I didn't know fixing it was even an option. Thanks!!

  2. Hi: I am having the same issue right now with a used tall boy dresser I just bought. I am not sure I understand how to do this. Can you help me further?


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