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I'm a new resident in the Bay Area, and with small children in the house, I'm looking at our furniture with some unease.

What's the best and easiest way to secure and fasten tall bookshelves in case of natural disasters or baby-related mischief, in order to prevent tipping?

We rent, so we'd prefer non-screw based fasteners, but safety is first and most important. And are these 3M™ Dual Lock™ fasteners strong enough anyway to do the job?

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I hear FEMA is considering classifying babies as a natural disaster. –  Doresoom Nov 16 '11 at 17:22
    
I think in a city where earthquakes are normal, screwing into studs is probably an accepted practice. And kids running around (re: Doresoom) are reason enough to bolt down any furniture. –  Hemm Nov 17 '11 at 19:47
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

The velcro type product you posted looks like it has adhesive on both sides. The velcro itself would probably be plenty strong if the straps are large enough, but I suspect that adhesive on the wall would not work out well. It could fail too easily by simply ripping the top layer of paint off. Or, when you do want to move you are going to rip a big chunk of paint (or more) off the wall when you try and remove it.

A screw into a stud is going to provide the most secure hold. I usually use 2 1/2" #8 screws for this purpose. You can either get metal brackets or the purpose-made earthquake straps at the hardware store. If the bookcase is made of particleboard and/or it's heavy, then I would consider two brackets/straps to hold it since the connection into the top of the bookcase will be much weaker than the connection into the wall.

A few holes from #8 screws will leave holes considered "normal wear and tear" in California. If you (or your landlord) are really particular, it will be easy to patch when you are moving out.

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Thanks! Any difference between the brackets and furniture straps I should know about? –  bshor Nov 16 '11 at 18:34
    
I usually use corner brace brackets because they are cheap and available in a variety of sizes. You can also paint them if they're visible so it just blends into the wall. The straps would be easier to use if you want to hide it behind the cabinet- you first attach the strap to the stud, then move the cabinet into place and attach to the top. –  JayL Nov 17 '11 at 3:00
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