Does anyone have any bright ideas for how to open a drawer that has become jammed shut because it has been filled up too much? I've had a look at the underside and can get at the bottom of the drawers but unscrewing the rails etc. is not an option because I can't get at them. Currently my best plan is to try and remove or cut out the hard board base of the drawer which would then need to be replaced. Any better ideas much appreciated.

  • can you get the drawer open even a quarter inch? – allindal May 1 '11 at 0:16
  • I can get it in enough to get a bent wire coat hanger into the drawer. Unfortunately poking around with the hanger did nothing to help free the drawer. – Ian Turner May 1 '11 at 7:47
  • 2
    The question doesn't say if the drawer is in something freestanding or fixed to a wall, so FWIW: I've opened a jammed-full drawer in a nightstand by picking up the nightstand and shaking it so things settle further back in the drawer. – Niall C. May 1 '11 at 13:39
  • It's in a fixed kitchen unit so picking it up or moving it is not an option – Ian Turner May 1 '11 at 15:02

14 Answers 14


Try to slide something flat in that is the width of the drawer. I've used a plastic flexible cutting board for this purpose before. Slide it open that 1/4 inch, and try to get the flat sheet to ride over whatever is jamming the drawer--you may have to nearly close the drawer with the sheet in place to get it up and over.

Then try to pull open the drawer and sheet at the same time, or leaving the sheet in place--whichever works.


Remove the drawer beneath or above the stuck draw. If you can get beneath it, push up against the drawer bottom and rattle that thing around. If you can remove the drawer above the problematic one, well, your problem should be before your eyes.


In the end I had to stitch drill a hole in the base of the drawer until I could get my hand through the hole to move the items in the drawer. Having taken the drawer out it is obvious it is very badly designed and there is no other way of dealing with it.


I've just succeeded in opening an overfilled kitchen drawer! The drawer was almost completely closed and was so accurately fitted that a thin metal ruler wouldn't slide in. I tried a piece of card; also too thick. I then used a very thin filing cabinet 'hanger' after removing the metal pieces. This, to my amazement, slid in and was wide enough to go right across the contents of the drawer. I moved it from side to side and the drawer was able to be pulled out just a bit, and I could see what was blocking it: a metal potato masher. There was just enough room for me to get my hand inside the drawer and I removed, bit by bit, all the contents in front of the masher and eventually the offending object dropped down a bit and I was able to slide the drawer right out.

I have thinned out the contents of this drawer!

  • All hail Anoia, goddess of things that stick in drawers! – Fiasco Labs Jul 6 '14 at 4:29

If you can reach the underside of the drawer, I would remove the screws that hold the drawer to the rails. With a little bit of maneuvering you should be able to drop the drawer down a little and start to pull items out of the top.


Slide a metal tape measure into the drawer and keep feeding it into the drawer until you are able to catch a loop of it at the back of the drawer. Pull the loop through until you have the end of the tape then pull on both ends. This will mean that the tape will be at the top of the drawer and you can work it from side to side until it dislodges the item jamming the drawer.


Knitting needles worked for me! Drawer was able to be slightly opened and with aid of flashlight realized it was the handle of a large knife that was the culprit. We had tried all of the above suggestions without success. Pushed the handle down with the knitting needle and drawer slid right open!


There was no room to fit anything in the front so I took out the 2 drawers below and felt a space in the back of the drawer. Lying on my back, I took a large size padded envelope and threaded it into the narrow opening in the back pushing it best I could toward the front. It somehow freed the knife that had been jammed in the knife tray. It took 2 hours of trial and error to get it open.


My drawer would only open about 3 inches but then there was the lip of the cutlery tray to contend with. I tried a plastic flexible cutting board as suggested above, a wire coat hanger and a wooden ruler but they were all too short. In the end I got a long wood saw and managed to slide it in from the side where I knew the drawer was stuck. I swished it across backward and forward and "hey presto" it released the culprit which was a garlic press! No stitch drilling required either.


I had a drawer that was stuck and perhaps by the weight of the contents inside, it had become slightly derailed on the back side. Fortunately, I could view it from below, prop it up beneath (with a $5.00 plant stand, just the right height!), and pull it out enough to un-derail it. Seems to have fixed the problem. Hope this helps.


Try and insert a piece of wire from the side by pulling the drawer out very slightly. The drawer sides should be lower than the face, allowing you to slip something in without opening it much more than 1/8". Then wiggle the wire around and see if you can shift whatever is keeping the drawer from opening.


I used a big bbq fork. Since it was thin I was able to slide it in the minimal space at the top front of the drawer. I was able to maneuver it back and forth and use some force because it was sturdy. It finally freed the utensils and opened after about 10 seconds.


You should get a thin cutting board or disc. Slide it in then add a little pressure until it comes out


I just used the 1/4 inch space I had to fit my hand through to pull a few things out and then I was able to pull the drawer in a jiffy!

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