My first project of my Fix-It-Up series is to fix the drawers in my kitchen. One runner had completely disappeared with no one admitting the deed, and the other rails were not staying in their tracks. This caused us over the months to push, pull and tug until one whole drawer front tore loose from the drawer itself. My hubby fixed that problem but the root of the problem remained-drawers that wouldn’t slide.
I purposefully picked a rather easy project for my first in the series for two reasons: one, to attempt to succeed in my first project (the vanity of it all), and two, because I had just finished putting away all my Christmas stuff the week before and I was tired!
My trip to Home Depot for a replacement drawer runner was successful only because of a very helpful gentleman who couldn’t help overhearing me and Geri talking to a nice, although clueless, Home Depot employee. This kindly bystander just happened to be a cabinet builder, lucky for us, and filled our heads with all kinds of advice and tips about drawer problems. I’ll share those with you as we go.
Here are the steps I took with explanations so you can master this task yourself.
First things first; empty the drawers. Here’s a picture of my totally disorganized mess. One drawer with Tupperware and such, the other with small kitchen appliances and tools.
- Take your good drawer: Or an example of what you need to the hardware store with you. This is invaluable. Don’t fool yourself thinking you’ll be able to pick out what you need from the overwhelming mass of merchandise. Believe me, it’ll all look the same after you get there.
- Clean the area first: After you pull out the drawers, clean the empty cabinet of old dust and filth. It’ll make working on your project easier.
Mount the hardware to the cabinet: This was pretty easy by following the directions that came with the railings and also following the example of the intact drawer.
- Drill pilot holes: It’s always better to drill small pilot holes before sinking your screw, especially into particle board. Particle board will split and crumble (it happened with this project to me even with a pilot hole. Nothing that a bit of wood glue couldn’t fix.)
Adjust the back bracket: The brackets that attach to the back of the cabinet were intact, but over the years had moved so that the drawer fell out of the rail when you pushed it in. Each back bracket has two holes for screws, one that slides and one that anchors the bracket.
- Unscrew and remove the anchor screw but leave the screw in the slide; loosen slightly.
- Slide both brackets as far towards the middle of the cabinet as possible. In other words, all the way to one end of the slide.
- Carefully put the drawer back in its railings, and slowly push the drawer all the way in.
- Remove drawer.
- Now the back railings are exactly where they need to be to hold the drawer since the drawer itself moved the back brackets to the exact location. Tighten the slider screw, and add a screw in the anchor slot after drilling a pilot hole. Most of the time, the back brackets are parallel to eachother.
Fix any problems with the drawer: My drawer (and this was the good one!) was beginning to separate (see photo). The bottom of my drawer was only held together with little staples, so I added some wood glue and hammered the staples back in place. I totally bent one staple trying to hammer it in, so I replaced it with a screw with a pilot hole drilled first.
- Clean the drawers and surrounding woodwork: Here’s your chance for a thorough cleaning. I like mild soap and water, followed by Liquid Gold.
- Replace the shelf liner: Mine was faded, dirty and torn…it should be, it was 15 years old! But being the pack rat that I am, I still had the original roll with plenty left to replace it. Ahhh, fresh and new.
- Organize: I proudly rid myself of at least 25-50% of the stuff. The rest, I placed neatly into storage containers and bins. While you’re at it, tidy up the other drawers too.
- Admire your work: It’s OK to be proud of yourself.