How to Retrieve Something Stuck Behind a Drawer {Without Tools}

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I recently discovered that my dresser drawers don’t come out. They’re bolted to the track. And there’s a slab of wood between each drawer. That makes it hard to fish out stuck behind a drawer. But I found a way.

Why Is it So Hard?

Manufacturers bolt drawers to their tracks to prevent them falling out and hurting someone. Which is a good thing. But it has a side effect you’re much more likely to encounter.

When something gets stuck behind the drawer, it won’t just fall into the next drawer, thanks to that slab of wood. Don’t ask me why they put the slab of wood in. I’m sure there’s probably a good design reason for it.

Open drawer in dresser

But when you can’t remove a drawer, and a slab of wood prevents stuck objects from falling into the next drawer to be retrieved, you’ve got a puzzle on your hands.

And even if you decide you don’t care about getting the object back, it will probably stop the drawer from closing. So that’s still a problem.

That was the case for me: I would rather have just lost the item than bother trying to get it back. But the drawer wouldn’t close properly anymore.

First Things to Try

Don’t assume your drawer won’t come out just because it stops when you pull on it. Some furniture has a better design than mine.

In some models, you can keep gently pulling the drawer after it stops and it will release and come out. Others have a catch on the side (but you may not be able to reach it).

If either of these options are true of your drawer, you’ll be able to pull it out. Then you can retrieve the item and put the drawer back where it belongs.

Neither of these options worked for me, though, so it looked like my only choice was to remove the wood panel on the back of the dresser, pull out the stuck item, and reattach the back panel.

But my dresser is heavy. Ridiculously heavy. I used to move furniture around all the time, rearranging my room for fun, but this thing? Just trying to push it away from the wall is a serious job.

Orange dresser with open drawer

How I Got to the Item Stuck Behind a Drawer

I tied a piece of ribbon (or string) to a stick (in hindsight, I think a spatula would have worked even better, though). Now, you’re basically only going to use the stick.

So why the ribbon? That’s for pulling the stick out if it too gets stuck behind the drawer. The whole time I was working, I kept the ribbon in one hand so I could pull the stick out if I lost hold of it.

With the other hand I put the stick in behind the drawer and fished around for the item. I was able to get the stick wedged under the item and pop it up over the back of the drawer so it landed in the drawer.

Then I had the item back, the drawer would close properly and all was well. Easy-peasy, really.

But what if the item had been something glad that I couldn’t maneuver the stick under? This is why next time I would use a spatula, just in case. Just a plain ol’ rubber spatula.

Spatula on surface

This was a quick, simple solution. If it doesn’t work, then you will have to take off the back panel, which usually just involves removing a few screws and putting them back in later.