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How to Pick a Drawer Lock

Updated November 21, 2016

Picking desk drawer locks is often necessary when the key is long gone. It can be particularly frustrating if you need time sensitive documents from the drawers. To prevent future lock outs, make a copy of your desk keys and keep them in two separate locations in the home. According to Reader's Digest, thefts almost always look in sock drawers yet rarely enter children's rooms. Therefore, storing the extra key in a kid's room is a good idea.

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  1. Straighten two paper clips. If you paper clip has a plastic coating, peel away the coating with your fingers so that there is only the metal part of the paper clip. One of the paper clips will go in the lock and the other will aid the other one by pressing on the tension wrench in the desk.

  2. Shine a flashlight into the lock to look for the side that has the pins. If you can't feel them, push the paper clip inside the lock. Rake the sides of the lock with the paper clip to find the pins. Hold the pins with one paper clip.

  3. Insert the other paper clip, so that it is parallel with the other paper clip. This paper clip will sustain pressure on the lock cylinder. Apply pressure to the paper clip and move the paper clip upward against the pins.

  4. Turn the pins in the lock with the paper clip until the lock opens. The parallel paper clip applying pressure against the lock cylinder will begin to move and you should allow the paper clip to move with the internal mechanics. Open the drawer and leave it slightly ajar until you find the key.

  5. Tip

    Use a screwdriver to apply pressure to the lock cylinder if the paper clip is not strong enough.


    Refrain from breaking the law when using these methods of picking a lock. The above methods are intended for those who rightfully open the material in the drawers or desk.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 Paperclips
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver

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