How to Pick a Drawer Lock

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 Paperclips

  • Flashlight

  • Screwdriver


Use a screwdriver to apply pressure to the lock cylinder if the paperclip 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.

Have a new desk key made at a local hardware store.

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.

Step 1

Straighten two paperclips. 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 paperclip. One of the paperclips will go in the lock and the other will aid the other one by pressing on the tension wrench in the desk.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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


Faith McGee

Faith McGee has eight years experience conceptualizing and producing print and web content for a myriad of real estate conglomerates. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from California College of the Arts. McGee has developed persuasive copy that has received many accolades from real estate companies and publications.