Filing Cabinets

Secure the tops of all top-heavy furniture, such as bookcases and file cabinets, to a wall. Be sure to anchor to the stud, and not just to the drywall. Commercially available flexible fasteners such as nylon straps allow tall objects to sway without falling over, reducing the strain on the studs. Loose shelving can also be secured by applying earthquake putty on each corner bracket.

Larger imageFile Cabinet with Clip Angle

Source: Noson, Perbix, SSD


#1 - Secure refrigerators and other major appliances to wall studs using earthquake appliance straps. Packages are available in large hardware stores.

#2 - Another option is to anchor the file cabinets with clip angles. Read the "How To" instructions below:

Supplies Required

  • Clip angles—2" x 2" x 3/16"
  • Lag bolts—1/4" diameter x 3" (for wood walls)
  • Expansion bolts—3/8" diameter x 2" (for concrete walls)
  • Top clips—2" x 3/32"
  • Sheet metal screws—No. 10
  • Leash Locks for drawers without latching locks
  • OR
  • Thumb Lock latches

Larger imageFile Cabinet with Top Clips

Source: Noson, Perbix, SSD


  1. Anchor file cabinets with four or more drawers to wall stud with clip angles.
  2. Use lag bolts for wood walls.
  3. OR
    Use expansion bolts for concrete walls.
  4. Connect adjacent cabinets with top clips and sheet metal screws. Use clips near the cabinet bases.


  • Fill file cabinets from the bottom up if it is not full.
  • Locate cabinets away from exits and hallways.
  • Do not place file cabinets so that the drawer opens toward the occupants of the room.
  • Keep cabinet drawers shut, locked, or secure with latches.
©2017 SCEC Southern California Earthquake Center @ USC