How to Fix Sagging Shelves

Shelves are used to create extra storage space on blank walls, allowing us to keep books, knickknacks, gimcracks, gewgaws, trophies and treasures in a way that's organized and appealing.

Shelves are often used to display valuables.Shelves are often used to display valuables.
Over time, shelves begin to droop. This creates an eyesore, and the fear of the shelving breaking or falling becomes very real. A broken shelf can result in the loss of valuables or even personal damage. Shore up your shelves to prevent such an occurrence.

Measure the length of the shelf. For every 16 inches, one additional shelf bracket is needed. Take note of the type of bracket currently being used, and purchase the appropriate number of brackets and related screws at a hardware store. Typically, two or three screws per bracket will be needed.

Remove everything from the shelf. Place the items in a safe spot.

Make a small mark on the bottom of the shelf where each bracket will go, using the number of brackets needed per shelf as a guide. If only one bracket is necessary, divide the length of the shelf by two and make a mark there. If two brackets are necessary, divide by three. If three, divide by four, and so on.

Position a bracket centered on a mark. Place the level on the shelf and push the shelf upward with the bracket until the shelf is level. Mark the point where the screw holes in the bracket touch the wall. Put the bracket to the side.

Examine the wall anchors and select a drill bit slightly smaller than the radius of the anchors. Remove the shelf. Drill holes where the pencil marks on the wall were placed.

Force the anchors into the holes, using the hammer. Tap lightly so as not to damage the wall. Replace the shelf.

Hold the bracket firmly against the wall. Line the anchors in the wall up with the holes in the bracket. Screw the screws into the anchors until the screw heads are flush with the bracket. Replace the items on the shelf.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Shelf-support brackets
  • Small level
  • Hand drill
  • Hammer
  • Plastic wall anchors
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws


  • If the shelf continues to sag, the problem may be that the shelving itself is getting worn out. Measure the length of the shelving and go to the local lumber yard to replace it.