Should You Disassemble IKEA Furniture Before You Move?

Your place is furnished in IKEA chic, and now you’re planning a move. Don’t worry. If you follow the proper steps your furniture should survive the trip to your new home.

IKEA furniture is both easier and harder to move than other furniture, said Adam Rondeau, marketing manager for College Muscle Movers, a moving company in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

“On one hand, it’s very light and not typically bulky, but at the same time it’s less sturdy,” he said.

If you’re careful, moving IKEA stuff once or twice can be a snap. For example, digital marketer Simon Thalman and his wife moved from one apartment to another and then to a house in Kalamazoo, MI, with their LACK side tables, LACK coffee table, KLIPPAN loveseat and IKEA floor lamp.

All of the items held up fine.

“They survived at least a year and a half and two moves,” Thalman said.

If you’re planning a move that involves IKEA furniture, follow these four tips to avoid hassles and make sure your pieces make it to your new place:

Woman Putting Together Self Assembly Furniture In New Home

1. Break it Down.

Disassemble large IKEA furniture pieces if you have the time, and especially if you have narrow hallways or tight corners, Rondeau said.

“The components that hold most DIY furniture together don’t handle twists or torque very well,” he said. “Rather than having the item fall apart while moving it, spend the time to take it apart to avoid damage to your furniture or space.”

One exception to the rule: keep smaller pieces like MALM drawers in one piece. When Thalman and his wife moved, they easily disassembled side tables and a coffee table.

“They might have been a little more wobbly or less tight when reassembled, but it wasn’t noticeable enough to be an issue,” he said.

2. Look Up Instructions Online.

If you regret throwing away the instruction booklet with the weird little pictures, don’t worry. IKEA offers assembly instructions online. Consult instructions before disassembling any complicated pieces, said Derek Roach, who moved from San Diego, CA to San Antonio, TX for a business opportunity. He had an IKEA MICKE desk that needed to be taken apart in a specific order, which was frustrating at first.

“For example, as I was taking off the back siding piece on the desk, it was locked in place with a screw that connected to the sliding drawer fixtures,” he said. A glance at the instructions solved the problem.

IKEA furniture assembling with instructions and tools.

3. Prepare For Reassembly.

As you’re taking pieces apart, use tape and a marker to label the large pieces. Put screws, bolts and other tiny hardware in ziplock bags that you label with the name of the piece of furniture, Roach recommends. Taking a few minutes to do these quick, easy tasks will to make it easier to reassemble your furniture in your new home.

Always take pictures for reference when you are taking the furniture apart. This will make it easier for you to put it back together again.

4. Be Careful During Transport.

IKEA furniture is made inexpensively, and your favorite IKEA piece may be more delicate than a sturdy heirloom built to stand the test of time. So be gentle as you disassemble and carry items, Rondeau said. And use blankets to protect your furniture in the truck. There is additional risk to moving furniture that is made from particle board and/or assembled at home, so movers might not take responsibility for damage to this type of piece if it is not disassembled before the move, Rondeau said.

In most cases, being taken apart once shouldn’t harm the piece. “I was able to successfully disassemble and move the IKEA desk and bed frame over a thousand miles and reassemble with the same functionality,” Roach said. “No hiccups.”

If you move frequently, though, keep in mind that it’s unlikely certain IKEA furniture will survive more than one or two moves, Rondeau said.

“Even taking a piece apart and putting it back together multiple times will start to cause the item to lose its integrity,” he said.

On the bright side: If an IKEA piece does snap into a thousand pieces, it won’t cost that much to replace. You might weigh the cost of transporting IKEA furniture in the first place versus just replacing at your new destination.

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