How To Take Your Ikea Furniture Apart — Without Breaking It

One of the best things about Ikea furniture is the simplicity of putting the items together: You can pretty much figure it out on your own with a basic tool box and a product manual — and the occasional guidance from WikiHow articles or YouTube video tutorials, if you're really struggling. (Of course, this still results in the occasional Ikea fail.)
However, not much has been said about taking these home items apart. Moving to a new house is a stressful situation to begin with, and ruining your furniture in the process is possibly one of the worst things that can happen. The bulkier pieces are best transported when taken apart, and because of the way flatpack furniture is designed, there are a few things to keep in mind before reaching for your screwdriver. Read on for our dismantling tips to keep your favorite Ikea pieces intact before, during, and after the move.
Decide Whether It's Worth It
Before you hunker down with your toolbox, take an honest assessment of your furniture and decide whether it's worth the effort. You might be better off just moving the smaller items in their entirety — especially for pieces that are easy to carry in one go, like a nightstand — to save yourself some time and energy.
Label Everything In Detail
With so many moving parts involved, it's important to have an organized approach. Before you break everything down into pieces, take a roll of masking tape and label the individual parts, from right to left and top to bottom. Be sure to draw arrows to remind yourself which sides should be facing up.
Find Your Manual
It helps to keep your product Ikea manuals around, as you'll need to follow the assembly instructions and work your way back step by step to make sure everything is removed in a correct manner. There's no need to panic if you can't find the manual: Most guides can be found on the retailer's website.
Keep Your Screws Intact
To avoid frantic searches when you reassemble the item, make sure that all your screws and dowels are kept in a labeled ziplock bag after the removal, or tape them to the respective compartments they came with. Worse comes to worst, you'll be able to order extras of your missing spare parts from the website.
Use Generous Padding
Ikea pieces can easily get scuffled up in the process of moving. Put in extra padding in between the individual panels — old newspapers, towels, or dust sheets would work — to protect the delicate surface. For items like tables and shelves, an easy trick to cover up any damage is to flip over the panel when you re-build the piece, so that the scratches won't be immediately visible.
Don't Over-tighten The Screws
When it's time to put everything back in one piece, it's important to not overdo it with your screwdriver: It will only create an opposite effect. Ikea's chipboard material can wear down easily with excess force, giving the re-installed screw nothing to grip onto.
Related Video:

More from Home

R29 Original Series