Ikea furniture assembly…
During pre-marital counseling, priests, therapists, ministers and the like should present couples with an Ikea furniture assembly challenge. If a couple can assemble a Pax wardrobe and remain friendly with one another after the experience, then they are well-suited for marriage.
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Then again, that may be a little too harsh. After all, if that were truly the test of being sufficiently primed and prepared for matrimony, 97% of real humans would fail the challenge and end up old maids and bachelors living in a home without any Pax wardrobes, Billy bookcases or Poang chairs.
And that would be just plain sad. Why? Well, Poang chairs are super comfortable.
So listen up newlywed rookies. Your assignment this weekend is to go buy a piece of Ikea furniture and put it together.
I don’t care what strategy you use…back rubs, bribes, anything goes. But somehow, you must put it together without googling “divorce attorney near me”. Once you can do that, then you’re ready for this post.
This is a 200 level class. For the few and the proud who have mastered Ikea furniture assembly straight from the store, today’s challenge is:
how to disassemble, move, then re-assemble Ikea furniture without losing your mind.
What makes us qualified to take on this marital counseling tutorial, of sorts? Our family has moved five times in the last ten years. And during each move, we’ve had to disassemble, pack, move and re-assemble our Ikea furniture.
Beyond that, we’re ridiculously thrifty, so we’ve purchased a lot of Ikea furniture secondhand from Craigslist and Facebook yard sales. If you’ve never gone that route, we highly recommend it and wrote this post about the ins and outs of using Facebook yard sales and Craigslist to score furniture on the cheap.
Between the moves and the Craigslist Ikea purchases, we’ve had to go through this process of taking Ikea furniture apart, then putting it back together again many times. We hope that by sharing this info, we may save you and your significant other from at least one Ikea-related marital spat. I know it’s likely a pipe dream, but let’s give it a go.
tools of the Ikea furniture assembly and disassembly trade:
- painter’s tape
- sharpie (or several…those things walk away a lot)
- ziploc bags (multiple sizes: sandwich, quart, gallon)
- smartphone or camera
- power screwdriver (ideally, in addition to regular flat and phillips head bits, bring one with some hex heads/allen bits)
- allen wrench set
- small pry bar
- blankets (for padding while moving)
Tip #1: Download the instructions.
Whether you are disassembling your own Ikea pieces to prepare for a move, or heading out to pick up an Ikea item you’re purchasing secondhand, download and print the Ikea instructions first.
Ikea has a page where you are able to find any instructions you need. Below is the link:
Although we detest those little wordless figure drawings/worst game of charades ever, they can come in handy when disassembling your Ikea furniture.
These instructions are handy MOSTLY because they include an itemized list of the pieces required to build the furniture. Keeping this handy as you take the furniture apart will help ensure that you have accounted for every last screw and dowel needed to put Humpty back together again.
Tip #2: Screenshot and save the original post/ad for used Ikea furniture.
If you’re purchasing an item from an online yard sale or via Craigslist, it’s a good idea to save a screenshot of the original ad. Once an item is purchased, those original images and any information the sellers have included in the ad will likely be removed from the web.
A snapshot may come in handy later on if you want to recall details about the item.
You can see above in this post I’ve included two of my own snapshots from secondhand Pax wardrobe purchases we made this spring via Craigslist. We were working on a master bedroom closet renovation, and wanted to use the Ikea Pax system. If we would have purchased the units new, it would have cost over 6k. By purchasing secondhand, we were able to score everything we needed for $1600.
Tip #3: Take pictures before you begin disassembling.
This is a crucial step. Before you get all crazed with that Allen wrench and power screwdriver,
take a minute or two to snap pictures of the fully assembled item. Here are some snaps we took of our Pax units prior to the dismantling.
You’ll want both interior AND exterior shots, as appropriate.
Pay special attention, and take detailed shots of the way pieces are attached to one another.
Things like hinges, corners, and wherever pieces, sides or parts join together are especially important to capture.
Make sure you snap pics of the furniture from ALL sides and angles.
Tip #4: Label EVERYTHING.
I know you’re ready to bust out that screwdriver, but you’ve got to wait a bit longer. Label everything first. We find that painter’s tape and sharpies work great for this task. The tape typically won’t damage the furniture, but it will stay put and you can write on it.
Come up with a designation system for your item(s). For our Pax wardrobes, we named the units A, B, C and so on. Then we gave each shelf a number…A1, etc.
While labeling, try to include terms like:
- this end up, this end down
- left side/right side
The more explicit you can be, the better. Err on the side of including too much info rather than too little. It will save you a LOT of time during the re-assembly phase if you know which pieces belong where.
Tip #5: Grab your tools, and your Ziploc bag.
With everything labeled, you can finally start taking the furniture apart. Grab a Ziploc, and label it. For our Pax units, we had one bag per wardrobe, so our Ziploc bags were labeled A, B, C etc.
Every screw you remove, dowel you take out, little white plastic screw head covers, etc should go immediately into the bag once it’s removed.
You’ll likely use several tools during disassembly. One of which is a power screwdriver. Make sure you have some hex head bits with it so you don’t have to fiddle with the little hand Allen wrenches, if you can avoid it.
A small pry bar comes in handy for bookcase units or anything that has the thin cardboard-esque/particleboard backing. These are held on the furniture with small finishing nails, so a pry bar works well for removing the nails without damaging the backer board…if you’re careful ?.
And now for the packing, and reassembly!
With the furniture disassembled and packed safely (using lots of blankets) in your car, moving van, or in our case, minivan…
All that’s left is to take the furniture home and re-assemble it. The hardest part of the task, believe it or not is behind you at this point.
As you re-assemble, refer back to your images and the downloaded Ikea instruction manual as needed.
As per usual with Ikea furniture assembly, it will still take a while to put your furniture together.
BUT, being organized up front during the disassembly phase will undoubtedly make things MUCH easier on this side of the move.
And now, for the important question: were you able to make it through this process without googling for that divorce attorney? If so, CONGRATULATIONS, you’ve passed “Ikea disassembly and re-assembly 201.”
You and your significant should now go and have a date night or do something fun and a little less taxing. If you’re on speaking terms, that is ? ?.
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