A room is only homey once you add just the right furniture into it. A simple space can become functional and aesthetically pleasing by adding a sleek bookshelf or a handy side table. Whatever you choose, Ikea furniture is usually an affordable choice when picking pieces for your home; the only catch is that you usually have to assemble the furniture yourself.
This shouldn’t be a problem, even for the most beginner of DIYers, as this furniture comes with handy instructions and all the screws and parts you will need for assembly. But what about when there are a few pieces left over at the end. Where these extras, or have things gone horribly wrong?
There are 4 likely reasons for extra parts after assembling IKEA furniture. Some extra screws or dowels may be deliberately provided as spares. Multiple-orientation items can have extras for the different setups. Extras may reflect packaging errors. A misstep in the assembly may result in left over pieces.
4 Possible Reasons for Extra Pieces
Unfortunately, this question does not have a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Many people have confirmed that there are, in fact, spare parts that come with their furniture, whereas others have never experienced this happening. Even current and ex-employees of the store all have opposing answers on this topic.
It is unlikely that only specific IKEA branches tend to pack spare parts, but the extra parts may be traceable to specific factories if anyone took the time to do so. Nevertheless, I have outlined a few possible reasons why your flat-pack might have come with spare pieces.
1. Deliberate Spares Provided
In a lot of cases, you might find a few spares of the smaller pieces of your self-assembly project or more of the most used pieces.
For instance, you ordered a desk and during the assembly of it, you notice there are more screws than there are pre-cut holes in the wood. This is to allow the individual to have a couple of spare parts in case one of them goes missing or even breaks.
This is really handy as it isn’t uncommon for a screw or two to go missing or a dowel to snap in half while you are hammering it in. It is always good to have a backup, but I would suggest assembling your furniture in an open, clean space and placing all smaller components in a small tub so that they do not roll away or become the dog’s latest chew toy.
On the other hand, the manufacturers will probably not give you spares for every single component of the project. When assembling a desk chair, you might only need one of a particular-sized screw to attach the wheel half of the chair to the seated half. It is highly unlikely that you will get a spare of this screw, and more likely of you to get a spare wheel for your chair.
2. Multiple Orientation Furniture
Another instance where you might find spare parts in your box is when these parts are required to allow the furniture to orientate in a variety of ways.
For example, if you buy a sectional couch, then your purchase may come with an additional foot or two for when the seats are separated to make individual sofas.
In this case, the manufacturer has to give you extra parts in order for the furniture to fulfill its function, but not all pieces will be used in any simple orientation.
Like in the example above, if you separate the seats that were joined by hooking them onto each other in order to support the middle piece, separating them might cause the ends of each seat to drop at a slant. An additional foot or two will sort out this problem by elevating each side and making them sturdy on their own.
Multiple orientation furniture is a huge style revolution as it allows the individual to fully customize their space according to their needs. Two smaller couches might be more appropriate for a smaller room where the couches cannot sit side-by-side, but in a larger room one long sectional is more appropriate.
3. Packaging Error
Sometimes you might get an extra screw or two not because the manufacturer wants to provide you with a backup or to allow you to adjust your piece of furniture, but it may just be a simple mistake.
Since a large number of Ikea furniture requires a variety of small parts, it would create a lot of tedious and time-consuming work for an employee to manually count each individual piece. Instead, such small pieces are actually usually weighed instead of counted individually to get the correct number.
This means that the chances of a few extras getting tossed in the mix are high. It would be more time-consuming than it is worth to sit and remove one or two tiny pieces from a bag to match the perfect weight, so it is easier to just leave the extra couple of pieces in.
If the pieces are hand-counted, there is also a chance for human error to occur. I can only imagine how your brain can become mush once you have counted out exactly 10 screws for the 100th time. I don’t blame the employee who puts 11 screws instead of 10 into the pack at all.
4. Missed Steps
You might also be left with extra pieces when you really shouldn’t be—you could be missing a step or two that might have required the insertion of a screw or dowel here or there. Unfortunately, this is a possibility and is more common than you might think.
Sometimes you can get away with leaving out a screw or two, but this could also be to your detriment. If you are left with any larger parts or pieces, then you might need to look carefully at the instructions and see if you can spot any missed steps. The last thing you want is to fall right off of your swivel chair as soon as you put any weight on it.
If you notice an extra dowel and a couple of screws, then it’s probably fine not to undo your entire project to add these in. These pieces are unlikely to be entirely vital for the structural integrity of the furniture, and missing them won’t cause your side table to buckle and implode once you put your cup of coffee down.
To avoid any of this from occurring, make sure you read the instructions a few times before beginning your assembly. I like to lay out the specific pieces I will need for each step in a sequence in front of me so that I know exactly how many screws I will need for each part of the process.
What to Do With Spare Parts
So, now you have got a handful of spare parts and you’re not quite sure what to do with them. Instead of just throwing them in the trash, here are a couple of ideas that will be more beneficial than the parts ending up in a landfill.
- Keep them for a while. It won’t hurt you to keep the spare wheel, screw, or dowel in a zip lock bag in your junk drawer for a couple of months. You might find your chair starts to squeak when you swivel and this could possibly be fixed with the addition of one or two screws. Additionally, if you want to take advantage of IKEAs rather generous return policy, these parts will help ensure your piece is accepted as a return even if you have thrown away the original packaging. If more than 6 months goes by without any use for the spare parts, then you can get rid of them.
- Another way to reduce waste and recycle would be to call your local IKEA and ask if they would like the spare pieces for other customers looking for spares.
- A great way to use these spare parts would be to save them for crafts or other DIY projects. You will thank yourself for having an extra nail or two when hanging a picture that just won’t stay straight on the wall.
- You could donate them to organizations that provide activities and learning for children. These places are usually underfunded and would definitely appreciate any donations.