Moving any furniture can be a hassle, especially if it’s to a new home! IKEA brand furniture is notorious for its mixed reputation, and that can certainly lead one to wonder if it’s worth bringing their old IKEA along for the ride, even if it’s served you well.
Ultimately, there are quite a few potential problems with trying to move IKEA furniture, but it’s not an impossible task to manage, either. Let’s just take a look at the big points to consider when debating what to do.
IKEA furniture is not built to last for decades, and it is not built to withstand jostling and moving. It can be moved, but doing so may damage it, making it useless in the new home. Age, condition, journey distance, need for dismantling, etc., play a role in deciding if it is worth moving.
Problems With Moving IKEA Furniture
Low-Quality Materials and Assemblies
As you may or may not know, IKEA has a reputation for not being of great quality. While their pieces are great starter items that should last for anywhere from a few years to a decade or two, they aren’t generally built to last.
This is partly due to the actual materials used in making IKEA furniture (usually, they are made from particle board, not solid wood) and partly because their construction is not the most solid.
Their construction is designed to allow the furniture to be flat-packed, so it is easier and cheaper to transport between warehouses and homes. Unfortunately, flat-packing results in some loss of stability and durability.
All in all, this means IKEA products don’t usually tolerate being moved around and jostled too much. It reduces the lifespan of pieces that already lack a high level of durability.
Might Be Too Big to Move
Size is another issue that can pop up. Since IKEA furniture is assembled in the home—generally, in the room you knew you wanted it to be in—it may be too big to move back out afterward!
Between getting it back out of doorways, down staircases, around corners, or in and out of an elevator if you live in a communal building with one, there’s a lot of maneuvering that may need to be done to relocate your furniture.
Of course, that means a lot of potential movement and strain, which, as stated, IKEA furniture is not the best at withstanding.
Shouldn’t Dismantle Items to Move Them
It is technically possible for you to dismantle your IKEA furniture in order to move it around more easily. However, bear in mind that, again, IKEA furniture is generally made with lower-quality materials and construction methods.
This makes it extremely likely that dismantling and reassembling a piece will greatly weaken it. It may be less stable and may not even be functional anymore.
Of course, this is assuming you are even able to keep all its pieces safe and reassemble them correctly! All in all, it’s better not to take your IKEA furniture apart if it can be avoided.
Moving Near vs Moving Far
It’s not impossible to move your IKEA furniture. However, one big factor that will affect the likelihood of moving your furniture safely is distance.
The longer the distance between your new home and your old home, the more time your furniture will have to spend on the road. During transport, it may be knocked or slid around, and it may bump into or otherwise be crowded by other items.
These things can cause both structural damage, lessening your piece’s stability, and aesthetic damage if anything is dented or chipped.
Before moving your IKEA furniture, you may want to consider how attached you are to it and how much it is really worth to you.
How much IKEA furniture do you have? Would you have to spend more to move multiple or large pieces? If you choose to pay to move it and it is irreparably damaged, how much money are you losing? Is that worth the cost of potentially losing it all?
If you’re willing to take the risk of handling and moving your furniture for long distances, that is entirely up to you. However, remember that there are other options as well!
For example, you may choose to sell your furniture instead. Of course, you are unlikely to get full price for selling used IKEA furniture, but something is better than nothing!
Between potentially reduced moving expenses and the profit you gain from selling your pieces, you may even have enough money to purchase new furniture—at least a piece or two—once you’re at the new location.
Checklist for Moving IKEA Furniture
Ultimately, there’s no one answer for whether or not you should try to move your furniture. However, referring to this checklist of questions to consider for each piece can help you to assess what the best option is for you.
- How old is your furniture?
You can expect most IKEA furniture to last for 4 to 8 years. While some pieces are reported to have lasted for 20 to 30 years, it’s better to err on the side of caution if your piece is already anywhere from 3 to 10 years old.
- Is your furniture already damaged or unstable?
Age is just a predictor of life, but be sure to use your senses to assess your furniture, too! Is it beginning to chip or wear? Does it wobble when you put pressure on it? Trust what you can see and feel.
- How far are you moving?
Remember, the longer the travel distance, the harder the journey will be on your piece(s).
- How are you moving?
If hiring movers, you can have reasonable trust that your furniture will be alright. Yes, there’re some moving horror stories, but professionals are professionals for a reason.
- If you are moving your furniture yourself, are you comfortable with your packing skills?
Granted, moving your furniture yourself gives you more control over how safely you can pack your furniture. But do you realistically have the skills and the means to do so?
- Do you have the time to spare for potential disassembly and reassembly?
If you are planning to move furniture, you’ll have to disassemble it. Do you have the time to spend on all the deconstruction, sorting, and reassembly? Or are you in a rush to move?
- Do you plan to replace the piece soon anyways?
If you’ve been wanting and budgeting for a new coffee table, maybe trying to bring your old one isn’t worth the trouble.
Best Pieces to Move
Smaller, simpler items are generally easier to move than larger, more complex pieces.
A small, boxy nightstand is quite compact and has less potential for damage than a desk, for example.
Between its longer, thinner legs, the heavier weight, the increased number of pieces, and the higher potential for drawers or an unusual shape, a desk is far more likely to sustain damage.
Large pieces, like bedframes or bookshelves, may even require dismantling to move, and as covered, that could greatly damage their stability once reassembled.
Plus, you’re likely to need help moving large furniture. It is generally heavy and unwieldy, and if dropped will almost definitely sustain damage from their own weight and the force of impact.
No matter what you choose to do, just keep this in mind as a rule of thumb; the harder it is for you to move a specific piece around the home, the harder it will be to safely move it to a new home.
What About the Environment?
It’s true that IKEA furniture isn’t built to last, and it can be a hassle to move some pieces from place to place. It may feel easier to just toss them out, but that may not be the best move in the long run—not for the environment, anyways.
If you are willing to put effort into trying to safely move your furniture, sell it, or even give it away to someone who will use it, then you are helping to keep a large piece of waste out of the bin—possibly for many more years.
Furniture items are large, so naturally, they take up a lot of space in landfills, and even biodegradable furniture can take a long time to break down. (Wood can take 50-100 years to decompose!)
The affordability and convenience of IKEA furniture is undeniable; and sometimes people rely on those prices—I know; I’ve been there.
However, if sustainability is something you value, then keeping your furniture as long as possible or finding it a new and loving home until it truly needs to go is a great option for both your wallet and the planet.