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How do I disassemble flatpack furniture?

Flatpack shelving
Click to enlarge

Is it possible to take flatpack furniture apart for storage?

When you need to transport or store furniture like beds and tables you can often make better use of the space available by disassembling. Furniture panels may also be easier to manoeuvre down stairs than the entire piece. When it comes to storage, disassembled furniture takes up less space, allowing you to opt for a smaller, cheaper unit.

Note that shelving units and drawers could be used within your storage unit to make better use of the available space. But you still might want to take them apart to make it easier to move them.

With care, disassembling flatpack furniture is doable without damaging the item.

Before you start taking your furniture apart…

Your camera phone is definitely your friend when you take down flatpack furniture. Take some snaps before you begin so you can clearly see how everything should look. It’s also worth marking the different parts. Do this in a place that won’t be visible, or use a piece of masking tape and write on that.

Find the manual – you might have kept this from when you bought the item. Some manufacturers make manuals available for download, too.

Look out the tools you need – allen or hex keys, screwdrivers and possibly a wooden mallet. Get some Ziplock bags ready to put your screws and fixings in.

Have some padding ready to wrap the panels in. This will protect them from scuffs and bumps during moving and storage. Old towels or bed linen are great for this.

For larger, heavier pieces of furniture, we recommend you ask for help from a friend.

If you damage your flatpack furniture during disassembly…

It is very easy to damage furniture while moving it, even if you take every precaution. It may be possible to hide it by flipping the panel or by touching up the place with repair putty and paint. We’ve got a blogpost about simple repairs to give you some ideas for you. If the damage is not disguisable, think about whether you even want to store the piece. Remember that it may still be useful for a garage or a shed if it is not fit for your living space. Slightly damaged furniture is hard to sell and many furniture donation charities cannot take it; but it may go quickly on local giveaway sites like Freegle because people want it for upcycling.

Get ready to reassemble your furniture

Finally, make sure that all the screws and fixings are stored safely with your furniture. The last thing you want when you are ready to reassemble is to find half the screws missing.

Long-term tips for successful flatpack furniture disassembly

It is definitely helpful to keep hold of the instructions for your flatpack furniture. Many manufacturers have downloadable instructions on their website, but consider stashing your own copy so you can find it quickly when you need it. Opt for brands that are committed to repairable furniture built to be assembled and disassembled multiple times.

Storing your flatpack furniture

Avoid stacking heavy objects on top of flatpack furniture panels as this could warp them out of shape. Take care when leaning them against the wall of your storage unit: a falling MDF panel could cause serious injury. Don’t forget to update your inventory, and if the value of your stored goods has gone up, it’s time to let your self-storage insurer know. If you do need a bigger unit, now might be a good time to review your self-storage insurance. It doesn’t take long to get a few quotes to check that you are still getting good value for money – get one from Store and Insure to start you off!

So there you have it – everything you need to know about storing flatpack furniture.