Just moved? Double-check the screws on self-assembled furniture

Gretchen offers extremely important advice for families who've just relocated:


We've finally dug out from the mountain of boxes from our move, and have found that the screws on a lot of our furniture managed to back themselves loose during the six-hour drive from our old house to our new house.  So we go to open a drawer, and the handle falls off in our hand.  I try to put up one of those cabinets with a towel bar underneath, and the locking cam falls out and the piece literally disintegrates in my hands (an incident that provoked much language unsuitable for toddler ears).  This is not stuff that bounced around in the back of Uncle Earl's van – it was professionally packed, loaded, unloaded, and unpacked.

As someone who only tightens up her Ikea furniture (and other build-it-yourself stuff) when it is noticeably wobbly, this could have been a huge problem if, say, the kid's bed had wiggled itself apart, or her bookshelf died in the middle of the night with 400 pounds of board books on it. 

Since we've noticed the problem, I've been the good little parent and double-checked all of her furniture, and I'm working my way through ours.  But if it hadn't been for the cabinet disintegrating, I wouldn't have bothered. So I really recommend that parents double check all of their self-assembled furniture after a move, just to make sure it's still sturdy.  Because it would be really embarrassing to have to call your mother-in-law with the news that your child was crushed beneath a mountain of Sandra Boynton books, just because you forgot to tighten a few screws.


  1. Karen Porter says

    Check the screws on chairs too. We had a dining room table chair once that collapsed when someone sat in it because the screws had worked loose. Now we tighten them periodically.

  2. Marykz says

    don’t forget to re-fasten all heavy bookcases, bureaus, tall dressers etc to the wall so kids don’t pull them over on themselves. We have a climber, so that was one of the first things we did after the furniture was placed in the new house.

    Also, check the drawer stops in the kitchen and bathroom drawers. the plastic drawer stops had broken on a low bathroom drawer, and the drawer fell out (of course) on little one’s foot when she yanked it. Owie!