Admit it, you’d love to ignore it. This cabinet. This monster, which seems to be immovably standing in the corner and grinning at you as you pack your first moving boxes. As if this huge closet would say: “Wait, you’ll have a lot of fun with me”. Maybe he’s right. Disassembling a cabinet is not the easiest part of moving. Still, no reason to put your head in the closet. With a few tips, a helper and a systematic approach, you’ll get it right.

Two people dismantle a cabinet

Analysis: Is it really necessary to dismantle the closet?

Before you plunge into the wild work of screwing everything around, take another look at the monster. Does it really have to be dismantled? Arm yourself with a measuring tape and note down the mass of the cabinet.

Then check the entire way from the apartment, through all the doors down to the parking lot where the furniture van will be standing. Fits? If so, fine. Because if it is possible to transport the closet in one piece, it should not be dismantled unnecessarily.

But don’t calculate too tightly when measuring the staircase. Not that it does not fit afterward and stress arises.

Important: Even if the cabinet is transported as a whole, you must remove all loose parts. Fix drawers with masking tape or plastic wrap so that nothing breaks. Also, don’t get the idea of filling the empty cupboard with household goods.

Of course, you also need the right tools to dismantle your closets. We have written an article on the subject of tooltips.

Systematic instead of creative: the correct dismantling of your cabinets

It is immediately clear to you: the cabinet will never fit through the stairwell. It’s a pity, but it’s not the end of the world. The basic rule when dismantling a closet is to consider the construction of the piece of furniture in the new apartment. All screws, cabinet walls and hinges should be in the right place again at the end. Well prepared is half disassembled – have the following things ready for disassembly:

  • Cardboard and masking tape
  • Spanners in several sizes
  • Allen wrench
  • Cordless screwdriver
  • Various small plastic bags, with zip fastener if desired
  • Coloured adhesive dots
  • Pliers and rubber hammer
  • A pencil and a pen, which is well visible on masking tape

Step 1: Marking

Before you start dismantling, you must mark. A colour is assigned to each cabinet and chest of drawers that you have to dismantle. Let’s assume that your big wardrobe gets the colour red. So stick a red glue dot on each piece. In the new apartment, you can quickly find all the right parts for the construction again.

After the glue dots have been distributed, the masking tape is used to label the individual parts. Good, cabinet doors can still be seen with the naked eye. But can you tell whether you are holding the ceiling plate or the floor in your hand afterward? Exactly. So, short inscription saves a lot of time in the end.

Step 2: Everything must go out

Now free the cabinet from all loose objects that are not screwed down: Shelves, clothes rails and so on and so forth. Are they all marked with a red dot?

It is best to place a piece of cardboard between the shelves and the liner base. This will ensure that nothing is scratched. Have the first plastic bag (covered with a red dot) ready. In this bag, you collect all the small parts, such as the shelf supports, screws and wooden dowels.

A good idea is to mark the position of the shelves in the cabinet with a pencil. Then you don’t have to keep thinking: “What was that like?

Step 3: Doors out

At the latest here you need a second person to help you disassemble. One holds the doors, the other screws them. Always loosen the cabinet doors first at the bottom and then at the top. By the way, you can save yourself the trouble of setting up the cabinet by unscrewing the hinges either only on the door or only on the cabinet.

Step 4: Start the disassembly

Now it’s time to disassemble. The easiest way is to carefully lay the cabinet down for disassembly. If possible, put it on a piece of carpeting so that there are no unwanted scratches. Otherwise, you run the risk of the half dismantled cabinet falling apart. It is clear that you need someone to help you to put the cabinet down.

Generally, dismantle the cabinets from top to bottom. The ceiling panel can often be removed as soon as you have removed a wall unit. On the back, the nails usually have to be removed carefully from the back wall with pliers.

If they are still in good condition, you can reuse them. Otherwise, it is advisable to obtain a replacement from a DIY store.

Also remove door handles, knobs and anything else that could cause damage during transportation. Sliding rails for drawers and hinges can usually be left on. For complicated constructions, pull out your smartphone and record the current state with a photo. The photo will certainly help you with the assembly. Assembly instructions are a good idea anyway – for many models you can even find them on the Internet.

Tip: If the room is too small to lay the cabinet down, you can also disassemble the cabinet standing up. The best way to start here is with the cabinet wall, which stands freely in the room. This is easier because you can then use the wall as a support for the last parts.

Step 5: Pack all parts securely

Not all parts must be packed separately. Rule of thumb: Anything that protrudes or could break off in any way or damage other things during bridling must either be unscrewed or packed. Bubble wrap is an excellent solution here.

Caution is of course required if your cabinet has a mirror door. The corners and edges, in particular, must be protected so that there are no cracks when the cabinet is placed during the loading process. You can also buy a special edge protector at a DIY store for this purpose.

Shelves and liner base can be fixed with masking tape so that they do not fly individually through the area. Think of the piece of cardboard between the shelves so that nothing gets scratched.

Step 6: Get on the transporter

Loading the moving goods is often like playing Tetris: Space is tightly calculated and you have to try to accommodate everything. However, you should clear a corner for your cabinet parts. If you have a high delivery van, it is best to tie the cabinet parts to one side.

Do they fit upright in the van? Super. Otherwise, you can also turn them and tie them down with a lashing strap. Fasten the lashing strap so that the parts do not swing back and forth while driving. Potential contact points with other furniture can be protected with wool blankets or towels.

It is a good idea not to distribute the cabinet parts all over the van, but to stow them as close together as possible. Then you don’t have to turn everything upside down during unloading until you’ve put everything back together again.

Step 7: Finally there, everything ready to be unpacked and assembled

Yay, it’s all done. Furniture van and helpers arrived safely. The packing starts again from the beginning. But assemble is always nicer than dismantling. When assembling the cabinets, proceed in the same way as for disassembly – only in the reverse order.

Here you have to decide whether you want to assemble the cabinet lying down or directly at the final place where it is to stand. If you have set up a heavy cabinet on the carpet, it can no longer be moved so easily. You should bear that in mind.

Choose a flat surface for the assembly, on which the base plate of the piece of furniture will first find its place. Build up the cabinet while lying down and protect the sides with a carpet or blanket to prevent scratches.

All parts found again?

Did you find all the individual parts thanks to the coloured adhesive dots? When the cabinet is back on its feet, put all your clothes away. The sooner they are removed from the cardboard box, the less ironing you will have to do afterward.