Editor Update: Since writing this tutorial, IKEA has recalled its MALM chests and dressers, among other products. I returned my set for nearly $300 – and they even came to pick them up, because I live several hours from the nearest store. If you need to learn more about the recall and your options, here’s a direct link to the info you need on IKEA.com.
We IKEA-lovers encounter problems like this from time to time. Those wonderfully designed (and affordable) materials just aren’t intended to outlast us, but with a little regular TLC we can damn well try.
My biggest issue has always been with the drawers, particularly with the dresser units they sell. Put too much of something (socks), or anything too heavy in them (dense wool sweaters), and over time the bottom board warps just enough to slip out of it’s groove. And if you’re like me, that sag ends up catching on the clothing in the drawer beneath it and dragging the clothing around.
Oh, the little things that pain me.
Quick fix (that I’ve done many-a-time over the years [decades]): Glue it. Not Elmer’s elementary-style, but spend $5 and invest in some radically strong glue. Gorilla glue is always good (if you can keep the expansion qualities under control), and basic wood glue works in some cases, but usually not when it gets as severe as what you see above.
I prefer my E-6000. I’ve used tubes (yes, multiple) of this all around the house; quick fix for everything from fabric to shoes that shouldn’t have broken to IKEA drawers. You can find it at most crafty stores (the JoAnn’s, Michael’s of the world) and you can also score a nice 40%-50% discount if you wait for the regularly distributed store coupon. Application is a cinch, mostly because the effected drawers already have the perfect glue-holding groove in them.
Once applied, I reposition the shelf into the groove, make sure it’s good and locked into place, and then unload most of my bookshelf on to it to put pressure on the connection until it dries (and I usually wait 12-24 hours because I want to be 100% sure it worked).
And I’ve never had to do it twice to the same drawer, despite how many socks I try and cram into that once broken drawer.
(P.S. This particular drawer is part of the much-loved set that’s in my master bedroom. I unveiled that room here if you want to peek around. Take off your shoes, I don’t want dirt in my Pebble Rug.)
Friendly reminder: This particular dresser is from the MALM collection at IKEA. Many units are discontinued and on recall (so you may be able to return it to the store for a credit… even if broken). I owned two sets; one with 4 drawers, and one with 5 (where the top level is actually two smaller drawers). Based on their age (~10+ years) I received a reimbursement of $275.