Take Photos As You’re Disassembling Something

Take Photos As You’re Disassembling Something
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Anytime you move, you have the choice to either try and jam that piece of IKEA furniture through the door, or disassemble it into manageable parts. The latter choice is usually better, but it has its own challenges.

Reddit user u/SillyCyban offered a very simple piece of advice to anyone taking apart their belongings on r/LifeProTips:

Before starting a repair job that requires disassembling something, take a picture of everything first, so you know exactly how it’s supposed to go back together once it’s been taken apart. It may seem obvious at first, but once all the parts are everywhere, it can get confusing.

Yes, and I’d add that you should take photos of each step. We think we’ll remember which screws go where and how the back piece connects to the legs, but we won’t. It’s not enough to know how the whole thing should look. Get a picture of each piece as it comes off.

It turns out this advice works for other moments when human memory is unreliable, but perfection is necessary. For example, LighTMan913 writes:

Sort of the same thing:

In high school, I had a buddy with a mum that worked nights so we’d go to his house to drink. We wanted to play beer pong but the table was always covered with her work stuff. So, we’d take pictures from every possible angle so we could put it back in the exact same way. As far as I know, she never found out.

The perfect scam. Also very helpful with wiring situations, as flecksable_flyer writes:

I had to do this when hooking up my tv to the blue ray player, antenna, and VHS/DVD player every time I moved. I could never remember how to get all those wires back in the right place without experimenting for hours. It got to be quite frustrating going back and forth between the front and back of the tv.

It’s nice to think we have a mind like a vise, but a camera is a great back up.


  • Logical and good advice. I’ve actually done exactly the same thing last time I had to disassemble and reassemble my home theatre setup because there are too many wires. I’ll add a couple other tips that might be helpful.

    1. If you can label the parts do so. I added little stickers to the audio/video cables on my home theatre so I can see easily “left front”, “Right rear” and so on when plugging them in. You can buy little sticky labels or just make your own. Cut a short strip of sticky tape and tape it together around the wire (like a little flag).

    This same logic applies to components that have an important direction or placement. If possible put a little mark on both parts to show how it should line up. That way when you reassemble it if the two marks don’t line up you know something’s wrong. Depending on the item and whether you want the marks to be permanent there are a ton of options, chalk, pencil, liquid paper, nail polish, two pieces of sticky tape.

    2. If you have the space put the parts in chronological order and try to keep related parts together. Don’t just dump all the screws or bolts into a bowl assuming they’re the same size. The screws for the door might be different to the bolts for the shelf. That way when you reassemble you work backwards and you’re using the right parts at the right time.

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