transportation from the Brooklyn IKEA a.k.a. minor hell?
September 16, 2018 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I am buying a bookcase and a dresser from Brooklyn IKEA for my Brooklyn apartment. Please throw ideas/annecdata/sage Wisdom at me re: transporting them home.

IKEA's own delivery will literally take one month and I can't wait that long. I am going to do the Click & College, but will still need to get stuff home. I do not want to rent a truck and drive, and I don't have friends with cars.

Based on my extensive internet research my options seem to include:

1) a gypsy cab that can be found illegally outside of IKEA. I find this option slightly sketchy but tentalizing.
2) Uber XL, call ahead to give the driver a headsup and tip a ton. This also requires luck, it seems.
3) picking & delivery service (such as, which will cost about $100. It's the easiest option. I think that's a fair rate, but it's pushing my budget.

Do you have any other ideas? Have you had experiences with any of these methods, and how you fare?
posted by redwaterman to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
4) You can call man-with-a-van or livery cab services and ask them to pick you up from IKEA - not quite pickup and delivery, but "meet me in the IKEA parking lot at 4pm, please". This is like 2) but without the luck.
posted by suedehead at 7:41 AM on September 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Call a local car service like Arecibo and tell them what you need room for. I've used them for moving bulky stuff several times. Unlike Uber XL, they don't charge huge amounts more for bigger vehicles, and you can talk to a human instead of an algorithm to arrange the trip.
posted by moonmilk at 7:42 AM on September 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

I would do a “gypsy” cab if they were willing to transport a load of your size. Ask for price upfront, of course.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:54 AM on September 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I found a random man with a van on Craigslist under services>labor/move and he was great. I still have his card somewhere but unfortunately can't find it now. I'm assuming you don't want to DIY, but depending how far you need to go you may be able to rent a truck from Home Depot (you can take Lyft or Uber to Home Depot and go to IKEA, it's not that far).
posted by pinochiette at 7:56 AM on September 16, 2018

Have you looked at whether ordering online from has a faster delivery time? It will ship from a warehouse rather than your local store, so may have a different delivery arrangement.
posted by just_ducky at 8:01 AM on September 16, 2018

Yeah I've done gypsy cabs from Ikea before and it's fine. I get anxious about negotiating price, so I checked the price for a regular uber home and then added $10-$15 to get what I was willing to pay. I then tipped 20%. I've also used specialized IKEA man with a van types from Craigslist which was also fine.
posted by EmilyFlew at 8:03 AM on September 16, 2018

There used to be a variety of man with van services listed under services on craigslist. You could join task rabbit and post the task there for less than 100. you could post to a local facebook group for bk or nyc that youre looking for recommendations for a man-with-van service. You could go to the U-haul on 6th st between 3rd and 4th ave and rent their by the day or hour cargo van - pro tip -- at that U-haul by the gate there are always a bunch of guys who are standing around looking for work , I have used this option several times .. You could rent van, drive to ikea, load van, go back to uhaul and pick up someone to help you move items into your apt.

What are the flat pack dimensions of this bookcase and dresser? It should say on ikea website.. Youd be surprised how small some of them pack down to, might fit in back of an uber hatchback , or black towncar (car service) trunk. Whether uber or car service, you could call the driver or dispatch and chat with him about it while still in ride cancellation window. Poster before me who suggested local car service waa wise , it's really handy to save several down-the-street car service numbers to your phone.

Ikea pro tip - enter ikea by the returns and exchanges area. Cut through checkout lines. Go directly to warehouse part where you get the products , have bin and shelf number written down from looking up products on website, go grab item and checkout , avoid showroom entirely.. So much faster and less stressy!)

If it were me being lazy I'd probably just go with random car service waiting outside of ikea looking for work .. But you sound a bit tentative .. Hopefully one of above options is helpful : ). Try not to worry too much, you got this! Feel free to memail me if you like.. Nyc is tiring but it can be gamed!

Apologies for typos for some reason My iphone doesnt play nicely with this reply text field at all
posted by elgee at 8:09 AM on September 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Just call literally any car service that's sort of near your apartment and tell them what you are doing they will send a larger car.
posted by RajahKing at 9:54 AM on September 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

When we bought a bunch of IKEA furniture a few years ago — more than seemed reasonable for a car to transport — we just used IKEA's own home delivery service. This may have changed since then, but after checkout there was a counter to the right of the elevators where we stood in line with the flatpacks and arranged a delivery time. It was something like $80, and totally worth avoiding the hassle of dealing with a 3rd party service. According to this page on their website, you can also “Just make a list and see a coworker in the showroom upstairs,” which seems like it'd save you the trouble of even going through checkout with flatpacks.
posted by D.Billy at 10:17 AM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Are you sure about the month for delivery? I've had the Ikea in Paramus deliver and they had next day availability for Manhattan. Like D Billy said, you buy the stuff and then take it to the delivery counter. It is, of course, possible that the Brooklyn Ikea's delivery service is just swamped.
posted by hoyland at 11:53 AM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

It sounds like hoyland's experience with delivery may have been specific to the NYC area. I live in the Bay Area and I've bought furniture online from Ikea. Their anticipated delivery was three weeks--but in fact, that three weeks was the estimated amount of time it took for my bed and bed frame to be sent to the shipping company; in fact, it took five weeks. Then the shipping company delivered it to me, which took a few days. If Ikea says it'll take three weeks to deliver something, don't be optimistic that it'll actually be faster, because it very likely won't.
posted by tapir-whorf at 12:22 PM on September 16, 2018

My dad used It cost $100 plus how much your items are. It took 2 days to get his items after he sent the list of items to guy. He really was satisfied with the service.
posted by starlybri at 1:14 PM on September 16, 2018


That is big and loud but honestly, the contractors they use are terrible and have been getting worse; I just did this and my order came late, with a huge waiting window, after failing to show once, and was still incomplete. The pick and deliver service is no longer offered at the Brooklyn Ikea — you just go to the counter with a bill and the terrible contractor delivery people are still responsible for it.

Depending on where you live in Brooklyn, a car could cost ~$40 and getting out there is a pain. I would personally stretch your budget or use Uber XL / Lyft XL. But seriously, Brooklyn Ikea's delivery has gone to hell and I cannot recommend avoiding it enough.
posted by dame at 1:17 PM on September 16, 2018

If you already know the exact items you want, you can look up their weight and flat-packed dimensions on the Ikea website. It is very likely that your entire load will be man-portable. Ikea is really, really good at this.

Rent or buy a dolly from Home Depot. Bring some rope to band your two boxes together, put them on your dolly, and take them on the free ferry and then on to the subway. You can lean the boxes on your shoulder and push them along. It's surprisingly easy.

Use the MTA website to check whether your subway station has elevators; you may prefer a longer walk above ground rather than carrying your packages up and down the stairs.

Whatever you do, do not ask Ikea to deliver. When I tried this, they took multiple months to ship me half my order, then multiple months to ship me the rest. At which point I had already bought the items elsewhere. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a refund or even dispute the charge on my credit card, because they did eventually deliver it. Now I just have twice as much furniture as I needed.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 1:23 PM on September 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

It sounds like hoyland's experience with delivery may have been specific to the NYC area.

I think many of the answers are confusing ordering from IKEA online(?) with buying the stuff in the store and then arranging for delivery. Ikea does offer this service outside the NYC area, but I'm sure it's used much more rarely. (And their website is less than useless. The Emeryville, CA store's page gives you delivery prices by ZIP code. Paramus makes it clear there's next day delivery, but no pricing information. Brooklyn is as clear as mud.) Like dame said, you are at the mercy of the third-party delivery company (it's XPO here) and it's not particularly cost effective for two items--I think delivery starts at $59 (which I'm guessing covers most Brooklyn from the Brooklyn IKEA).

Honestly, though, there are folks advertising in Facebook groups I'm in who'll help you move your furniture between apartments for $70 who will surely also fetch your stuff from IKEA. Something like that or your local car service is likely easier and, in the case of the car service, likely cheaper.
posted by hoyland at 2:00 PM on September 16, 2018

#1 is annoying and a ripoff—the one time I (almost) did it, I had to schlep my stuff across the street because the illegal cabs aren't allowed to come up to the curb in front of Ikea, and then they quoted me 3x what I ultimately paid a real car service.

#2 is reliable. You might just have to try a couple times/wait 15-20 minutes instead of like, 5. Or yeah, just call Arecibo! (I agree that you might not need an XL—check the dimensions of your boxes. I got a dresser home in a regular sedan.)

I have also hailed a green cab. That one does require some luck, though.
posted by the_blizz at 7:03 PM on September 16, 2018

I know you say you don’t want to rent a truck, specifically, but is Zipcar/Enterprise CarShare also a no-go? This is how I do it, most of the time.

Other than that, yep - Uber/Arecibo SUV.
posted by functionequalsform at 4:17 AM on September 17, 2018

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