Over the years, I’ve moved at least a dozen times. Assembling, disassembling and reassembling desks, bed frames, and bookshelves–most of which was never meant to be disassembled. Frequent relocation like this isn’t uncommon, especially for younger people moving out on their own for the first time.
Entire businesses have been built around selling furniture that people assemble themselves, and only expect to use for a few years. Sure, you may take it with you to your next apartment. It might even survive two moves. But eventually, you’ll replace it with either another inexpensive piece, or something more permanent. The dumpsters in the alley behind my apartment usually have a couple discarded tables or bookshelves.
But there may be a more economical way.
The idea has been around since the 70′s, but seems to be gaining more popularity now. The concept is that you use a few standard modular components that can be assembled, disassembled, and reconfigured in numerous ways to create whatever structure you need at the moment. When you’re finished with the item, you take it apart and easily store, give away, or construct something else with the pieces. An erector set on a human scale.
If you have younger kids, you can help them build a fort in the back yard. A teenager going off to college or getting a first apartment can easily construct a portable bed, desk, or shelving unit. A young couple buying a first house can quickly and inexpensively furnish several rooms with pieces to be replaced with nicer furniture over time.