Do you remember the episode of 30 Rock where Liz is attempting to put together a long-ignored piece of IKEA furniture, not so successfully? There’s a similar scene in the HBO series The Wire. It seems that assembling furniture (badly) is a running joke in American culture; kinda like stringing up Christmas lights.
I have to admit that I have never needed to put furniture together. Somehow, I managed to have my dad, or brothers, or husband, do the honors over the years. I escaped the frustration of missing pieces, inadequate tools, poorly constructed materials, and all else that becomes the dreaded “some assembly required” task.
There is also the problem of following directions. I refuse to do it. It is a terrible habit, I know; but, I’ve never had the patience to read directions (or even look at pictures). Let’s blame it on technology: my motto is, if you can’t do it intuitively, it shouldn’t be done.
When I purchased a new bed from IKEA for my daughter’s room, I knew that it was coming unassembled. It was due to arrive the day my son was coming into town. Eureka! I was getting out of the job again. I would make him some delicious meals and hope he was inclined to help me out.
Alas, the best laid plans… . The shipment was delayed; my son had to work remotely from home before his vacation; and, before I knew it, I was looking at a week ahead with no one but myself to put together the bed.
Some background is in order at this point.
I have learned a lot about home maintenance in my twenty-five plus years of marriage. I have also learned that I am not anywhere near a perfectionist in this arena. My husband, however, is.
He has spent the last several years installing absolutely beautiful cherry hardwood floors in our home, including in my daughter’s bedroom. Having lived with wall-to-wall carpeting most of my life, I had little knowledge of wood floor care. We’ve had a few major mishaps, and I really don’t want to be the one to cause any more destruction to his handiwork.
So, here I was with a new bed beckoning me, the prospect of doing it myself for the first time ever, and a pristine hardwood floor ready to mock my attempt (and reveal any mistakes).
Cutting to the chase, now: I put it together! I did a great job! I didn’t mark the floor at all! And, yes, I read the directions.
Tip 1: Work On A Rug
I love IKEA directions – ’cause they are all pictures and numbers!
The first thing I noticed was a picture of a rug. What? Yes! The directions are to work on a rug as you assemble the bed frame. It’s as if they knew me (Calamity Jane) and were troubleshooting my clumsiness.
Thank goodness I followed that direction. It definitely saved the floor.
Tip 2: Do Not Follow The Direction To Use A Manual Screwdriver
I knew this one from watching my husband and daughter put together her wardrobe. Yes, you probably can use an old fashioned manual screwdriver to put together furniture; but, trust me, you will save hours, and sweat and tears, by using a power screwdriver/power drill. Buy one, and make it a good one, because you will use it forever.
Tip 3: Don’t Open Any Hardware Bag Until It’s Time
IKEA does a nice job of packaging each bag of hardware according to the sequence in which you will need it. Don’t open all of the bags at once. Open them as the directions indicate. Otherwise, you’ll get confused and use the wrong hardware. Each step of the way, the directions show you that you should call IKEA if you are missing hardware or otherwise having a problem. Luckily, I didn’t have to resort to that. Everything I needed was included, and there weren’t any “extra” pieces when I was done!
Tip 4: Don’t Think You Know It All
This tip is one I learned the hard way. As I was attaching the side rails to the headboard, I thought I would be attaching both before the foot board. Wrong! The foot board was designed to slide into the second side rail after it was attached to the first side rail. I had to undo twenty minutes worth of work because I thought I knew what came next. Stick to the plan, don’t be like me.
Tip 5: Take A Break From The Job To Have Some Chocolate
This is the most important advice I have to offer. You will come to the final construction phase with fresh eyes and a great attitude. BTW, save the other refreshments until you are finished with the job.
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