Without Shouting, Crying or Throwing a Hammer at your Partner
Well done! You survived Ikea (if you didn’t then you should have read my How To Survive Ikea article)! But now you have a hallway full of bastard boxes and no one who’s willing to help you put the stuff together. What a fun weekend you’re going to have.
Not only did you spend all of Saturday buying shite you probably didn’t need, but now you are dedicating all day Sunday to assembling it. Why? Because you must have been a serial killer in a past life and this is your punishment, because we all know that a day of flat pack DIY is way worse than red hot pokers rammed up your arse while burning in the pits of hell.
Brace yourself for the palms of your hand to glow red raw, your nails to break and for there to always be ONE BLOODY SCREW LEFT to taunt and mock you after two hours of putting that table together (I have come to the conclusion that it’s the same screw that was loose in our heads to begin with, when we thought that this was a fun thing to do on a Sunday instead of spending the afternoon in the pub garden with our mates).
Well don’t give up on life just yet, I’m here to save you from garrotting yourself with those sharp strips of plastic that hold the boxes together.
Put the Stanley knife down, take a deep breath and remember these 10 tips when assembling Ikea furniture. You’ll soon discover that the instructions come in pictorial form anyway so believe me, this is the only written information you will ever get to read.
Follow my step by step guide and you may even make it to the pub before closing time.
1: Lie the box flat before opening
Rookie error, if you don’t all the pieces will fall on the floor, graze your shins and maybe even get damaged. And don’t use scissors or a knife to hack at the huge boxes as you may cut or damage the contents – use your fingers and sacrifice your manicure.
2: Put the screws and small parts in a bowl and make sure you have them all
A lot easier than fishing about in the tiny bag and you’re less likely to drop one and lose the bugger.
3:Assemble while sitting on cardboard or a rug
Not only is it kinder to your bottom and knees, but you won’t scratch the furniture while you put it together.
4: Read the instructions
It may sound obvious but I mean read (okay, there are no words, so look at the diagrams) all the way through from beginning to end. This is to see what you have in store, figure out how long it will take you and so you can psychologically brace yourself.
5: Look carefully
It’s like a Spot The Difference game…don’t use the small screw, use the small screw. I know they look the same, but they are not. And you too will realise they are not when you get to step 36 and the furniture won’t assemble and it’s because you used the wrong screw and now you have to undo it all and start again. ALWAYS do what you are told, make sure the wood is facing the right way and the correct part with the correct number of holes is on the correct side. Ikea is never wrong. Ever.
6: Invest in a drill, hammer and screwdriver
And funnily enough Ikea sell them. Well what what’d you know?!
Although their drills are pretty weak and only good for drilling holes that you then have to screw something into, I wouldn’t bother using it for trying to get a hole into anything stronger than chip wood. And when Ikea tells you to use your hand to bang something together – don’t. It hurts – and unless you are the Incredible Hulk it won’t work anyway. So use a hammer but bang it against a piece of fabric or folded cardboard held against the furniture so it doesn’t split or mark the wood.
7: Make sure you assemble it in the same place that you want to put it
I am deadly serious. Have you ever put together a double bed, then realised you wanted to actually sleep in the other bedroom and had to dismantle it and put it together again? Have you ever done that? I have. Bedtime was NOT fun that night.
8: Don’t force it
If whatever you are trying to do isn’t working, then you are doing it wrong. Ikea is never wrong. Check the size of the wooden peg thingy that looks like a bread stick (keep kids away, they will try and eat them) or the type of screw you are using. Or that you have the right piece of wood with the holes facing the right way. If it’s not sliding in perfectly then you cocked up…sorry. Retrace your steps, even if that means starting again.
10: If it says you need two people, get another person
Sometimes they are simply needed to help you guide a table top on because your arms aren’t long enough. You don’t have to knock on the door of your sexy hunky neighbour for help, unless this looks like a great excuse, you just need an extra pair of hands. My seven year old helped me with my desk the other day and she has one arm broken and in plaster. So don’t stress about who you choose.
11: Attach it to the wall
I know, I know, I couldn’t be arsed either until a chest of drawers fell on my five year old and I felt a bit bad about it. So now I screw them to the wall. But because I have a crap Ikea drill that couldn’t drill through jelly I also like to use a strong adhesive to be extra safe. Something like No More Nails is good. It comes with a gun, it’s quite empowering, and it sticks anything to anything. So now my furniture is all stuck down around my house and my landlady may kill me one day as I have no idea how I will unchip it from the walls unless I take an inch of plaster with me…but hey, at least my kids won’t be crushed to death by a MALM wardrobe.
So there you go – you did it! Aren’t you clever!
It’s finally time to enjoy a nice cold alcoholic drink, a shag of appreciation from your other half or at the very least a roast dinner cooked by the lazy bastards that didn’t help.
You are a DIY hero and now your home looks like everyone else’s. Hurray!