Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My Flat-Pack Assembly Hell

It is summer in Sydney, it's hot and humid and everyone is wearing shorts.
Except for me.
I'm wearing jeans to cover the bruises and scratches from my latest extreme makeover...

Here's a snippet of related bedtime conversation last week;

"Mummy can you read me a bed-time story?"
"Sorry Darling, Not tonight;  I have to go on U-Tube to find out how to lay floorboards."
"Oh yeah. OK mummy, goodnight."
"Goodnight sweetie; Love you"
"Love you to the moon."

It was time for Pinkster to go into a bigger bed and she wanted a loft bed, but I just couldn't bring myself to build something that permanent over, God knows how old and how dust mite infested, carpet.  I think the carpet is probably 20 years old. It's wearing OK but it's wool and she's allergic to that (or maybe its dust mite population).

So I pulled up a corner of the carpet and checked out the boards- they looked quite alright and I decided- it's time for bare boards.

But you never know do you until all the carpet is up, just what sort of mess you're getting yourself into. I'd trawled U-Tube for video tutorials of sanding floor boards one evening when I'd gotten just half the carpet up.

Later I discover there appears to be a lack of U-Tube tutorials dealing with holes, huge gaps and badly patched areas using boards that don't come close to resembling the originals.

And that, my friends, is how I came to lay my first floating laminate floor.
I wont go into the grim details, but after two days my legs were not pretty. Big yellow and purple bruises, nail scratches, and my hands didn't fare any better.  And this was all before I could get down to the nitty gritty of the bed building project.

The seven boxes of bed had resided for two weeks in my guest room where myself, a dear friend and a trolley with flat tires, had wrestled them in.

The journey home from the bed store was interesting; just because the Toyota can fit what feels like 200 kilos of flat-packed furniture in it, doesn't mean it should. I don't know if the suspension will forgive me but I know the auto-transmission wont.

The next fun part in Project New Bedroom was getting all the contents of these boxes, a couple of them bigger than me and most of them heavier, upstairs.
My narrow staircase.
My very steep, narrow staircase.
The very stairs that thwarted all attempts, a few weeks ago, at moving any of my armchairs to the second floor.

The day I broke my back
So I broke my back again and added some more rainbow colors to my legs.

The instructions; when I found them (was that in box five or six?) said this flat pack assembly will take 60 minutes and two people. 

I was at it all day. I'm used to IKEA flat-pack instructions, so I thought; I'll manage this, I'm no stranger to building stuff - I can follow instructions.." and there I was in Flat Pack assembly hell for two days.

IKEA instructions identify all the pieces involved. These were not IKEA instructions.
Pieces were not marked.

Diagrams of pieces often didn't show them entirely, severely limiting the possibility of telling them apart from the many similar pieces.

Diagrams of fully assembled items didn't come close to showing what you were building.

The list of hardware had all those items depicted and numbered in the glossary, but the part numbers changed throughout the instructions.

The pages of the instruction booklet didn't even run consecutively ie: 1,2,3,4,5,7,6,10,9,8
Each box, sometimes two boxes, were supposed to contain all parts of a particular section, but it's as though some smaller bits got left out so they were hidden at the bottom of the packaging of other non-related components.

So yes it took two full days with many calls, hand-holding and advice given by my local friendly experts and all round nice guys at Creative Space Constructions. I also made a couple of trips to the hardware store for extra random screws, bolts and more advice (I try to share the wear).

If you can build this - you can build absolutely anything!
And after I put my girl to bed for her first night in her new Sigma Midi Loft bed, I dragged my weary arse downstairs to clear the guest room of a mountain of cardboard and I filled five extra large garden bags with the Styrofoam packing I broke up into little pieces. When it came to dealing with the teeny tiny balls of Styrofoam I discovered my Dyson vacuum had died an untimely death.

The next morning, She-Who-Used-To-Worship-Pink&Now-Worships-Animal-Prints, asked me when I would make her leopard print doona and pillowcase.

I would blitz this IKEA interview
Thanks to IKEA flat pack assembly service for the awesome photos - you feel my pain clearly!


  1. Great article and ... too true.
    I have a theory that IKEA never intended women to assemble its flat packs.
    They make instructions impossible to understand, because they know men, who should be doing the assembly, never read instructions. IKEA figured out long ago that men progress by figuring things out. And ... in order to ensure good entertainment for those watching us, always have too many nails and not enough screws so that we are left confounded. It's called Swedish Home Theatre.

    1. I like that Earl; Swedish Home Theatre..
      and if my ex-husband is anything to go by - instructions were made to be ignored! At least IKEA have a lot of clear pictures where this one did not. I had no idea what I was building because I only got one diagram at one angle and if there was an opening - that wasn't shown! I do always have left over parts after IKEA, which came in useful on this project... If you like IKEA flatpack fun, check out my IKEA hack: The Gorm porch swing:
      thanks for tuning in