Monday, November 10, 2014

LOST IN TRANSLATION

I don't take pleasure in other people's pain, but I do crack a tiny smile as I stroll by the return line at Ikea on a Monday morning.  All of those shattered dreams, born on Saturday afternoon as hopeful DIY'ers roamed the aisles of the furniture giant hoping for a better home, only to return with a box full of pieces and an unreadable instruction manual.  I love the stick-figure drawings Ikea uses to express emotions during the furniture building process…Bewilderment. Frustration. Pain.  Yup, if you've attempted to build something from Ikea, you know the feeling!  Last week I assembled two bookshelves, a sofa and two nightstands from Ikea and during the hour-long process I took a break for a little peanut butter and cracker snack.  I was shocked to find directions on the jar of peanut butter; "carefully open lid. Spread peanut butter on bread or cracker. Enjoy"  Really? If you didn't know to do that with your peanut butter, you probably shouldn't be eating it.  On the contrary, Ikea uses a series of cartoon characters who point at next steps to help you through the frustrating assembly.  So allow me to help you with a few simple tips for the next time you attempt to create genius out of a frustrating box. While this might sound like a Martha Stewart-esque, condescending instruction, when attempting to follow directions, there are a few simple steps that will make the process a lot easier:
1.) I like to spread all assembly pieces out in a room.  Take a clean piece of white paper (so nuts and bolts are easily visible) and lay them out, count them to make sure you have everything you need, and compare to instruction sheet.
2.) For the larger pieces, lean them up against a wall in some kind of order.
3.) Remove original packaging, Styrofoam, etc. and create a clean working environment.  I can't tell you how many times I've attempted to build something and either trip over the box or get even more frustrated by the mess created from the packaging. Clearing it OUT will clear your mind.
4.) TAKE YOUR TIME. Rushing will only make matters worse.
5.) Just like a failed relationship, don't force something that doesn't fit.
Stores like Ikea do have some incredibly good looking, affordable pieces that blend well with higher end furniture. The key is in the assembly…if you doubt your abilities, you can always pay a small fee for the lovely store attendants to assemble it for you!