I put together quite a bit of Ikea furniture. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Some people really hate doing it and tend to think I am a little bit crazy, but they appreciate my brand of crazy when they ask for my help so it’s fine with me! I’m happy to save them from a task they despise.
While doing some of these jobs recently it occurred to me to put together a few tips to make the process less painful for others when putting together Ikea or other assembly required items.
So here is some of my advice:
- Mentally approach the project like a jigsaw puzzle.
- Verify and sort the hardware and individual pieces first thing upon opening the box.
- People frequently tell me how much they hate the wordless instructions with Ikea furniture, but they are very effective if used correctly. Pay close attention to the details in the pictures, match up the patterns of holes, sizes of the pieces, the finished side vs raw side, etc exactly as shown.
- Give yourself plenty of room to work and move things around.
- Give yourself plenty of time. DO NOT rush. Take your time, doing it over will always take longer than doing it slower but correctly!
- Lay out all the pieces but keep them from being in your way; lean them against walls, stack matching pieces together.
- Examine the pieces for damage and so you can recognize them more easily.
- Browse the entire set of instructions before starting any of the assembly. You don’t have to fully comprehend each step in advance but getting an overview of how the process works and in what order can save SO much time and headaches.
- Make note of how much room you might need to move things around or turn them over and to layout partially assembled sections as you go.
- Does this item require the help of another person to lift or move things?
- Do you have the necessary tools ready and nearby?
- Always work on a surface that protects the pieces and keeps hardware from rolling away:
- Carpet or a rug is ideal.
- Sometimes you can use the packaging box, usually for smaller items.
- If working on wood, tile or concrete laying a blanket, sheet or drop cloth for your work space is very helpful. Just be careful as fabrics can be slippery on the hard surfaces.
- There is such a thing as brand quality. I’m no spokesperson, but I can say I would rather put together stuff from Ikea than the office supply stores based on recent experiences.
- If the package contains an additional insert providing a toll-free number to call if you need assistance, you will almost certainly end up needing to call!
- Sometimes there are slight changes to the manufacture or assemble process and instead of re printing ALL of the instructions the company will put in this extra slip of paper offering customer service help. Use it, if you start having any trouble at all, I learned this one the hard way. Trust me, just call the number.
- I have usually only see this in non furniture items. I have come across this issue on blinds, ceiling fans and other light fixtures, accordion doors etc.
- Know when to get help.
- If you are not inclined towards this sort of project you might think you are doing a bad job when there is actually something wrong with the parts or instructions. Ask someone else to look at it with you if you started but are struggling.
- Get help that helps. Don’t ask someone who hates doing this also, or gives you a hard time if you made a mistake. Reach out to someone who can make it better rather than worse!
- Someone who does these projects frequently might realize more quickly if there is a problem with the materials, or the instructions rather than just being a complicated project and find resolution faster.
- If you really hate puzzles maybe you shouldn’t put together pre fabricated products. Maybe it is worth the cost of hiring someone to assemble that new dresser or bookcase over the amount of stress and lost personal time you will experience doing it yourself? Sure, you CAN do it, just like I could change my own oil, but some things are worth having someone else do. Ask your friends to help, chances are you have at least one nutty pal like me!