Nineteen steps to assemble your IKEA furniture

  1. Contemplate the fact that this box in the corner of your freshly rented place has a bed-frame inside of it, in a way you really could not be fully aware of when you chose it in the IKEA showroom.

  2.  Open the box without severing any capillaries.

  3. Look at the cover of the instruction booklet and realize this will not be too complicated.

  4. Consider illustration advising you not to construct this furniture alone. Begin your attempt anyway. In light of the fact that divorce means you may be eternally without an in-house helper for furniture assembly, re-affirm your conviction that no-one gets a divorce unless it is absolutely necessary; consider also your new realization that anyone who says “divorce is the easy way out” should be confined to a room and forced to assemble IKEA furniture alone for the rest of his or her days.

  5. Flip through the language-free assembly handbook and experience a rising sense of panic.

    Shit this is serious.
    Shit this is serious.
  6. Handle the bag of hardware that came with the boards that are apparently a bed-frame, and reflect deeply on whether to admit defeat, or if it is too late now to go back.

  7. Successfully insert the first screw. Realize that this is all within your grasp, physically and mentally.

    Much more satisfying than your other first screw.
    (Much more satisfying than your other first screw.)
  8. First definitely audible expletive.

    Hammering this in is a lot harder than you think.
    Hammering this is harder than you thought.
  9. IKEA reprieve: the free space of IKEA; pass go and collect $200. Insert wooden pegs. The ease of this soothes you and builds your confidence. You can achieve this.

  10. OMG I can see how these pieces connect and become a bed. This is going to be done in no time.

  11. Abject failure. There is no way you can attach the side-boards to the headboard. Pile all pieces in the corner. This whole project was ridiculous. Realize you are a failure not just at furniture assembly but at life in general. People all over the world are doing this and living in sleek little inexpensive Swedish modular homes and you can’t build a fucking bed-frame. Asking for help via social media makes things worse as so-called friends liken it to LEGOs, counsel you to “take your time,” “Think of it like a puzzle and limit your focus to just one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed,” and opine that “if a cracked-out heroin addict can do it, I’m sure you can manage.”

    All of this only confirms the conviction that you are a fiasco of a human being.

    I mean, what the everliving HELL do these signify? Two black arrows pointing the right. A white and a black arrow  pointing toward each other. It might be easier to just write some new software for the Kepler Spacecraft. You might not feel so isolated and ashamed.

    12) Rescue! Your new roommate is handier than you are (everyone is handier than you are) and suddenly this diagram makes complete sense, and the bed is quickly assembled through the articulation of various boards, brackets, and screws.

    Some people enjoy this.

13) You realize you have probably missed your calling as a structural engineer/interior designer. You can do anything.

14) Grasp the next box with fresh enthusiasm.

15) Reflect, with a familiar creeping sense of doom, on the extraordinary fact that this is supposed to be a filing cabinet.

16) Oh FUCK no.


17) Position an unopened IKEA furniture box beside your bed. This works as a bedside table.

18) Decide you will hire someone, at any cost, to complete your IKEA assembly, because you are a piece of incompetent
baggage amongst the rest of the industrialized, tool-savvy human race.

19) Eat Cheez-Its with a glass of cheap red wine and find solace in blogging.

By the way, all you poor slobs who buy a foam mattress from IKEA: nobody mentions it until it arrives, but here are the instructions. (Hope you have plans in case your “5pm-9pm” furniture delivery is an hour late.)

What are your IKEA tips?


Add yours →

  1. OMFG “(Much more satisfying than your other first screw.)”

    Also the foam mattress diagram. SUCKERS!

    Hope you got help with the filing cabinet.

  2. Ah! I can relate. Having assembled TWO Malm nightstands (because apparently I needed one on each side of my bed) AND the Malm dresser alone I found it was quite a challenge. Even more challenging was when i opened the dresser box and discovered they had forgotten to include any hardware thus requiring another trip to Ikea….

  3. O I totally agree it is MORE than difficult. I purchased a bunk bed futon …to be used as an extra bed and “couch” in our TV room in Toronto years ago…AFTER my divorce! 🙂 so yes…I purchased it. I brought it home. I brought it downstairs to our finished basement. I unloaded the VERY heavy box. Viewed the directions once…went upstairs for wine and called my friend who VERY nicely came over to help me drink wine and figure this out…it took us three hours…and we did it! Satisfiying…not so much as all the swearing and whining that went into the project. Putting together all the shelves…that was easy and satisfying but I have to say anyone (yes even you my dear) could have done the shelves…but anything else…its so dang complicated…and yes…didn’t have to use anything but their Allen Wrenches…and wooden pegs…but the directions could use some help.

  4. Do not let IKEA defeat you or diminish your self-esteem 🙂

  5. I agree with your mom…don’t give Ikea your power…you are WOMAN!!! ROAR. love you.

  6. Assembling IKEA furniture together while maintaining civility and not yelling at each other is how we knew our relationship could last. It’s an excellent romantic litmus test.

    • This may be true. I guess IKEA assembly is one of those things we can add to the list of “is this too soon?” worries about the relationship. If you’re assembling IKEA with someone, it means you’re ready to get serious.

  7. This is fucking hilarious

  8. I cannot thank you enough. I was thinking of getting a bed from IKEA, and now I’m thinking again. Silly of me to assume I could do it alone… I’ve done shelves before, which aren’t too bad, and more recently a kitchen aisle cart, for which they recommended two people and I ignored them, which was also made quite a bit harder because I didn’t notice the little plastic extension that goes on the Allen wrench and keeps your fingers from getting all bloodied and blistered until AFTER the cart was fully assembled.

    Just discovered and LOVE your blog 🙂

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