I always thought it a meme or kind of joke, that IKEA is supposed to be hard to assemble. But because of the double-edged sword of Poe’s Law, there may be some truth to it. So here are a few pointers from someone who enjoys assembling IKEA furniture:
  • The instruction manual is everything. During the construction there’s only one true God, and that’s the manual.
  • The manual is intended to be understood without words. It was created from an engineering perspective. Keep that in mind and try to get into a headspace where you are an engineer working with the blueprints from a fellow engineer. If it helps, imagine you’re assembling a turret in the midst of a battlefield and you need it working before the spies and scouts are closing in. Dammit Jim, you’re an engineer, not a doctor!
  • Proper tools go a long way. Borrow them or buy a basic set.
  • You are provided all the parts you need. If there are some left at the end, you missed something. The rare exception is when they ask you to hammer in 56 nails to fix those non-load-bearing decorative back-panels. I don’t think they even count how many nails they put in the package.
  • Also, although it is highly recommended, they never provide long screws to fix the furniture to the wall. Buy a pack to last for all eternity.
  • If they ask for two persons to do a step, it’s either due to upper body strength or due to coordination fiddling heavy parts into sockets. If you are confident enough, there’s nothing stopping you from doing it all on your own. Just don’t put the hospital bill on me, when you are crushed by a 80kg clothes wardrobe.
  • Always lay down the parts in the same orientation as the manual. It saves a lot of time rotating parts in your head.
  • IKEA loves chirality, because they always provide an opportunity to mistake two symmetric parts. The manual shows the correct orientation, but it’s easy to miss. Check, check, check the manual.
  • It shouldn’t need saying, but never ever skip a step. Why would you do that? What has the world done to you to make so cruel?
  • Screw in everything tight and hammer in nails all the way.
  • Everything fits. If it doesn’t, don’t make it, but find out what you did wrong. Except wooden plugs, they need some encouragement to fit. A hammer is plenty encouraging.
  • Vent the room when you’re done. I know the chemicals smell awesome, but there’s a reason glue-sniffing is highly not-recommended. Vent every couple days for a month after. I didn’t sit through a course to calculate the dosage of chemicals gasing out of furniture, just so you can complain about headaches!
  • If someone has preconceived notions of your ability to assemble stuff based on your gender, tell them to fuck off. If you have these notions yourself, I ask you to reconsider your reasons for this.