We’ve all been there. What started with, frankly unfounded, brash confidence has regressed into mind-numbing frustration, making a mockery of former bravado with smug Swedish hindsight.
It’s nearly bedtime, but the half-built bedframe before you bears more resemblance to a climbing frame, and there’s no trace of Piece K, or the eight screws needed to attach it into place.
But it doesn’t need to be like this. Following these simple steps below could save you time, sanity, and money when you decide to buy flatpack again.
Step 1: Self-awareness
There’s no shame in instructions. After all, you’re reading some right now, aren’t you? You didn’t cut the tree down yourself. There’s no need to pretend to be the master craftsman your tool-belt makes you think you are. Take a long look in the mirror beforehand and know your limits.
Understand that the flatpack is not an enemy needing to be conquered, but an ally waiting for patient assembly. Make sure you have the right tools for the job and don’t be ashamed to turn to online video tutorials!
Step 2: Organisation
Historically, the downfall of every flatpack venture since the dawn of Man: organisation. It’s said that Rome would’ve been built in a day, had Augustus remembered where he’d left the little bag of wooden dowels. Read the instructions through before you even look at the pieces, familiarise yourself with the parts, and when they’ll be needed. Some people will respond better to visual aids, but if the pictures aren’t helping, get the reading glasses on and go through the text.
Once you’re confident, lay every piece out in order – usually the parts are assigned numbers or letters – and try to keep track of where you place half-open bags of screws and nails. Taking a photograph of where things are laid out can be a lifesaver – refer to this before rearranging everything in the hunt for a specific piece.
Step 3: Remain sane
Take regular breaks. Make sure you’re well fed throughout the process. If you’re building with a partner, remember positive reinforcement. Celebrating the smaller victories, like getting the base done or attaching the handles, can keep spirits high – do a lap of the house and collect a high five from the whole family regularly so they are forced to acknowledge your achievements.
When the hard times come, and they will, keep your head. Remember breathing exercises, eat, and take a quick break.
Step 4: Bask in your achievements
You’ve done it. Gaze upon your creation. Gaze upon yourself, creator. Take a moment every day after to admire your success. Most importantly, tell every single person that walks through the door that they’re in the presence of your accomplishment. If they don’t applaud, show them the door.