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Tam battles IKEA ... and wins?!

Today's second guest is Tam of Tam's Reads, Brief Encounters Reviews, and now - apparently - Ikea furniture fitter supremo...:)


Ikea Furniture: Greatest Swedish invention since the smörgåsbord or crappy furniture for the masses?

During my Christmas vacation I had the pleasure (?) of visiting the biggest Ikea in Canada. I needed a new TV stand and coffee table, so figured it was time to venture forth into the behemoth that is all things Swedish. It wasn’t that bad, I enjoyed seeing the little tiny apartments completely set up, and we finally wended our way through the warehouse, got the boxes and managed to get them home without causing too much damage to walls.
My daughter helped me set up the TV stand, definitely a two-person job, but I was determined to assemble the coffee table on my own. This is my diary of the experience.

First step is appropriate Ikea assembly attire. You know you are going to be crawling around on the floor and digging for dropped screws under the couch, so I think sweats and a suitably irreverent t-shirt sent by a friend based on a New Orleans text is the perfect start.

You also need to get the right tools, which means going to that drawer we all have in our kitchen, and finding the screw driver and hammer, which may or may not have been on the bedroom dresser. Because … well, I’m sure there was a good reason it was there.

Time to open the box and admire the engineer who fit everything in so neatly, and even take time to admire the interesting corrugated cardboard the Swedes use. All this used as an opportunity to postpone the inevitable start of the project.

Okay, get the instructions. First thing it says is do NOT do this alone. Have a friend. Excuse me? Are the Swedes wimps or what? And they’re not even wearing pants! I’m a Canadian single mom who works full-time. I don’t need no stinkin’ assistant. (Makes note to try and complete project before sleeping teen leaves the house in case Ikea decides to prove me wrong)

Get out all the screws and gadgets. Lay them all out in nice order ensuring they are all there exactly like the instructions show you. Ha! Right. Let’s dump these suckers on a plate and ask Bun which long screw he suggests I use for the first step.

Time to take a break from screwing for some juice, and admire pink sparkly monkey socks. Yeah yeah, you all have filthy minds. I wish. This project had more screwing than most m/m books I’ve read. Feline Foreman Max decided to come and see how I was progressing.

Max decided to help me choose the right screws. He did not look thrilled that I wanted to use the wrench thing Ikea so kindly provided. I think he may have been right on that. Back to more screwing. (If I was the hero of an m/m romance, I’d be suffering from dehydration and my balls would be shrivelled already.)

Things appear to be going a bit too well. I’ve yet to screw up and have to unscrew something and switch it around. Oh shit. I spoke too soon. I jammed the peg in the wrong hole and can’t get it out. (I think I read that in a book as well.) Back to that magical drawer to find the pliers. Luckily an easy fix.

Okay, it’s looking pretty good. It actually looks like an upside down table. So far, so good.

Yay me. It’s finished by myself and there are no extra pieces left in the plate (unlike the TV stand, oops). Bun decided to come out and check out the table to ensure that it was up to his rodent standards. Approval received.

So any bets on how long it takes to go from its current state (with a few yaoi and m/m books underneath waiting my attention along with Christmas chocolate) until it looks like the old table? This one is bigger so perhaps it will take it a bit longer to cover the top in paper and “stuff”.

So how much Ikea furniture do you have in your house? Is it the greatest Swedish invention, or a curse from the Norse gods to punish the non-believers? I have to say I like the new dark black/brown color and my new TV stand that holds so much more than the old one. Next question: What the heck do I do with my old TV stand and coffee table? They are ugly, but still usable. I suppose I’ll put them up on Freecycle and see if someone needs something for their basement or cottage. I just want them out of my house.

Thanks for having me on the blog Clare, sharing my furniture assembly experience. Have a wonderful birthday month.


From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).


FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:.
Jan 16: Sasha L. Miller making magic happen.
Jan 17: H. B. Pattskyn shares a free short story.
Jan 17: Becky Black on what can really happen after publishing.
Jan 18: Blaine D. Arden on keeping it close to her heart.

Jan 09: Lee Rowan shares her healthy resolution.
Jan 10: Rowena Sudbury and the beauty of a blue moon.
Jan 10: Sandra Lindsay and her WIP characters.
Jan 11: Shelley Munro and a tour of bedrooms through the ages.
Jan 11: Dany Sirene and her love of Goth characters.
Jan 12: Sarah Madison and her decision to stop competing.
Jan 13: Alix Bekins shares her love of kink.
Jan 14: Janis Susan May on writing one word at a time.
Jan 14: Charlie Cochrane watches movies with hankies at hand.
Jan 15: Megan Derr and the inspiration in fairytales.

Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory finds inspiration at every turn.

Check up on:
Prior years fun HERE and
The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.

Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.



( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
How cute! I love that Bun approves.
Jan. 18th, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Bun's actually pretty easy going for a rabbit. And I regret to say that the table is starting to resemble the old one, covered in "stuff". Sigh.
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
I actually have quite a bit of IKEA furniture in my house. I'm pleasantly surprised that it's held up as well as it has. I go to the one outside of Chicago. I love the cheap dish towels they have. I've got a ton of them because I decided not to use paper towels for everything.
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
It actually does last pretty long for the price. They do have some good household good that are pretty cheap. I bought wooden hangers and everyone always jokes about the bags of a thousand tea candles for $10. Does ANYONE need that many tea candles?
(no subject) - oceankitty1 - Jan. 18th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cdn_tam - Jan. 18th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oceankitty1 - Jan. 18th, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
I often take a break from screwing for some juice. One must remain well hydrated! :)

Glad the t-shirt fits. :)


Oh, and this isn't anonymous, it's POLT (obviously)!
Jan. 18th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
You're a naughty boy (and lucky). :-) I loved the shirt, it brings back good memories.
Jan. 18th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
I think we may be one of the few households in the world to not have any Ikea furniture... On the other hand, we do still have some bits & pieces that came from Argos years ago. Since I learned how to make things "properly" i.e. traditionally from a piece of wood rather than from flat-pack I'm annoyingly reluctant to buy something that "will do for now"

Our furniture suffers a similar fate to your coffee table - we call it Flat Surface Syndrome in our house
Jan. 18th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm not very skilled in the construction sector. I salute you for managing to figure it out. Although with Ikea instructions you better have an intuitive feel for it, because they are so vague as to be almost useless.

Flat Surface Syndrome is a good name. I don't understand how it happens so quickly. It's like the paper breeds and multiplies or something.
(no subject) - sandra_lindsey - Jan. 18th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 18th, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
I haven't been to an Ikea store yet - I'm not sure where our nearest one is, but it isn't very near - so I don't have any Ikea furniture.

Well done for figuring out the instuctions. I'm glad Bun and Max approve.

In our house any flat surface will be occupied by something within minutes of being created. This includes the floor which generally fills from the edges except when it is being occupied by Intrepid Guard Dog who takes up as much available floor space as he can. Squeaky toys act as place holders when he has to go check out another piece of floor.
Jan. 18th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Ikea is an experience. It's rather like a trip to the amusement park, at least our gigantic one is now.

I sometimes wonder if there is enough storage in the world. No matter how many cupboards and shelves I buy I just have more STUFF.
(no subject) - cdn_tam - Jan. 18th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
But they have such good deals. LOL
Jan. 18th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
I have a couple of IKEA bookcases (and one from Argos), though most of my furniture is secondhand and either almost as old as me or much older.
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
I find in general Ikea furniture is not bad as far as quality. Not something I'll pass on to my Grandchildren however. :-) I think it's improved in recent years as well.
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
Woot! You triumphed! You already saw my wall o' IKEA photos, so...
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
I am woman, hear me roar! :-)
Jan. 19th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
What's that table made of, Tam? It looks . . . surgical.

I'm afraid I don't know Ikea from Judea. I get all our household stuff at thrift shops and garage sales. But congratulations on your assembly prowess!

P.S. Can I have your old table? Unless it's plastic and/or made in China. Yes, beggars CAN be choosers. ;-)

Edited at 2012-01-19 12:03 am (UTC)
Jan. 19th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
It's just a really dark wood, but it's got a nice satiny finish on it ... for now. Wait until the cats and a bunch of stuff has been scratched around on it.

I would give you my old one, but FINALLY tonight someone said they wanted it. It was about to go out with the garbage Friday morning in the hopes someone would salvage it but Freecycle came through. It's also Ikea wood but I had painted it that reddish brown color. Never really liked it much.

I think Ikea is much more fun to visit than Judea, not certain though.
Jan. 19th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
Nice post! Big congrats for getting the damned thing put together, Tam! I love corrugated cardboard. The hoarder in me always wants to save it for crafts. And I love store displays. The tiny little apartment displays would have fascinated me. (This is Val, not anonymous.)
Jan. 19th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
I loved the little apartments. Ikea are the kings of maximizing space. Teeny tiny bathrooms and kitchens but yet it seemed like tons of storage. Almost made me wish I lived in one, but you really have to keep your possessions to the minimum.

We had quite a bit of recycling after the table and the TV stand. I tend to be a box hoarder, always thinking I'll need it for something, but I'm trying to be better about getting rid of them.
(no subject) - jordan_c_price - Jan. 19th, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clarelondon - Jan. 19th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2012 09:49 am (UTC)
Tam, you're a hero. I hate IKEA (although I love flat pack furniture - give me an Allen key and the world is mine!)
Jan. 19th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
Ikea can be a bit overwhelming, but when I only go once or twice a year it's not too bad.
(no subject) - clarelondon - Jan. 19th, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cdn_tam - Jan. 19th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
Ikea! *shudder*

I only go if I have to because:
a) It's huge and makes my feet ache
b) I buy crap I don't need and then have to assemble it
c) It's miles from my house

The meatballs are marvellous though. Worth the visit alone :).
Jan. 19th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
All good reasons to avoid it Jen. LOL I only go when I know what I want and I've already looked it up on-line. In out done.

We did have meatballs. Well, Kristen did. They are CHEAP. Our new Ikea restaurant seats 600 people. 0_0
Jan. 19th, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
How topical - I'm just sitting down in my new Ikea computer chair for the first time - and I didn't swear too many times while putting it together!

I went to my first Ikea in Sweden when I was twelve, so that's... oh God, twenty two years ago! Let's just say I then grew up with a house full of Ikea furniture. I even wrestled with building my own bedroom set when I was fifteen. The bed was a piece of crap, it must be said. So was the wardrobe. The desk drawers are still going, though.

To me, Ikea is a necessary evil. I'd buy elsewhere if I could afford to, but they do the best budget furniture. I won't get anything that's veneered particleboard, though, as it doesn't stand up to the test of time so well. The solid wood stuff is better (and doesnt' hurt as much when you drop it on your toes!)

What I won't do is go to the stores anymore. I had a very bad experience when I made the mistake of visiting one on a bank holiday - hell on earth! I now get the fear at the very thought of going inside. Today I managed to persuade my parents to pick up a few items for me, though. That's the way to do it!
Jan. 19th, 2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
Yay for a new chair and minimal swearing. :-)

The wood stuff isn't bad and I think it's all much more well made now than 15 years ago. It's kind of middle range here. Not the particle board stuff you get at a discount department store, and not the expensive "real" furniture from a furniture shop.

I would never go on a prime shopping day. People lined up outside overnight to go to the giant Ikea on opening day! I suppose the first person in line got a $10K g/c, maybe worth it, but the next 100 got a $50 chair. In November. In Canada. That was insane. It was pretty quiet the day we went.

My daughter LOVES putting together Ikea furniture. I guess it's a bit like a puzzle. :-)
Jan. 26th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
Oh jeez, can you all come over and build my next two bookcases? Non-Ikea, though. I think the closest store is in London. As in non-UK/Ontario. Bit of a drive.

Still, it would be worth it to enjoy the show.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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