Let the record show that I do not live alone. I have two roommates, one of whom has been in the apartment for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown. She’s nice and we get along fine, but truth be told we met on Facebook and have not yet become friends who hang out together. All of this to say, it has felt very much like I live alone, sometimes going days without even seeing my roommate, just hearing her footsteps.
When I moved in I had the luck of moving into a furnished room. The furniture, however, left much to be desired and my ever-expanding collection of clothing wore out the dresser long ago. Despite my passion for shopping, furniture is one of those areas of expenses that doesn’t really give me that shoppers’ high I crave. At least it didn’t before I was trapped in my apartment for three months. But before that I dreaded spending money on something I actually needed. A new dresser would not bring me joy. I couldn’t get any fun out of it. It’s like buying band-aids.
Thus the first dresser I bought was the cheapest $60 I could waste. It took me forever to build, did not meet my space expectations by a mile (because I also disregarded the reviews), and it fell apart almost immediately. That begrudged dresser would become a raggedly upcycled shoe rack.
I don’t know about you, but spending nearly every hour of every day in my home has inspired me to upgrade my home. It was time to stop staring at a dresser that was missing the front of the bottom drawer. I put on my big girl pants and started shopping. Picking out an Ikea dresser that fit my budget and my needs made me excited about transforming my little space. I’d built Ikea furniture before—and I’d built a dresser before. I knew it wasn’t a walk in the park, but I was prepared for the challenge.
The instructions adorably suggested two people work together to build this dresser. How discriminatory! Without a partner and the appropriate space, frankly, I set out to build a new home for the threads I love.
Ikea instructions are so simple they’re easy to overthink, I think. Or maybe they’re just bad. There are minimal captions which is infuriating. Sometimes the pictures will say it’s not the tiny screw that looks like this, it’s the tiny screw that looks like that. I think two of the hundred parts were labeled which was a fun puzzle. But I got the frame together in just under five hours. Finally it was time to put the top on, and when I realized it was not smooth sailing.
Building furniture is kind of like doing sudoku. You can get away with little mistakes in the short-term, but they will reveal themselves in real-time. The 9 looks like it can work in that box but when you move to the next column you’re going to see trouble.
The instructions told me to insert eleven no. 118331 screws in the top piece. But I only had 7. I searched high and low for the missing screws, but resolved that Ikea must not have sent them and I could live without. The top didn’t fit right on the frame. Shifting and shoving, I measured and raged how could this possibly not work? Sure there were missing screws but could there also be missing holes? I went to bed, deciding to take a break and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.
It kept me up for a little bit. Where did I go wrong? What’s the missing piece? When I returned to the instructions the next day, I swear to you they had changed from the night before. Allegedly, I put four of the 118331 screws in holes actually fit for the 603440 screws. Thus getting the top on was screwed.
Filled with a rush of relief that I was not, in fact missing pieces, I worked through the rest of the instructions. Another five hours later I had completed nearly every step once incorrectly and then correctly. Put every drawer track on backwards. Nailed the back on the front. And awoken anyone in my building trying to sleep in on a Saturday with my hammering or my expletives.
But to see this beautiful dresser assembled and in place made me feel invincible. Lonely and invincible. “I can’t believe I did this by myself” met “I can’t believe I just had to do that by myself.” I’m still waiting for this dresser to get up and dance for me or something to just really make all the sweat and tears worth it, but I do appreciate finally having a proper place to store my bras.