Homes

Surviving flat pack

Since moving into my great new house, I have had to do a fair amount of work. Fortunately, the decorating part was in the grand scheme of things pretty minimal (painting is about as stressful as it got) however I have needed lots of new furniture. If you are new to this site, you might not know but last year I moved from living in a one bedroom flat (where I had been for 12 years) to a three bedroom house complete with a garden! I have an insane amount of space – which I am loving – and whilst I didn’t want to fill it to the brim, I did need some new furniture to make it more homely and less sparse.

A lot of the items I really liked were from Ikea or similar price bracketed retailers. Much as their stuff is great – there is one major downside – it is almost ALL flat packed! Stick me in front of an Excel spreadsheet, or a website, or even some maths problems and I am happy but I do not have a practical bone in my body. The vast majority of flat pack furniture instructions that came were multilingual manuals – which is great – if you can even understand the English versions!

What I found easier was having a friend to help – but I had to do a lot of it on my own. So what does someone who genuinely has anxiety about things like that do to help get through it? Well, I took my time. If something says it will take 30 mins and it took me four hours – I didn’t care. If I needed to take a break, I took a break and came back to it. What I found really helpful was when they were illustrated manuals. I would lay the pieces out as they were in each of the pictures – by order and orientation. So even if the picture showed all the different nails or screws in order – I would sort through them all and lay them out in piles in the order they were in the manual. This definitely helps as I have a total lack of spatial reasoning!

It made it easier as I was then able to visualise what it was I needed to do. If space is limited just lay out the pieces from the page you are working from, and then move on, however you might need to be able to unpack everything before you start in order to make sure you are using the right pieces.

Whatever you find hard in life – whether it’s flat pack furniture or Excel spreadsheets – don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and can bring different things to the (newly assembled) table. I’m not trying to make light of anxiety – I genuinely struggle with flat pack furniture and feel anxious and nauseous at the prospect – but I persevered as I was focusing on the bigger picture – my amazing new house that I was still over the moon about finally getting in to. If you can’t do that – don’t worry – if you can’t get a friend or relative to help, there are handyman type services you can get and just pay someone to do it for you. It shouldn’t cost much – but always make sure you agree a price up front.

However you go about it – good luck and let me know how you get on!

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