In which a crib is built and I realize IKEA is Lego for adults

Ever been to IKEA? It’s fantastic, like a theme park – Chuck Palahniuk be damned if he doesn’t like it. You need shelves, beds, furniture and can’t drop a lot on ’em? IKEA’s your place, so long as you’ve got the means to transport some big flat boxes. Unless you’ve got a problem reading picture instructions (in which case might I recommend avoiding air travel), IKEA’s awesome.

All of which brings me to my thesis: IKEA is Lego for adults. This weekend I was tasked with transporting and assembling a crib for the incoming spawn. This is not my first venture into do-it-yourself modular Swedish furniture, so I know what to expect: Informative pictograms, lots of little pieces, and an entertaining afternoon snapping/screwing things together. Sound familiar?

Okay, so Lego is from Denmark, not Sweden – fjords are still involved. When I was a kid, I loved getting a Lego set, laying out the parts, and following the steps through to create the thing on the box. Today, I can do the same thing, but after I’m done I can put books or a baby in it, which would be impractical with the Fire Breathing Fortress.

The plans are another similarity. Beyond the warning labels (which are occasionally chilling), no words are used. The plans are all images and numbers, and while I’ve heard complaints about this format, I think it’s a pretty clear way to get the information across. It’s got the added benefit of being translatable to anyone who has two arms and two legs and knows what a screwdriver looks like.

Even with this total absence of words, I can tell where this foot and screw go …

… and how to adjust the mattress height to fit an infant rather than a toddler, as well as how to convert it to toddler-height or (eventually) a day bed.

(granted, there’s no step for dealing with bored dogs)

At the end, I’ve got both furniture and a reasonably satisfying evening project.

With this last addition, the nursery is just about complete. We’re in week 36 right now, so it’s nice to have things reasonably squared away, at least with regard to baby furniture. And I get to pretend I’m a carpenter.

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6 thoughts on “In which a crib is built and I realize IKEA is Lego for adults

  1. When my brother and I were little we used to “draft” Lego pieces (kind of like the NFL draft) by picking them blind out of a bag. Then those were the only pieces we could use to build things for the next month.

    I don’t think this would work well with IKEA furniture.

    • I dunno, Jeremy. Considering all IKEA furniture is essentially just variations on the theme of “modular storage,” you could come up with something kinda fascinating. You do realize, though, that this means you’ve been practicing random sampling since childhood?

  2. Good point. I guess I was a stats nerd even then. There is, of course, a rest of the story. I would go into my brother’s bag and steal pieces I needed. So I was also practicing stratified sampling techniques.

  3. Heh heh, you guys are nerds! (Actually I’m going to post about using Chi Square to make sure my iTunes shuffle is random, so what do I know.)

    Actually, Bob, which IKEA did you go to? I hear there’s one near Cincinnati. Was it that one? Was it nice? Did it have meatballs?

    • There’s one just west of Pittsburgh, and it’s got all the trimmings. I’m not sure of the distance to Cincy for you, but you can take 70E to 79N for this one, and it’s just 3 miles off exit 59B. There’s a Chipotle there too, but I hear you Athens snobs actually have one in town – me, I gotta make the commute.

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