While it’s still fresh in my mind, I want to share with you the top 5 things we wish we had known before assembling our IKEA PAX wardrobe.
1. LEVEL GROUND: It’s tedious, but once you’ve built the frame, make sure each piece is level as possible. Before making any adjustments to one, find out which piece is the most level, adjust it, and then adjust the level of the others next to it.
We had some trouble with this because our floor boards in our old building are not totally even, and we got it as level as we could…but it will most definitely make your life easier later if you make sure it’s level from the beginning and you probably won’t have to adjust the doors as much once you put those on.
2. OUTSIDE BEFORE INSIDE: We thought it might be easier to put in the shelves before putting on the doors. Wrong! Not only did we have to remove and replace drawers at several points during the door assembly process in order to screw things on, but the planning we did to carefully space out shelves went awry due to the sliding door frames and dampers! I’d wanted to put the large KASSETT boxes on the very top and now they won’t fit past the door frame. Luckily, the smaller ones still fit, but it threw a monkey wrench into my plans! So, remember: doors before drawers!
3. FOR GLASS DOORS: REMOVE STICKERS! We thought the ID stickers on some of the glass panes would be covered up by the aluminum frames around it. Some of them were. But one stubborn sticker was placed just a little further in and you can see it on the final assembled door. Not a big enough deal to take the door apart and try again, but still kind of annoying seeing that little edge sticking out. Use rubbing alcohol to remove it more easily before putting the glass into the frame.
4. USE A POWER SCREWDRIVER: We don’t know what we’d do without our “zzzzt”, as we affectionately call our little power screwdriver. If you don’t have one, it is totally worth buying one for this project. Trust me. You won’t regret it!
5. LAUGH AT YOUR MISTAKES! This is the very most important tip I could give you. The process definitely wasn’t easy, and I will admit that I was frustrated to the point of tears at the very beginning. The reason? Because I had missed a page, causing us to end up with an entirely finished section with four wooden pegs that were supposed to go in back at step 2. Putting them in after the fact would have involved taking the entire thing apart. Luckily, it seemed sturdy enough without the pegs and we decided to just move on.
Especially because I may be a little extra hormonal these days (ahh, pregnancy!) I didn’t want to feel that frustrated with every problem we came across. So I decided that the next time something went wrong (and it did!) I would laugh at it. This is especially important for keeping the peace with your PAX assembly partner.
When we had finished, I gave Tobias a high five and joked that our relationship had survived building a seriously huge piece of IKEA furniture without any major disagreements or fights. That is totally a sign that we’re in it for the long haul. :)
In the end, you’ll probably look a little something like this:
That’s the face of someone who’s pretty exhausted from the effort, but extremely proud of what he’s accomplished. It will be awesome!
Edit September 2014: Just had to come back here and update on one more thing I wish I had known before building our PAX! If you have sliding doors with mirrors and regular glass panes…and you plan to use the mirrors to get dressed in the morning…then make sure the mirror door is on the OUTSIDE instead of the one that slides behind the other door! We liked the look and placement better with the mirrors on the right sides, but it’s totally impractical as far as actually using the mirrors! So keep that in mind!
Anyone else out there have any good tips from your PAX-building adventures?