I moved into a brand new apartment last week. Now, I’m not sure when the last time you moved was, but if it was anytime recent you know just how much of a headache some of the logistics to moving are. You’ve got to set up your utilities, you’ve got to turn off the utilities in your old place. You’ve got to sign all kinds of paperwork. You’ve got to write too many checks to count, all of which give you this uneasy feeling in your stomach because in the span of a few days you’re watching all of your money disappear like the sand working its way through an hourglass.
Oh, and you’ve got to get furniture. You can’t forget that, and nor should you. Furniture is what this whole post is about. Well, kind of.
When I moved it wasn’t some short and sweet move like a number of people experience. At least a number of people in my old home, New York City. In NYC when you move it’s usually just to a different spot in the city. Sure, it’s a pain – because moving always is. But you’re moving at most 6-8 miles. You hire some friends, a couple of TaskRabbits, book a truck, and move your stuff. It’s all done in a day.
But when you’re moving from New York City to Austin, Texas those same rules don’t really apply. You can’t just move all of your stuff a couple of thousand miles, and it’s not like I’d really care to if I could anyways. I could spend this whole blog post telling you about a $6,000 mattress I got for free after I moved to NYC and the accompanying heartbreak that came with realizing how much of a pain it was and how much it was going to cost me to ship that damn mattress. That’s another story for another day.
Anyways, I found my new place in Austin about a month ago and my move-in date was Friday the 15th, which means that the past week has been full of slowly and steadily getting my life together. With sensible breaks for my dog Bowser and I to go explore the Greenbelt, of course.
For me, a big piece of moving this time around was putting together quite a bit of furniture. By quite a bit, I mean the following:
- Coffee table
- High top dinner table
- Two large bookshelves
- Two small bookshelves (I really love books, okay?)
- One great L shaped desk for my home office
- An office chair
All of that on top of the other obvious touches like hanging curtains and what not meant quite a bit of time over the past week with me holding a set of instructions and wondering if furniture companies hire teams of people to come up with the most frustrating directions imaginable. And it’s those instructions that we’re gonna talk about today because it turns out those little 5-10 page booklets hold some indelible life advice.
First things first, because I know people will ask: I actually didn’t go the IKEA route. I thought about it, but I knew what I was getting myself into with IKEA. I don’t want your Malm, Fyrkantig, or Sparsam. I just want to go to IKEA for the meatballs, please and thank you.
Instead, I ordered most everything off of Wayfair. Mainly because I’m lazy and they offered free shipping, could have everything delivered on the same day, and they weren’t quite as expensive as IKEA. So last Friday I was the man that every UPS driver hates when about 8 fully grown human-sized packages showed up my door. That’s when the real fun began.
Also, as a quick aside: You know what I really love? When a company treats me like I’m a normal person with a sense of humor. Whoever Wayfair gets their furniture from does an incredible job of making their instructions fun and appropriately insulting enough to be entertaining.
For example, the bookshelf instructions all said “To hold all those books you’ll never read.” which I really appreciated. More companies should take the time to make the boring things at least mildly interesting.
Anyways, fast forward to Saturday night and I’m sitting on my office floor surrounded by bookshelf components, instructions, and an intense feeling of shame as I start to wonder if I’m capable of putting a simple bookshelf together. That shame is the kind of existential dread that I’m not all that comfortable with. I felt like I was disappointing both my grandfathers and my Dad.
My very first job was with my grandfather who owned a roofing company. I’ve used a power drill since I was about 13 years old and learned to fix most things that broke around my home. I’m not the handiest man in the world, but I’m certainly not useless.
None of that matters whenever your furniture and it’s instructions feel like something straight out of Harry Potter.
I actually laughed out loud when the instructions for this bookshelf told me to “skip the power trip this time” and opt for a normal handheld screwdriver. What did they think? I was some dolt incapable of handling a power tool?