The five emotional stages of putting together a set of IKEA drawers.

Guys, I’m tired.

Last night I was awake until the wee hours, holed up in my living room, crying over an IKEA flatpack set of drawers.

It’s a story we’ve all heard before: girl goes to IKEA. Girl finds perfect set of drawers. Girl skims over instructions, decides it looks feasible, so girl buys drawers. Girl drags flatpack home.

~Disaster Ensues~


I’ll let you in on a little secret: until this point in time, I thought I was special.

I am from Norwegian heritage, and always considered places like IKEA made for no-nonsense people like myself. I always appreciated their reusable bag policy, and I am low-key famous for my ability to get in and out of the store in the time it would take to wolf down one of their hotdogs.

But yesterday, something changed.

The moment it all started to go downhill.

I wasn't on my A-game, I'll give you that. I was tired, I was moody, and I was accompanied by a friend who was not there as my usual IKEA wingman (bag holder, trolley pusher, hotdog eater) but as another punter with a long list of her own.

It was doomed from the start.

Two hours were spent wandering the display corridors (first expert tip: avoid the display corridors) as she browsed and I rode the trolley around like a teenager forced to go to Coles with mum.

By the time we were spat out at the plants section, I was four velvet-lined coat hangers, one pink ceramic pot, and a half-dead succulent deeper than I should have been, and ready to grab my flatpacks and leave immediately.


I rode my trolley down to Aisle 28, Location 25 and eyed off the Nordli flatpack dresser like a hunter staring down their prey.

You, I thought, you're mine now.

The beast that slayed me last night, commonly known in Swedish folklore as 'Nordli'. (Image: Pinterest)

Dragging it down off the shelf, I felt my first pang of doubt. It was heavy. Very bloody heavy.

Let's zoom through the 2 x hotdogs, and the dragging of the very-bloody-heavy-flat packs across the carpark, and the dragging of the very-bloody-heavy-flatpacks into my life, and the dragging of the very-bloody-heavy flat packs into my apartment living room.

Let's skip the unpacking and the broken fingernail and the missing screwdriver, and just jump straight into phase one of my Grand IKEA Meltdown.

Stage One: "Up Sh*t Creek."

As a seasoned IKEA campaigner, I have been known to put together a bookshelf with little more than enthusiasm and a Doc Marten boot.

But faced with three separate boxes (three?) that didn't appear to form a cohesive whole, I begun to have my doubts. What...what were these things? These little round spiral things? That's not a wooden peg. I've only ever used wooden pegs.

That moment when you open up the IKEA box and just think: I have made a grave mistake.

Stage Two: "I am woman, hear me roar."

It is my belief that IKEA instruction booklets are penned by highly manipulative Swedish psychologists, who know just how to suck you in long enough to make you feel capable - and then slam you by page 12.


So it goes without saying that pages 1 - 12 were a breeze.

Whistling as I worked, I was hammering in wooden pegs and screwing in nails like a professional. Before my very eyes, the base appeared. And then a drawer. And then another drawer. I felt like a Nordic God bringing the Nordli 6-drawer dresser into worldly existence.


Multiple manuals. One item. I do not understand.

Stage Three: "Fury. White hot fury."

Like Icarus, I flew too close and too soon. The fall from grace was, er, rather ungraceful.

Me to boxes: "How was it actually possible that there was not one, not two, but three manuals for the one item?"

Boxes to me:    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I had descended into a state of absolute fury and could not find a way out. Just moments ago I was mastering the drawers, and now the drawers were mastering me.

"What even IS THIS?" I asked the IKEA boxes again, seething. "What IS THIS thing?"

It was a round, screw-like thing that did not look like any part of a drawer I had ever encountered.

I threw it across the floor and kicked the couch.

It looks like a screw but IT IS NOT. It is like a small, metal, seashell; and on no point of the instructions could I see a small, metal, seashell.

Stage Four: "I'm not crying, you're crying."

After the tantrum came the tears. Sitting in a puddle of screws, wooden pegs, allen keys and half-assembled drawer frames; I conceded defeat.

It had been a long day, and as I stared at my cat, I realised that tonight would not be the night I welcomed the Nordli 6-drawer dresser into the world.


Meal plan for a meltdown: two IKEA hotdogs, a glass of stale Pinot, and a large slice of humble pie.

Stage Five: "Send in the guard."

When I was 16, I tried to wax my own bikini line.

Standing in my boarding room bathroom with little but a curtain separating my unfolding disaster and the girl next to me, I started in horror as the goopy blue wax dripped into my nether regions and onto the floor.

I won't tell you how it ended, but I can assure you that it is now a task I leave to the professionals.

So, after so many years believing my Nordic bloodline gave me some kind of special IKEA superpower, it was time to pass on the baton to the experts. I posted it on Airtasker.

As we speak, I am waiting for a hero to come and slay the Nordli beast once and for all.

Here is where I got to. Add in three and a half drawers, and it's not even close.

The day after the IKEA meltdown, and I am distantly aware of the Nordli corpse still sitting in my living room. I am hoping to get a call soon - very soon - from someone who can come and fix this for me.




There's a lesson in this for everyone, me thinks: don't turn your Nordli into a mountain. It is not a representation of how well you are coping with life at the moment. It is just a flatpack that makes no sense.

Be bigger than the Nordli.