The Saga Of The Shelving

There once was a house on a hill.

The house was neither large nor overly small, and was in fact just large enough for two people to live happily in them.

Or, in fact, for one person to live in comparative happiness while the other slowly began to hate the world, one person at a time.

Yet I digress.

So, we rented this place as of exactly one month ago. When we got it, it had no furniture at all and we spent a week sleeping on camp beds (LoneCat) and a Futon (Me) (The futon was in the front room, which has the twin benefits of facing a bright street lamp during the night and East during the morning). Yet after a while, we acquired furniture: Sofa, beds, table, chairs and a sideboard. Also after a while, my desk and bookshelf (The only furniture I own) were withdrawn from storage. This means that between two book-geeks with many three-quarter metre cubed boxes of books between them had one (1, singular, uno, two divided by two) small bookshelf.

Except that when it was taken down, the bookshelf base had split, leaving us with Zero, Zap, Nada and no book-cases that would actually hold books without falling over, and a lot of short planks of wood.

My solution was two-fold, first was to create shelves from the planks of wood and the boxes; second was to cast “Summon Ikea” and get shelving.

So, project one then. We have four large boxes devoid of content, between and on top of the first two boxes goes the left hand side of my original bookshelf. This is held in place by the shelf-holders (metal pins) which stick out of the plank, those pins were punched though the top of the boxes, holding the shelf in place over the horizontal plane. On top of these boxes go two more boxes, with the right hand side of the shelf between those. The first shelf is then loaded with two piles of books stacked vertically to half the height of the boxes and one of the shelves of the original book-case on top of those, giving me two shelves of space, which I filled. The same stacking system is then placed on the second shelf, and a third set of two boxes is put on top of the second to weight it down. These shelves are then filled with books, CDs, DVDs, computer hardware and yet more books, while the clothes are dumped into the remaining boxes.

At this point your humble narrator wanders online to Ikea’s website.

Ikea is a company who make furniture that is rotatable and stackable. All of it. It’s mostly all wooden, it’s all designed to fit together with other Ikea furniture, and they do modular shelving units which you can erect, modify, take down, buy new bits for, make watertight, paint, climb on and otherwise abuse. It’s like what would happen if Lego made shelves, it’s great, and it attracted me because a) it’s geeky, and b) it means that when I have an actual job, I can extend it to take more Stuff.[Aftermath] So I was researching all this when from behind me came the loudest and most heart-breaking crash I have yet to experience as my entire Jerry-rigged shelving unit tipped forward and dumped Books, CDs, DVDs, Computer Hardware and yet more books upon the hard carpeted floor of my adopted bedroom.

At this point I discovered that not only was there no Ikea near Reading (or within a hundred miles, give or take), but also that I had to get to an Ikea in order to place an order. Solution One was now collapsed in an expensive heap that was going to make getting into bed complicated, and Solution Two had proven complicated. Right.

Solution 2b: Ask Parents (who have car) to go buy shelves for me from their nearest Ikea (Which is closer than mine, plus they have a car) and get them to deliver to Catrion Towers. Hah! Beat that, Fate!

Solution 1b you’ve already seen, my working station up until earlier today was three computers on a desk, each flat surface (and non-flat surfaces, such as monitor tops) piled three feet high with DVDs, books and CDs and yet more DVDs (The Yet More Books were still on the floor where Solution 1a had dumped them). This had one major up-side (It looked cool, and felt like working in an overfilled library) and two minor downsides (Lack of places to put Tea, and the fact that every so often a pile of DVDs would fall on my head). A better solution was required.

Solution 2b fell apart less literally than 1a when my parent reached Ikea and discovered that they were out of stock of some bits, and that shipping the others was going to cost more than the shelving did. By this point Shit had Gone Down and I couldn’t afford the shelving, and I certainly couldn’t afford the shipping. Thus with 1b causing occasional concussion and 2b being not to be, parents went on holiday and the shelving situation became slightly more static, with the occasional dynamism as a plank overflowing with books decided that flat surfaces were uncool, and diagonals were the way to go.

[Shelves]This morning parents bought me shelves. Yay.

The thing about flatpacks – especially easy assemble ones like these – is that I’m deeply cynical of them. I spent two years studying Design and Technology at school, and never made anything more complicated than a box with wheels. And the sides fell off that.

To say that I am bad at anything to do with wood-work is to understate quite heavily the situation. And to those who think easy assemble is just that, it’s not as easy as it looks.

Anyone who was watching the Web cam today would have seen the process of the shelves. It’s highly amusing. It started off with my careful consideration of the instructions, and then discovering they weren’t actually instructions, and that they were actually buying guides, I set forth.

Once I worked out that the staples that held in four little metal rods, and stopped me from being able to hook the shelves into place, were actually there to be removed so I could withdraw said metal rods and hook the shelves onto them, live became easier.

Me, In a mirrorSadly, this took me an hour.

The finished shelvesNevertheless, the shelves went up. The cross-brace braces the back, the little rods hold up the shelves, I have shelving once again.

I have a video of the web cam over the last day. It’s really cool. It’s also 79mb, because I lack the video-fu to make it smaller, anyone who has any great – free – ideas on this should contact me.

If I don’t post for some time, it’s because the shelf collapsed on me in the middle of the night.