Consumer GuidesMoving & Storage

Some Assembly Required

“Some” is such a vague word. You just don’t know how much work is involved until you open the package. Here are some tips to help you cope:

Always begin the assembly process soon after the purchase. That way, if you discover problems with the product you can readily get an exchange or refund.

When estimating assembly time, multiply your best hunch by three. If you think it will take 20 minutes, figure it will take 60 minutes.

Do assembly on a large uncluttered floor area, so you can more easily keep parts from hiding under furniture. Find the warranty and manufacturer information and move it out of the work zone and onto a desk or into a file. Otherwise, the paperwork will get lost or destroyed during the assembly process.

Do not throw away anything that has a picture of the completed project. Catalog pictures and other illustrations on the packaging may rescue you from inadequate instructions.

Sort all the parts and components.

Compare your piles of parts with the parts list in the package (if there is one). If any parts are missing, call the retailer or manufacturer. The retailer will usually recommend an exchange – often a laborious process. Manufacturers are more likely to send you (possibly by air express) the missing parts.

Skim through all the instructions to get a feel for the general flow of the work.

Gather all the necessary tools. Before implementing each assembly step, read the next two steps. This will help you determine whether you understand the instructions. Failure to read ahead will likely result in the need for redoing steps that you misinterpreted the first time.

If something doesn’t appear to fit, reread the instructions for that step and for surrounding parts. You may have made a mistake. If you are sure you’ve done everything correctly, finish reading the directions again before deciding to drill more holes or otherwise alter or force the components.

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