Ah, the dreaded Allen key. Who even is Allen anyway? Damn Allen.
There are so many factors that make building IKEA furniture a stressful process. There’s the unusually complex instructions, different sized bolts and screws, the awkward structures that need to be held in certain ways to join together and the Allen key, which is supposed to be the key to everything but it’s just so stubborn.
There’s also the fact that IKEA prides itself on beautiful, minimal pieces, so when you’ve finished the build, it just doesn’t embody the blood, sweat and tears it took to assemble.
Psychologist Ramani Durvasula gives us an interesting insight into why IKEA can bring out our defensive side, pointing out that home decor is delicately mapped to your emotional identity.
“Couples that argue in IKEA, tend to argue about things related to which section they’re walking through. Arguments about sex happen whilst walking through the bedroom section and about cooking in the kitchen section, for example.”
This got us thinking, what does our flatpack stress say about us?
Countries most affected by IKEA stress
HouseHoldQuotes found almost 50,000 IKEA stress-related tweets across the globe, with the majority of Australia’s coming from Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Sydney. Although Australia isn’t in the top ten most stressed countries, we’re still pretty vocal.
Moscow, Russia, Quebec and Canada are the most-stressed cities, each with 60% of IKEA tweets manifesting pure stress, while Iceland comes in as the nation with the most amount of IKEA stress; 64%.
Are men or women more stressed by IKEA?
The data showed that men tweet their IKEA stress 40% more often than women overall, but when a woman tweets about IKEA, her tweet is marginally more stressful.
Although gender shouldn’t really come into who builds more furniture, it’s often the case that men get left with the assembling responsibility. Perhaps if we did our best to work together more, without feeling pressured or responsibility, there’d be less overall stress.
What is the most stressful IKEA item to assemble?
The sofa. Any sofa. The data shows that 50.57% of sofa-related tweets showed clear signs of true agitation. The struggle is real.
How to manage your IKEA-related stress
This data is quite startling. IKEA is super popular with almost everyone having something from IKEA in their home. This means that this IKEA-related stress is quite prevalent in everyday life.
Setting aside the right amount of time for an IKEA build is not to be overlooked. We recommend a day or two, depending on the piece. Only allowing yourself a few hours isn’t enough time for breakdowns and wine breaks, and spreading it out over more than a few days is painful and probably won’t motivate you to get the job done.
Finding the best person to support you through this unavoidable stress is also super important. Some couples can counterbalance each other’s stress, while others exacerbate it. According to Household Quotes, only 6% of couples regularly argue while shopping, but it increases drastically to 17% of couples argue when trying to assemble furniture at home.
Maybe getting a friend to come over with some snacks, some beverages and pump some upbeat tunes could be a better environment for you to forget your stress and have fun with the IKEA mess.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of quick meditation breaks. Download Smiling Mind or Headspace, find yourself a dark, cool room (the bathroom is perfect) and do a little 6-minute free meditation. Then voila!