When I was asked to wrote about my experience using product manuals my mind went back to our attempts to build Squidgy and Pickle' s bed... and how much of a nightmare it was using the illustrated manuals provided in the box... I decided to write this post about how we're making the most of the small space in our home and how instuction manuals are helping (or not...)
I love a bit of DIY but I do struggle if the instructions aren't very clear. When we moved to Watford we had to massively downsize and it left me with the task of having to find ways to make the most of the space. This has resulted in a lot of flat pack furniture, from bookshelves to bathroom cabinets to the girls' bed.
When I put the book shelves back together, I didn't need the instructions. They are pretty self explanatory and it was obvious that parts only went in one place. The instructions were lost a long time ago (some of them we have had for nine years!) so it's probably a good thing that they're easy to make.
As for the bathroom cabinets, I was impressed by the step by step guide. All parts were numbered, all the instructions were clear and within no time at all, complete with electric screwdriver in hand (let's be honest, who want to screw in by hand anymore!) I had built an under-the-sink cupboard.
The second one was even easier, with a few pieces that slot together like a 3D jigsaw and some small screws to hold it together, it took minutes for me to follow the pictures in the illustrated manual and put it all together... and it couldn't have been any tighter to fit in the spot I had measured for it behind the door. It was a good job their measurements weren't off!
Then the bed arrived. Having bought a budget triple sleeper bunk bed, it was always going to be a bit more of a task to put it together; but when we opened the box the instructions were about as clear as mud. Even better, the numbers on some of the bed parts were illegible, and even rubbed off a couple! Trying to work out which piece was which was a bit of a faff at that point.
I tried to get all the parts ready, so that when John came up to help me later on it would be easier for us, but we just ended up guessing a lot of it based on the pictures. The girls wanted to join in which despite being a little stressful (Pickle, I'm looking at you trying to steal the hammer to hit your sister...) actually made it easier to cope with the hours we ended up sitting on their bedroom floor working it all out.
I missed having step by step instructions, but in the end it wasn't too bad and we got it all together. I think that it could have done with a bit better technical documentation to make it easier to build, but I am certainly glad that it is over, for now. I am not looking forward to the day we move again and have to try and take it down and re-build it!
Ultimately though, I'm doing alright following the instructions to build new things to make our smaller home work just as well as our last much larger one did, and the girls absolutely love their new bed... and that, after all, is the most important thing.
With thanks to Manualise for giving me the inspiration to talk about using instruction manuals around my home.