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16 Out-of-Context IKEA Instructions to Help You Live a Better Life

Ikea.com
Ikea.com

Printed without words, IKEA instructions are meant to be used around the globe. Someone in Tokyo can build his KLÄPPE swivel chair from the same booklet as a college kid in her Maryland dorm.

This saves the Swedish furniture manufacturer tons of money in printing costs, but it also serves a surprising purpose: Taken out of context, certain pages and details from IKEA instruction books can be interpreted as guides to living a fuller and more happy life. Here are 16 examples.

1. Relax

You earned it. Follow steps 1-3 as shown above for maximum relaxation. If you don't feel like going all the way, stop at step 2. This is you time.

2. Wash Your Garbage

Sanitation workers will appreciate and even look forward to your spring-fresh bag of trash on collection days.

3. Attach Wheels to Your Pet Starfish

Now he's the fastest echinoderm on the block. Look at him go!

4. The Area Behind the Knee is Very Sensitive

It's a little-known erogenous zone, as demonstrated by the shaded "heat" sphere above.

5. There's Your Wallet

Right there, underneath that thing with all the other wallets.

6. Have a Beer

Long day? Kick back with a cold one or two, which will be floating in space for you to grab when you're ready.

7. Stefan Is Gone

And he's never coming back. Time to move on.

8. Check Under and Inside Your Grand Piano Twice a Year

There may be loose change or even forgotten treats that have accumulated down there. Best to make sure.

9. Don't Be Glum

There's a daybed right behind you. Lie down for a bit and think about things that'll cheer you up. Remember the Home Improvement episode where Tim enters the lawn mower race? That was a good one. Think about that.

10. Diving Boards Make Great Presents

Attach a bow to the bottom to give your gift some decorative flair.

11. Look Up

There, at those branches. Fall is around the corner; you can tell by how the leaves are changing color.

12. Do Squats

A great butt isn't given, it's earned.

13. Start At the Top Right Square for Tic-Tac-Toe

It's the secret to winning this classic game.

14. Fonzie Melted

Fold up what's left of the King of Cool for easy storage.

15. You Only Really Need Two Keys

Why are you lugging around that loaded keychain? Free up some much-needed pocket space by streamlining.

16. No Sketches of Punch and Judy

A hastily drawn outline doesn't do these beloved characters justice.

[All images from IKEA product instructions. Source Products: Karlstad, IKEA PS, Mysinge, Pax Tonnes, Premiar, Rakke, Rationell, Smaldal, Stefan, Tylosand, Udden, Verner, Vreta]

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Live Smarter
Your Dresser Is a Serious Tipping Hazard. Here's How to Fix It
iStock
iStock

When it comes to household safety, we’re used to potentially hazardous items being clearly labeled. Hair dryers come with warnings not to use them in the shower; volatile cleaning products implore us not to drink them. But some of the most significant items carrying actual mortality rates are largely ignored: common living room or bedroom furniture.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 30,000 people were treated in emergency rooms from 2014 to 2016 as a result of furniture tipping over on them. Children are at particular risk of being injured or worse when they attempt to climb a dresser or TV stand. As Consumer Reports points out, these items do not have to conform to any universal manufacturing standard and can easily become unstable regardless of their weight, cost, the child’s weight, or other variables. Injuries are also seen when children tug on the furniture or attempt to climb inside the drawers. Since dressers are often in a child's bedroom where they can play unsupervised, the potential for an accident is high.

In testing performed by Consumer Reports, no one brand or style stood out as being inherently safer than the others. So what can consumers do?

An illustration of a child climbing a dresser
iStock

One easy solution is to avoid putting televisions on top of these dressers, since they pose a high risk of falling on top of a child when the dresser is moved. More importantly, child safety advocacy groups advise that adults use anchoring systems for furniture in danger of tipping over. These kits are available via mail order or in retail stores and come with straps that are connected between the furniture and two wall brackets. If weight is applied to the front of the dresser, the straps will keep it from falling over.

Some furniture comes with these kits, or with L-shaped angle brackets. Both are effective, but included straps can often be plastic that degrades over time—they should be nylon or steel. If not, you should opt for a third-party kit.

Advocacy groups have found that a lot of consumers are either unaware these kits exist or find them difficult to install. But it's a relatively easy procedure so long as you secure the anchor into a wall stud and not into drywall, where it will be too loose to stand up to a weight-bearing load. For brick or masonry walls, it’s best to hire a professional. If you’re renting and have been told not to drill into the wall, consult your landlord—it’s likely they’ll agree to waive any restrictions to make for a safer living space.

[h/t NPR]

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Courtesy of Studio Segers
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Design
These Unique Benches Are Made From Yogurt Cups and Plastic Bags
Courtesy of Studio Segers
Courtesy of Studio Segers

When sent to a landfill, some plastic waste will sit there for centuries before breaking down. The Belgian design firm Studio Segers has found an alternative use for the plastic containers some people throw away by re-purposing them into innovative outdoor seating. This modular bench spotted by design milk is made from used yogurt cups, butter tubs, and plastic bags and is 100 percent recyclable.

Commissioned by the recycling company ECO-oh!, the H-bench consists of slender, plastic components. They come with or without backrests and are available in dark gray, medium gray, light gray, pastel green, pastel blue, and beige. Snap three of them together and you have a chair. Keep adding pieces to build a snug love-seat or a bench long enough to fit a crowd.

Recycled bench.
Courtesy of Studio Segers

The seat is designed to be customized to suit the user’s taste. Chair backs can face one way or alternating directions; the bench can feature multi-colored stripes or a uniform shade; one side can have seat backs while the opposite end is built for laying down.

The makers didn’t skimp on quality to make their product sustainable: The H-bench is made from plastics called polyolefins, which means it's durable enough to stay strong and vibrant even in harsh outdoor conditions. Get a closer look at the smart design in the video below.

[h/t design milk]

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