Thursday, February 4, 2016

IKEA And The Cubes

My middle boy is the kind of kiddo who likes to jump right into the center of things without reading the directions or asking anyone for help. He prefers the challenge of going into things "blind" and problem solving any snags as he goes. He'll pick an activity and totally focus on nothing but that for months at a time until he masters it. He's done this with the yo-yo, cup stacking, Guitar Hero, even playing catcher in baseball. Once he's got something down pat, however; he quickly loses interest and is ready to move on to the next adventure. Such was the case with the Rubik's Cube.
He loved  figuring out how to solve the Rubik's Cube and all its twisty puzzle cousins. He carried them everywhere we went- twisting and turning them in line at HEB, while he was getting his braces tightened or even in between bites at the dinner table. Simply put, the kid was obsessed.  However, after about 6 months of this, the cube began to lose its hold on him. He'd gotten to where he was able to consistently solve the puzzle in about 11 seconds flat. Hoping to increase the difficulty again, he began using only his feet to work the cube. This slowed him down to 8 minutes, but the sad truth just couldn't be avoided any longer. The thrill was gone. He tossed all the cubes into a shoe box and slid it under his desk.
Years passed and we moved to New Jersey. After stepping around the shoe box in his room for the last couple of months, I decided the puzzles needed a more permanent home. So this is what I did.
I went to IKEA and got 3 floating shelves for a whopping $9 each and used these tools to put them up on the wall. The most important item in this group is the drywall anchors. They're designed to keep shelves from pulling out of the wall when your boys yank down on them. No one knows why boys do stuff like that, but they always do and a mama needs to be proactive. Trust me on this- drywall anchors are your friend.
Here's Reagan's room. Yes, it was a disaster area in there and yes, I cleaned everything up before I took this picture. In all honesty, cleaning his room was the hardest part of this project.
Here's a view of the other side of his room and the empty wall that's been driving me crazy. I've known for a while it's needed something, but I wasn't sure what to put up there. Thank goodness I finally had an IKEA "Aha Moment".
The first thing I did was to use blue painter's tape (in the same length as each shelf) to figure out the exact placement of my shelves. As tempting as it may be, do yourself a favor and don't skip this step. It will save your sanity and unnecessary holes in your wall.
Next, we placed the first shelf directly on top of the tape and made sure it was level.
I used the screw to mark the drill hole by pushing it in slightly. Keeping the shelf level, I marked the other 2 holes.
We put the shelf down on the floor and removed the blue tape. The drill holes were easy to see and Graham drilled the white drywall anchors into each hole mark.
We lifted the shelf back onto the wall and, starting with the middle hole, drilled the screw into the drywall anchor. This secured the shelf to the wall. Checking to make sure we were still level, we screwed in the remaining 2 screws.
Quick note- see these little stickers? They come with your IKEA shelf and are meant to cover the screw heads so they disappear from sight. Do not accidentally throw these away and have to go digging through a trashcan of last night's spaghetti to find them. Not that I had to do that or anything. Just saying.
They're just a little black circle, but they definitely make a difference. See what I mean? I have only one sticker on this shelf and it makes the screw head completely disappear.
Now just repeat the same process for the other two shelves. Graham switched out to a smaller level for the remaining shelves, and it made our lives so much easier. If you have a small one like this at your house, I highly recommend using it from the start.
Here's a picture of the completed project. The cubes and puzzles look like a million bucks up there and they finally have a home to call their own.
I even threw in a Ron Swanson bust and Einstein bobblehead for good measure. I love how it all turned out- it was incredibly easy to do and I was finished in no time. Too bad I can't say the same thing about having to clean his room.

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