Sadly, we're now far away from an IKEA. So when the pile of shoes and baseball caps in the laundry-slash-mudroom finally sent me over the edge, I looked to Target for a solution. (Actually, I went to Home Depot first, but they had next to nothing in organization.)
I came home with two shelf/drawer things for a not-extraordinary amount of money (one 15-cubby organizer and one two-drawer organizer the same size) and set about assembling the cubby one as soon as the kids were in bed.
"Oh," I thought as I opened the box (actually, after I opened the box, it was too hard to open), "this is going to be fine! It's packed flat just like IKEA, so it will go together just like IKEA!" (IKEA — Even more fun than Lego!)
Uh oh. I couldn't tell you the exact difference, because all the screws and cam locks and stuff looked pretty much like IKEA, but it was way less fun than IKEA (hey, it was way less fun than Lego, too, come to think of it). The assembly method was pretty similar (except that you had to provide your own screw driver where IKEA always gives you a nifty little alan wrench). But the instructions were dumb. The diagrams were cramped and unenlightening, which they tried to make up for with lots of words.
IKEA's diagrams have no words. Because they're good. (Same with Lego, come to think of it.)
So it wasn't quite a joyful experience of assembly flow, but I got the thing together fine. And then I got to the part where I was supposed to nail the cardboard (seriously, thin cheapo cardboard) backing onto the shelf. There were helpful pre-marked dots for the nails and all the instructions said was, "be careful not to angle nails." Well, duh, I rolled my eyes to myself... and proceeded to split the melamine coating off the particle board in at least three places.
Two of those were my fault, I guess, in angling the nails? Or not aligning the cardboard perfectly so the holes ended up a little too close to the edge?
But in one spot I had driven the nail just fine, exactly where it told me to, which was right at the end of a board with an unsupported corner. With naked particle board edges on all abutting sides, the corner of white melamine just split right off in a nice big flap.
I was pissed.
It probably wouldn't be fair to say that I've never damaged an IKEA piece during the assembly process, but it's rare. With ClosetMaid, it seemed impossible to avoid.
The upside is, the second unit went together more smoothly the next morning (thanks to more sleep and learning from experience, plus "help" from the kids! whoop!) and the two together have seriously improved the laundryroom, even though the cubby organizer is much smaller than it seemed like it was going to be, so only the kids' shoes can actually fit a whole pair in one cubby. Mine can only fit one shoe per hole and Mr. Right's gigantic shoes don't fit at all. I cleared off the junk we'd stuffed on the top shelf of the closet and that's where he gets to keep his shoes now.
So, uh, you can probably tell I'm a little cranky (can you tell that the box definitely showed shoes in those cubbies?). I wish I'd thought to take a "before" picture for you, it would have been more fun if I had. But I'm not going to make the mess all over again just to show you. :) Here's the "after," split in two because the room is too narrow to get a full picture at once:
Henceforth all my particle board furnishings will be coming from IKEA. And that's what I call standards.