Step 1: Buy furniture
i. Look around your apartment and decide what's missing. Allow yourself to sink into the void of material desire.
ii. Commute way out into the middle of nowhere (which is the only place where you can find Ikea). Spend 10 minutes trying to park between sloppily angled minivans despite the ridiculous size of the parking lot.
iii. Note the obnoxiously cheery blue and yellow facade with an enormous feeling of ambition and "getter done."
iv. Get lost trying to find the wheels to that chair you liked.
v. Try to find a dresser only to realize that they are all more expensive than you had expected. Settle on a cheap shelving unit of some kind.
vi. Get lost trying to find the faucet for your sink. Decide to have some Swedish meatballs in "the cafe" while you recover your strength.
vii. Forget what you came here for originally and start buying random cheap kitchen supplies whilst telling yourself: "But, it's only three dollars."
viii. Finally get to the bottom floor--the end--only it's not the end, it's aisle after aisle of cardboard boxes containing the things you just finished shopping for. Grunt while loading massive boxes with unknown heavy contents onto unwieldy cart.
ix. End up at the register only to remember that you forgot to get the legs to your coffee table.
x. Sheepishly fork over $500, wondering just what the hell cost $500 as you only got some book cases, shelves, and some cheapo kitchen crap.
Step 2: Bring furniture back to base.
i. Try to sort cardboard boxes into piles so you know which parts go with each other, only to find later that you've lost (or never grabbed?) that one box with all the nuts and bolts and stuff in it.
ii. Try to screw in thingy with allen wrench only to break allen wrench. Use allen wrench from other package.
iii. Break dowels and/or wind up with "extra" dowels. Yes, this was Ikea's fault. Not yours.
iv. Swear, curse, and blaspheme the stupid asexual Ikea blob thing who keeps pointing to some hole that doesn't exist but is supposed to apparently have a screw drilled into it.
v. Complete Ikea furniture with min. number of dowels necessary resulting in unwieldy furniture with incomplete appearance. Drink beer and take Tylenol until headache subsides using cardboard box as coffee table.
Step 3: Moving Out
i. List Ikea furniture on Craigslist. Note the excellent condition, full assembly and reasonable price.
ii. Wade through responses from lustful free section watchers who offer to take things off your hands for a maximum of $10.00 as well as random anonymous emails of men in leather chaps offering their BDSM services.
iii. Re-list all items at a mark down of 50%.
iv. Repeat step ii.
v. Finally, agree to sell two bookcases, some shelves and the kitchen supplies to some dude in Martinez for $50.
vi. Feel robbed and depressed. Drink beer and take Tylenol until happiness returns.
Step 4: New Apartment!
See Step 1.