Sunday, June 5, 2011

Storage Cubes

A few weeks ago, I shared the frustration of trying to put together a mobile file cabinet with minimal instructions. So, you’d think I’d have learned not to buy things without checking for instructions first, right?

Well, not really as I’d bought two sets of these Rubbermaid Storage Cubes about a month before I bought the cabinet. I hadn’t opened these yet as I didn’t intend to assemble them until I had the oak wardrobe in here. I had planned to put the cubes inside the wardrobe to store clothes from my dressers in. There is a rod inside the wardrobe for hanging things, but the depth of the wardrobe was not sufficient for my non slip hangers unless they hung at an angle. That would have severely limited the amount I could hang. I decided that I was better off to leave things hanging in the built in closet and use the wardrobe for cube storage.

I spent quite awhile looking for something solid, yet reasonably priced that would fit inside. I finally settled on the Rubbermaid cubes as they were sturdy, durable and a name brand with a good reputation. They were also on sale.

So they sat in the packaging for about a month before I opened them. It just so happened to be the same week that I attempted the cabinet assembly.

When I did open the package I was dismayed to see the lack of instructions:

Yup, that was it! One drawing. Oh goody! I looked online but found only the assembled picture on sites that were selling the cubes. I couldn’t even find the cubes on the Rubbermaid site!

I made several attempts but no matter what I tried, the pieces always popped apart. I tried several times over several days but nothing seemed to work! I was beginning to wonder if I had wasted my money and that I would have to buy something else. Of course, after I’d bought the cubes and before I opened them, I did see collapsible storage boxes on sale at a local office supply store. They also would have worked well. I didn’t buy them though as it was past the date to return the cubes. I was stuck with these and I’d somehow have to figure out a way to make them work!

For awhile, I wondered if this was one of those two person jobs, so when my gal pal came to help me assemble the cabinet, we tried putting these together to.

No such luck. It was a true effort in frustration.

The next day, I was sitting here at the computer, when I had one of those proverbial light bulb moments! The diagram had shown connecting a corner at a right angle, but what if I attached the corner pieces on a back panel and then built up?

It took quite a bit of time and I still had some pieces pop off as I went along. I took several breaks to keep from getting too frustrated and to think through what the most logical next move would be, but I finally got one set put together. I also took time to make notes on how I did it as I went along. That way, the second set would go together much more easily.

I waited a couple of days before attempting the second one. I refined my notes as I went along and also took pictures so that I could show you how I did it!

Putting together Rubbermaid Storage Cubes:

Through previous trial and (much) error, I knew I had to start with a back panel as the rounded sections of the connectors are the hardest to get in properly. It finally dawned on me that I if I laid the back panels on the floor, I could use the wall and my feet as supports/braces to push the pieces against as I tried to put it together. By far the hardest pieces to get into place would be the four back connectors that are used between the second and third shelves as they have to lock in four or five places. The panels and connectors "popped" a number of times and pieces did fly off but they eventually stayed together.

I also had to gently use a hammer on a number of places to give more pressure to locking the pieces into the little grooves in the connectors. Once they are locked in properly, they don't come out to easily. I know this because when I was putting the first set together, I accidently put a panel where it should have been open and it was a real pain to get it out without the whole thing falling apart!

Putting the second set of cubes together went much more smoothly than the first and was done in under an hour – including making notes and taking pictures.

1. Start with the back panel on the bottom shelf and attach all four connector discs.

2. Using your feet to push against the corner connectors, carefully push each of the four side panels into the connectors of the first back panel.

3. Attach the connectors to the top of the first layer. Again, use your feet as a brace as the connectors on the bottom can still pop out.

4. Using the wall as a brace, push the second back panel into the connectors of the bottom cube and then attach the two back connectors for the middle cube.

5. Add in the two side panels and the next top panel. Then add the next two top connectors.

6. Add the back panel of the top layer and then the two side panels.

7. Attach the back connectors to the top layer.

8. Then add the top panel.

9. Finally add the two front connectors and ensure that all pieces are solidly locked into place.

Like I said, pieces will more than likely "pop" off at various times but if you persist it will eventually stay in place. It may be necessary to use a hammer to tap the connectors and panels together - especially in the middle section.

The two sets of cubes give me lots of shelving space in my oak wardrobe. Of course they can be used for any number of other purposes and are a versatile, inexpensive addition to any space.


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