AOC Livestreamed Herself Building Ikea Furniture — & We Learned Some Things

Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have asked Bobby Berk for help decorating her congressional offices, but when it comes to her Washington, D.C. apartment, it seems she's got things covered on her own. Last night, during an hour-long Instagram live, AOC showed off her impressive Ikea furniture-assembling skills.
At the start of her Instagram live, the congresswoman explained that because she has been so busy since moving to D.C. in January, she only just now purchased furniture for her home there. The first two items she opted for are a dark green GLADOM tray table and an ash LISABO desk both from Ikea.
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Now, if you've ever tried to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture, you know it can be frustrating, maddening, and sometimes even tear-inducing. Unsurprisingly, though, AOC not only kept her cool throughout the process, she also managed to share furniture assembling tips — and take on tough topics like Puerto Rican statehood at the same time. Since we so enjoyed hearing all of her thoughts during last night's Instagram live, we've compiled her tips that were most helpful for Ikea shoppers.

Organize your known variables first

When she first opened the box containing all the GLADOM tray table pieces, Ocasio-Cortez provided a quick problem-solving tutorial. "I learned this when studying economics. No matter what problem you're trying to solve, it's always a really good idea to organize your givens first. If you have a complex problem put in front of you, always organize your givens, the set facts you know about a situation. Write down the known variables." When it comes to putting together furniture, that means laying out all of the pieces and tools before you start, and that's exactly what AOC did.

Wait until all the screws are aligned, then tighten

Also while working on the GLADOM tray table, which AOC admitted was a pretty easy piece to put together, the congresswoman shared a piece of advice she once received about assembling Ikea furniture. She explained that in order to keep all the screws aligned, you should put each one in their spots and tighten only a little bit initially. Once they're all slightly screwed in, that's when you finish tightening them. "Tighten them up when all of the screws are in alignment and it helps you not break everything," AOC advises. She also highlighted that this trick is especially useful when dealing with furniture that is made out of particleboard, as many Ikea pieces are.
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Use the cardboard as a yoga mat

Always one to care deeply for the environment, Ocasio-Cortez found another use for the cardboard packaging her Ikea furniture pieces came in. "This is like a good yoga mat," the politician said while laying on the unfolded rectangle of cardboard. "I don't have a good yoga mat here yet, so I should just use cardboard." Okay, okay, this wasn't a serious suggestion from AOC, but honestly, we'd start using cardboard yoga mats if she told us to. Plus, it could work in a pinch.

Put ground pepper on popcorn

Throughout her hour-long Ikea Instagram journey, AOC was enjoying the ultimate busy woman's dinner: popcorn and white wine. When asked by a viewer what kind of popcorn it was, she shared that it was normal buttered popcorn, but then offered a game-changing tip. "I have a secret," the congresswoman explained. "I put ground pepper over my popcorn, and it adds a little savory dimension. Like Pop Secret but gourmet." We're definitely trying that out next time we need a snack to get us through the painful Ikea furniture-building process.
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