Jenifer Beaudean

Seeker of Simplicity and Executive Coach

The Fun that is Ikea

Ikea boxes
Our boxes at Ikea (New Haven, CT)

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Ikea, but it’s got a setup that’s a bit like a maze. And from a marketing and sales perspective, it’s pretty brilliant. The store takes you on a winding path through various showrooms where it showcases the many pieces of clever furniture that you can purchase (and assemble yourself). It’s the store you can’t get out of, and somehow (at least initially) don’t want to leave.

Downsizing has meant that the right storage is critical in small spaces – and we’re realizing that we don’t quite have the right configuration. So….

There we stood in Ikea. And walked. And then stood, for nearly three hours – much longer than either of us anticipated. But this is the thing with Ikea. Before you know it, you’re buying three pieces of furniture instead of one (all of which come in flat boxes – that’s the assembly part I mentioned earlier). And that’s just the upper floor. On the lower floor, which has everything from linens to cutting boards, you go from having nothing to an armful of bath mats, a new clothes hamper, and rug for the front door. All of sudden you need a cart. You didn’t have one before, but now you need one.

Basically? Ikea sucks you in.

In a good way.

I came home with my right foot blistered… as I made the unwise decision to wear my favorite Michael Kors heels to the shopping outing, thinking, “We won’t be there long.” (Rookie move – wearing heels to an outing that requires standing for three hours). But I hung in there and we walked out with 290 pounds (literally) of cabinets that barely fit in the truck. (Apparently Ford Motor Company did not compare notes with Ikea regarding the Billy bookcase).

Shoes by Michael Kors

Fast forward to this past Tuesday. With little space left in the “little house” for assembly of two 79” cabinets, we put a tarp down on the uneven brick patio outside and got down on our hands and knees to read diagrams in which there are large warnings about bookcases tipping and diagrams that make it clear that you will be happier if you make this a two-person job. There are instructional pictures of shelving pieces with umpteen dowels and screws that all have to go in the right hole in the right sequence. Is it easy? Not so much. But we did it.

All in all the project was fun, and resulted in two navy blue Billy bookcases for the tiny hallway, a white open shelving tower for the bathroom… and bath mats… and a mat for the front door and… a shoe bin (I think that’s everything).

I want to write something philosophical here like, “We felt a great sense of accomplishment,” or something about parts and pieces going together in life. But really? It’s simpler than that. It was all great fun and a great time spent together.

But don’t wear your heels.


9 Replies to “The Fun that is Ikea”

  1. Ikea is great! We picked up some really nice pieces there for Jonathan’s apartment in Chicago. Terrific prices!

  2. What were you thinking going to any store with those heels on, girl? Oh man. My arches hurt now. Word of warning, attach the shelf unit to the wall if possible, cuz I have heard they can tip. It’s fun to do a project together where you “build” something. It makes you feel like a team working on your home. Great story.

  3. I have never been to Ikea because of the legendary addiction. I don’t need a store addiction added to my already long list of marginally useful addictions. Like shoes-I really like those Michael Kors…

  4. All the things you said, they suck you in, make you buy stuff, and then you get to laugh and cry and accomplish stuff together. its GREAT! But if you start disagreeing on stuff – RUN – RUN FAST! its a really bad place to disagree and when you get upset its also hard to find your way out…….BAD place to have an argument. 🙂 Advice from an old pro. although – if it was really like this – you could never get me out:

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