Surviving Ikea


Yesterday say us make (another) trip to Ikea  To be fair, it was the first of 2014. But I was still psychologically bruised from last summer’s multiple visits, I didn’t relish the tough of a repeat.

I know. You’re probably wondering why anyone would choose to sacrifice some precious weekend time for a visit to Ikea. Well, we have a Fiat 500L as a test-drive all weekend, so we thought we’d make the most of it and do some shopping.I know, right? Rock. And. Roll.

Nobody should undertake a trip to Ikea on a whim. It’s not like going to any other shop. Really. While a wonderful source of everything-you-might-need-for-the-home, it’s also a source of pain, frustration, arguments and tears.

I was, frankly, *dreading* Ikea on a Saturday morning. But it turned out to be painless. You just have to follow these simple steps and you you too can have a stress-free weekend visit to the Swedish home of flat-pack home-wares:

Make a list

Seriously, it’s a rookie error to go to Ikea on spec and just pick things up as they occur to you. You’ll never fit it all in your car and you’ll spend a small fortune on crap. Be ruthless, avoid picking up anything that’s not on your list unless it’s something that will solve a major problem in your life.

Have breakfast before you leave home

This means you won’t be tempted to start your visit with a frustrating visit to their “restaurant” for a cheap, fat-ridden breakfast of meat of indeterminate origin. You’ll also be less irritable due to unstable blood sugar and less likely to try to murder random toddlers.

Get there as early as possible

There are – I kid you not – people for whom a visit to Ikea is a day out. They tend to meander and wander through the store, effectively slowing you down. Only the most task-focussed people will be there early. At 9:55 yesterday morning, Ikea was full of domestic ninjas, silently striding through the store and picking up things that were on their *list*.

Skip the showroom

Its very purpose is to make you buy more. Walk straight past and head for the marketplace, clutching your list (see above) tightly in your hand.

Avoid the “bargain” section next to the checkout

The only reason things are in this section is because they’ve either been returned by someone (who damaged it), been on show in the showroom (and got damaged) or somehow fell over in store (and got damaged). What you’re actually looking at is a pile of cheap, but damaged furniture.

Once you’ve move on from student digs, this should no longer be relevant when the full price is still so cheap.

Okay, so there are a few exceptions to the above. If you’ve set your heart on a piece of furniture, but can’t visualise it or want to check the quality, then a quick trip to the showroom is a must. But be ruthless here too, sprinting to the relevant section.

And very occasionally, there will be a bargain next to the checkout. Just check very, very carefully why it’s there. Who could say “no” to a £50 sofa? Well, you could if you don’t have a big enough car to take it home. Or don’t need a new sofa. You’re not saving a penny if you don’t need a new sofa in the first place.

My “Ikea skillz” meant that we were in and out in an hour, which included a brief stop in the food shop to get some their very moreish Swedish mustard. (No, I don’t want to know what’s in it, I just want it in my pastrami sandwiches).

The remainder of the day didn’t involve bitter recriminations and a damaged relationship. And that can only be a good thing, right?

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