IKEA: Deconstructing My Feelings

All I wanted was a lamp.

Since moving to the Cozy Cottage, IKEA has become a champion for my journey to minimalism. Their furniture has clean lines, and a lot of it is built for small spaces. And it’s affordable. For example, our IKEA bed is the bomb. It has four huge drawers beneath the bed. It’s brilliant! We don’t even need a dresser.

But this last trip was … not good. It started out on a bright note, but by the time we got home, we were tired, frustrated, irritated with each other and … still didn’t have a lamp. It started me thinking … is IKEA really a champion for minimalists? Or is it the bane of our existence, with its labrynthian layout and low-cost/poor quality items that aren’t finished until we lug them home and pour our own sweat equity into the construction via Allen Wrench? It left me feeling confused.

I decided to work out my feelings about it on Facebook. This is my post from last Sunday:


TRIP TO IKEA IN 13 EASY STEPS [a love story]

1. OMG. We’re at IKEA! I love IKEA
2. Look at all the great stuff!
3. Where am I? Didn’t I already pass this display?
4. OMG! I love this [thing I have to assemble myself]
5. Where are you?
6. Do you like this [thing I have to assemble myself]?
7. Why don’t you like it?
8. What do you mean? I don’t think it looks like that.
9. Well, if you don’t like it, then I’m not going to get it.
10. Fine.
11. OMG. I hate IKEA
12. Are you mad? I’m not mad. I think I’m just hungry and tired.
13. I’m sorry. But I still hate IKEA.


What followed was a very boisterous exchange of ideas and commiseration from many of my Facebook friends:

From Suzy: “The problem appears to be you missed a step–sit down at the restaurant and eat meatballs somewhere between Steps 6 and 11. Meatballs make everything better.”

From Amarelis:  “Too accurate. IKEA is always a good idea until you actually start shopping.”

Shannon: “I’m going tomorrow but have the item # and bin so I will be in and out! I’m convinced this is the way to do IKEA!”

Liz: “I bought glasses there once. It’s true, you get what you pay for. They were broken by the time I got home!”

Kathy: “I buy lingonberries by the case (way cheaper than anywhere else) because I make lots of Swedish chili in the winter!”

Mmmmm, Kathy, you tempt me with your talk of Swedish chili! Tell me, are the lingonberries kept in stock near the exit, or do I have to search for them somewhere on the third floor between duvet covers and the wine racks?

While I’m still left sorting out my feelings about IKEA, I do know one thing: I have some pretty awesome FB friends.

Rob sums it up best:

“I always get so Sklerf when I go there–at first it is Ploog, and then it gets Flurgen.”

Thanks for stopping by my blog. To sign up for my weekly newsletter that comes straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

The Reading Porch

Living in a small house means a little less privacy. Since buying our little house, we’ve had to reconfigure the way we live together as a family. For instance, three of our kids now share one bedroom, so there is no such thing as anyone here being alone in my room.

Most evenings, we are in our living room, doing a variety of things: homework, catching up on shows, knitting, practicing instruments. I like the way our family time is more concentrated in the small house. In some ways, our physical proximity causes some obstacles: Can you turn off your music? I’m trying to read. Or, Can you stop practicing? I’m trying to listen to my show. But I’ve watched my kids get better at communicating with each other as they work around the problems that arise. They are getting better at offering compromises, and seeing things from the other’s point of view. This show ends at 8:30. Can you wait and practice when it’s over?

For this reason, the best room in the house is just off the living room, in the back. I call it the Reading Porch, because that’s what I like to do back here. But it’s also the Writing Porch, the Homework Porch, the Mommy-and-Daddy-Have-to-Have-a-Private-Conversation Porch. The light streams in during late afternoon. On summer evenings, the windows are all flung open to allow in the warm breeze and the sound of crickets and cicadas. In the Fall, we turn on our little heater and warm our feet and wrap ourselves in a blanket. The fact that it’s not really weatherized is what makes it special: Sometimes it’s too cold out there during winter. Then, we can only look through the sliding glass door and look at it longingly, hoping for a warmer day.

IMG_1141

There’s an autumn chill in the air today, but the Reading Porch is still warm and cozy, which is why I’m out here instead of doing adulty things like errands or laundry. Those things can wait. It’s quiet out here, and I have a few chapters I’ve been wanting to read …