Thursday, 17 September 2015

ms-havachat's heading to IKEA - again!

What is it with Ikea and expats?

It's one of the first places we go to when we first arrive in a new city, after the supermarket. If you mention to someone you need a piece of furniture they will tell you 'go to Ikea'.

This is truly a GLOBAL BRAND.

The stores are exactly the same on the outside, regardless of where you are:


Japan (we spent many summer days here so the kids could
play in the air conditioned play centre)



Inside is the same too, just the language used in the signs and currency are different.

Even the annoying one way pedestrian system is the same.

It's an odd, sobering thought that no matter where you go in the world, Ikea will be there, same as you're used to, offering you storage solutions and things you never knew you needed til you saw them at reasonable prices.

Each place we've lived, we've headed to Ikea within a month or so of arriving.

There's often one more cupboard needed to help with lack of storage issues; or something was broken in the move and needs replacing. Plus, their bits'n'bobs are FANTASTIC.

We need lots of additional storage space as our new place. I've had to stop unpacking the kitchen stuff cos there's no where to put things. Who ever designed the kitchen needs to go back to design school, or even spend time in a kitchen to understand the ridiculousness of it.

No one wants to spend money unnecessarily, especially on items needed for 'now' as they probably won't be needed next move. Things like this are either given away or sold to a new family who arrives just as you are leaving, for a fraction of the price you paid.

The thing with Ikea, is it is attractive. It's well designed. It's well priced. And cos you have to build it yourself, it offers quality family time on the weekend.

I've been googling second hand furniture, looking on eBay and Gumtree for the things we need to no avail. Looks like Ikea will save the day yet again.

The other thing with Ikea is their food hall! Their meatballs are delicious! So are their frankfurts.

In the heat of Japan's summers, we would car pool several families to Ikea for the day. The kids would go into the air conditioned play zone, while we would stroll the store (there's always something you need once you are there) and have a quiet coffee before it was time to collect the kids. We'd all have lunch then drive home. Great day out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wonder if people do this in the colder climates in winter months?

Ikea is NOT a place to take (some) husbands. They don't get the philosophy.

You are expected to walk out with at least 5 additional items than on your list.

A few tips on a successful Ikea trip:

  • Leave husband and kids at home (if possible)
  • If you need your husbands help, leave the kids with a friend. 
  • Go midweek with the girls, make your choices, then shop online. 
  • Don't go on the weekend.
  • Take the big trolley - you know you want to. 
  • Take measurements of the spaces you need to fill.
  • Take a tape measure to measure the items you like to make sure they fit where you want them.
  • If you have prints to frame, take the actual print with you as their frames come in many dimensions, some of which make no sense at all. 
  • It's funny how easy it is to forget the colour scheme you are aiming for. Take a photo or write it down. 
  • Go in a car that has a large boot, or the seats can be taken down to fit all the stuff you buy. Nothing more annoying than a successful shopping trip and you can't get it home. 
  • Take a freezer bag for the meatballs.
  • Take a list with you. You'll always find there's things that distract you, so best to keep focused with a list.
  • Count the candles you already have - you may not need more.
  • Ask for help in the self serve section, some of those boxes are very heavy!
  • Have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I dream of purpose designing our own home. Of deliberately choosing the colour schemes and appliances. Shopping for specific pieces of furniture for the rooms from independent shops or having something bespoke crafted, and knowing that it'll stay there forever.

PS: This was a random chat about Ikea. I don't know anyone who works there, nor have I been asked to write this. It's just my opinion based on our experience these past 9 years as expats.

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