7 Ways to Survive IKEA With Your Relationship Still Intact

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Today’s post about surviving IKEA is also running over at Mamamia today.

There is nothing more exhilarating than a weekend trip to IKEA with your significant other in tow. Here are seven ways to survive the chaos of your Scandinavian shopping trip and emerge with your relationship still intact.

  1. The Early Bird Catches the Werna

If you want your relationship to emerge unscathed from a trip to IKEA, one of the most crucial aspects is timing. Only the strongest relationships can survive a Saturday afternoon trip to IKEA, so you need to think carefully about the timing of your visit.

All the experts agree: you need to leave early.

Don’t get up and make yourself a Nespresso. Don’t meander down to your local patisserie for a pain au chocolat. Don’t even shower. Leave. LEAVE NOW. Before it’s too late.

  1. Plan Your Purchases With Military Precision

IKEA is a high-stress environment. It’s confusing, overwhelming, chaotic. You know your house will never look like that but you gleefully participate in the lie anyway, stuffing your trolley with mismatching throw cushions and toilet roll holders.

You spot some funky thingamabob in a display and spend 45 minutes wandering around in confused circles, trying to locate the stock. You eventually stumble upon a bank of search terminals, only to realise you’ve forgotten what the bloody thing is called.

Honey, what was that funky thingamabob called? The red thing with the things? You know the one…

Fagelsta? Flackig? Fjalkinge? Forbluffad? @$#% it!

Alternatively, you find yourself staring at a wall full of wall clocks for 45 minutes. Paralysed by the plethora of choice, you give up and walk away empty-handed, plagued by the shame of your indecision.

The key to success in IKEA is to do your research beforehand.

Know your enemy. Have a hit-list. In-and-out. Clinical.

However, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray and – like a mouse lost in a stylish maze of Swedish design – you’re inevitably going to go and spend $300 on a trolley full of stuff you don’t need. Minus the wall clock you actually do need.

  1. Prepare for Disappointment

Have a plan, but prepare for disappointment.

Some things in life are inevitable: death, taxes and IKEA being out of stock of the ONE thing you really wanted.

You just travelled 50 frigging kilometres to be here and you’ll be damned if you’re going home empty-handed. You overcompensate for this disappointment by spending $300 on a trolley full of stuff you don’t need.

  1. Let It Go. It’s the Scandinavian Way.

These words of wisdom can slash your IKEA arguments by up to 90%.

Seriously. It’s only $11. Don’t go busting balls over this.

Sure, you have no idea what it does and you have nowhere to put it and you think it’s ugly and you don’t even need it, but… it’s $11.

Let it go.

Making a big deal about $11 in the grand scheme of the $300 your partner just blew on stuff they don’t need is nit-picky.

Forget it. Let it go.

  1. Don’t Take Children. Just Don’t.

Nothing spells D.I.V.O.R.C.E like a toddler at IKEA with explosive D.I.A.R.R.H.E.A.

Spend half an hour in IKEA on a Sunday afternoon and you will wonder how the human race ever reproduced itself at all. Be it the battering of your ankles by an army of tank-like prams or tribes of bratty kids clambering over Kallaxes and Klippans, your ovaries will literally pack it in after hours of crying, screeching, whining and wheedling. And that’s just the adults.

There’s a reason why the line to dump your kids at the IKEA creche is longer than the queue to the ladies toilets at a One Direction concert. Even so, it’s still shorter than the line-up at the bottle shop afterwards.

  1. Make Up Over $1 Hot Dogs Before Braving the Carpark

By the time you get to the end of your trip to IKEA you will feel flustered, irate and in genuine bewilderment as to why you ever shacked up with this argumentative stranger you call your significant other.

Nothing says make-up-sex-in-your-mouth like a $1 hot dog from the IKEA cafeteria. You will need this brief moment of reconciliation and respite from the in-store hordes before attempting to battle the carpark hordes. Once you get back to the car you can resume your arguments, with a particular focus on how you are going to fit $300 worth of stuff you don’t need into the back of your Hyundai i30.

  1. Foolproof Strategies for Assembling Flatpack

The best thing about a trip to IKEA is that the arguments don’t stop once you get home: there’s flat-packin’ to be done.

All it requires is above-average dexterity, the spatial intelligence of a Mensa candidate, the patience of a saint and a few simple resources:

  • Allen key
  • Two bottles of wine
  • Swedish-English dictionary for Scandinavian-themed swear words
  • Live Skype session with your relationship counsellor


Seven simple steps to a house full of stylish Swedish furniture and a functional relationship with your significant other.

21 thoughts on “7 Ways to Survive IKEA With Your Relationship Still Intact

  1. A friend of mine had her waters break about a third of the way round the Ikea maze – she couldn’t possibly consider going back AGAINST THE ARROWS so she marched on, dripping amniotic fluid and groaning every few steps. Her husband then made her wait while he picked up some meatballs before they drove to the hospital!

  2. I love me some Ikea. We live nearly two hours away from our nearest store which is probably a good thing. It means that Mr Minion will never travel that far with me – freeing me up to chuck unneeded & unknown item after unneeded & unnknown item. Racking up a final bill greater than our weekly grocery shopping bill (with 8 people in our house it ain’t cheap!)
    Our deal is I buy it I assemble it. Another good thing when you are the only adult who actually reads instructions rather than assuming to know how the designers mind worked when putting together their flat packed masterpiece.

    • Oh man, that’s a good safe buffer. We have one opening up within 30 minutes of us. DANGER! DANGER!! I’m dreadful at practical things, so I defer all of the flat-packing responsibilities to my husband. It makes him feel special 😉

  3. We live very close to an IKEA and it’s one of the tornadoes favourite places (it could be worse – Sizzler anyone?). Handy Hubby is a gun at IKEA flat pack furniture as he does it for work all the time. He knows all the exits and sneaky ways to bypass the path to get to the registers quicker. If we can withstand IKEA together, we can do anything! And yes – it’s a certainty that I will always walk out of the store having bought something. Have you seen their new stationery and wrapping paper?! Think I might have a problem Zilla…

    • Ooooh, no, I haven’t!! I am counting down until June, which is when one is just about to open about 30 minutes from here (that’s considered “close”, for the record). I also have a big, empty house to fill that I am moving into in three days….

  4. Is something wrong with me? I could barely read your post because my attention kept getting taken away to those short repetitive videos. My brain felt like it was going to explode. Maybe that the desired effect, as that’s almost exactly how I feel when I go to Ikea. We always find something is out of stock and we live 2.5hrs away from the closest Ikea! So annoying. Our last adventure was fun. We were child free but on a time constraint. We actually used the short-cut doors but it was so hard to go past things I didn’t need. And, yes I think our bill was $300. ha!

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