I’ve always enjoyed the Ikea experience, some people hate it with a passion and I can understand why.  I mean it’s seemingly never-ending, thoroughly overcrowded and mostly full of crap you’re not there to purchase.  And no matter how hard you try, and for even the most efficient shopper, you can never just zip through.  Once you’re in there, you’re caught in a perfectly styled storage mecca trap, and you must shuffle through every section with seemingly millions of other helpless shoppers and disgruntled husbands.  On my most recent visit, I kept passing by this couple where the man was consistently walking two meters in front of his wife just saying “No, no, no”.  I must admit, I did get a tad frustrated at continually getting caught behind this one couple who insisted on holding hands. That’s definitely not Ikea etiquette by the way, save the romance for lunchtime over your Swedish meatballs and apple cider!

But apart from this small lapse in my devotion, I remain steadfast to the Ikea experience and the joy and organization it brings to my life.

Since being on maternity leave I’m spending a lot of time at home, and my sanity together with my floors are drowning beneath a sea of small people food crumbs and toys.  Last week I purchased my Dyson hand vacuum aptly named “the animal”, and this week I charged into Ikea, hell bent on finding storage for my living room so that I could literally sweep all of the mess from my lounge room floor into it, ready to be pulled out and played with again the next day.  I may have gone a tad overboard.  I almost gave myself a hernia hauling it all into the back of the Ute (I went prepared, not like those people who show up in a matchbox who you then see later in the car park scratching their heads and using every limb to try and ram these oversized boxes into their cars), and arrived home most pleased with my efforts.

My husband’s reaction when I got home wasn’t exactly one of joy, nor surprise.  As he scanned the full extent of my purchases, he honestly looked defeated and we’d not yet even unloaded all of the boxes.  In my defense I professed enthusiastically that I would be assembling it all myself during the week while he was at work.  I dare not tell him that when I’d been “researching” my purchases earlier in the week, I’d read an article where a leading psychologist had labeled the particular unit I bought as “The Divorce Maker”, such is its wrath on unsuspecting couples.

Needless to say, I did not assemble the three units myself whilst simultaneously navigating my full time motherhood duties during the week.  Just put it down as another one of my naïve and altogether over reaching ideas in regards to what I might actually achieve in my “spare time”.  It’s not without firm resolve that I have these ideas, and in this case I did indeed attempt the feat, but the sight of my nine month old swinging off a partially hinged cabinet door whilst waving a screwdriver in one hand gave me pause for thought.

So the weekend came around, and a few hours into a very wet and cold Saturday morning, my husband with hunched shoulders, picks up the trusty Ikea Allen-key and starts where my nine month old left off.  “Do you need any help?”, I ask.  In a tone much like the husband I observed in Ikea he replies, “No, no no”.  Okay then… Things seemed to be progressing quite nicely, with relatively little swearing when my Mum pops in.  “Are you sure that’s right”, she remarks the second she walks in.  “I think that top shelf is on backwards, see how…”.  “Mum, mum, mum just leave him”, I encourage nervously.  “But I think…”, she continues.  “Really”, I whisper, “just shhh, don’t, just…. it’s best just to let him figure it out”.  To his credit, the top shelf was not on backwards.  The entire cupboard backing was nailed on the wrong way up however, and that’s when the swearing started.  And so the morning continued, and the afternoon, and finally the formidable “Divorce Maker” units were complete.

As I sit here tonight, I can safely and triumphantly declare my Ikea purchases a great success!  You can currently see my living room floor as it is indeed cleared of all little people stuff, which is as proposed, shoved into the bottom of one of my new storage cupboards with the shiny white melamine door firmly shut giving the illusion of an adult living space.  But as my husband breathes a sigh of relief that his wife’s latest dalliance with the storage beast has passed, I’ve already begun planning my next must-have Ikea solution.

I’ve often thought Ikea is much like childbirth… NEVER AGAIN! 

Until the memory fades and you forget the Ikea pain and without as much a cheeky grin in your husband’s direction you end up there again.