IKEA: For the Stuff You Never Knew You Needed

There’s a scene in one of my favourite films – 500 Days of Summer – in which the two main characters lovingly pretend at playing house in an IKEA as they enjoy the honeymoon phase of their new relationship. It’s a beautiful sequence, accompanied by cutesy dialogue, and even though I’ve watched it a bajillion times it never fails to make me smile.

So, it was inevitable that this would be the first thing that would pop into my head when The Bloke suggested an impromptu visit yesterday morning. Despite the fact that we have lived together for years, and have been to IKEA on numerous occasions, I somehow imagined a scenario in which we would flirt our way around, being cute in various home set ups and having a lovely time.

Not quite, predominantly because I forgot how much I LOVE going to IKEA.

We arrived almost as soon as it opened, and even by this point it was already full of people.

There are generally five types of customers usually to be found in an IKEA store:

  • The Trolley Demolition Derby enthusiasts, who like to ram their trolleys at oncoming shoppers as they try to navigate their way around without a care in the world for other people’s space or direction.
  • The Impulse Buyers, who keep going in the direction of the item that they actually want while picking random things up along the way.
  • The Married’s, who have been together for a long time and have just about had enough of each other for the day already, discussing their opposing choices of cushions through gritted teeth
  • The New Parents, who are always accompanied by a screaming baby. These generally have a look of shock on their faces, like they have just been let out into the world for the first time after living underground their whole lives. Nerves of steel.
  • The Zombies, who are suddenly unable to process any thought or movement at speed as soon as they walk through the doors, often to be found shuffling with a blank expression on their face as they stare at the various array of tea light holders and tumblers in front of them.

I tend to be in the second category. I want everything, even though I know I don’t actually need any of it, but I grab it as we are walking along.


We actually went for shelves – a certain type of glass shelf that could be slotted into The Bloke’s ‘man bookcase’ (don’t ask) – that were easily located. However, that didn’t stop me from discovering a whole bunch of things that I never knew I needed (as I dodged the Demolition Derby participants) that were distinctly un-shelf-like: photo frames of different sizes, a big wool blanket, a chopping board, small fake plants for flat lays and blog images, a Perspex box to organise my ever increasing make-up collection, a stationery organiser to house my ever increasing Bullet Journal supplies… Instead of playfully flirting our way around, it ended up being more like the final dash game from Supermarket Sweep for The Bloke as he attempted to keep up with me while pushing the trolley.

Poor dude. It’s a good job he’s a patient man.

What I especially love is that the conversations to be had are so unique – at one point the subjects of which chopping board would be better and whether the cat would take a shine to the fake plants and try to eat them in the way that he does with any real ones we bring into the house were raised, and I overheard a woman say to her partner, ‘But do you think the shape would match the curtains?’ – where else would you hear that sort of phrase but in an IKEA?

By the time we actually got to the warehouse section for the shelves we actually came for, the trolley was so full that we had difficulty fitting them in. I must admit, I was a little annoyed at myself for allowing my brain to get the best of me afterwards, particularly when we have worked so hard to try and declutter so much from our house. I blame IKEA. Completely.

And to make a great morning even better, The Bloke bought me a sausage butty in the cafe and a rather large bag of mini Daim Bars on the way out. Winner.

Probably not a good idea for me to go to IKEA for a while. I might just watch the film again though…

23 thoughts on “IKEA: For the Stuff You Never Knew You Needed

  1. Add one to the list for China. IKEA has become cupid for single senor citizens.

    I’ve read that in China the IKEA cafe has become meet-yp and date central for senior single retired women and men that show up about the same time each week and drink the free coffee while they flirt. Since these senior citizens of China visit IKEA often, that means the younger members of their families shop at IKEA but maybe not the same day and time as the senior citizen free coffee dating club.

  2. This is why I enjoy living less than ten mins away from an IKEA.
    Sam enjoys a meatballs dinner every now and again! Having a child has opened up a brand new department for me! Gotta be careful of those parents in that section though 😬#ikeapushyparentsyndrome

  3. how cute! At one time or another, I have managed to fit into each of the categories mentioned. I love Ikea, but our nearest one is an hour and half away. Now, I want to go and shop to my heart’s content. Also, that movie rocks! Great post! Thanks for letting us tag along…

  4. Yep, I always end up at the cash with stuff I didn’t plan on buying. That’s why IKEA paints those arrows on the floor, encourages impulse buying 🙂

  5. I love IKEA—wish there was one closer to us. They used to advertise that IKEA was Swedish for common sense but all of mine goes out the window when I’m in the store!

  6. Love IKEA. I’ve never seen that film but many is the time I’ve been to Ikea and suggested living there might be an alternative to sorting out our own house. I’m the Zombie you described, but when you see us staring, apparently blank faced at some inanimate object, it’s because our head is in the clouds and we are in a deep daydream of what our house could look like if only we could wave a magic wand.

  7. Ikea is where relationships break up 🙂 It’s a danger zone for blokes in particular. I’d like to think we fall into the Lifehackers category – we always have a list to not buy what we don’t need, we shortcut and head straight for what we need and usually are done within 30-45 min. We love to have meatballs at a cafe there!

  8. I fit into the 2nd category too … although sometimes the 3rd but that rarely happens in IKEA. – that happens if hubby & I are doing the food shop before Christmas together at a super large supermarket! 😜

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