We have been really blessed to find an apartment pretty quickly in Stockholm in a nice area just outside of Stockholm central. For those of you who do not know much about the Swedish housing system, it is pretty much a nightmare that consists of weird queuing systems, black market, first/second hand contracts and so on.
Anyway, the apartment that we leased for a year came unfurnished apart from a kitchen table and four chairs. This means that we had to get our own furniture and where else would we go other than…IKEA! The awesome thing is that the nearest IKEA store is just less than 10 minutes away by car from our apartment.
Shopping at IKEA sounds really fun and exciting, which it is to a certain extent (don’t get me wrong), but it is also quite overwhelming and exhausting in reality because of the plethora of options and the maze like way that IKEA structures their store.
Anyway, I thought that it would be fun to put together a list of tips on how to survive an IKEA shopping trip.
1) Create a shopping list online.
Before the trip, it is very useful to look up the IKEA website, check out each section in detail and save items to your shopping list. This would give you a good idea of what you are going to buy and how much you are going to spend. I am not sure if you can do this on the Singapore website but once you are done making a list, you can send it to your email so that you can access the list while shopping in the store.
I really appreciated the fact that you could check the availability of the item at the store online and also source for the “best deal” without having to run around the store.
2) Feed the tummies
The good thing is that IKEA’s food hall serves yummy and reasonably priced food. We have been to IKEA twice so far and even though we went to the place after lunch on our second trip, we had fika first before shopping.
This Swedish social institution actually does grow on you and IKEA has a pretty neat deal where you get a cinnamon bun (kanelbullar) and free flow coffee/tea for S$0.80. The Singaporean in me is very pleased with such awesome deals.
For non-shoppers like Jens, having a nice sugar rush from the sweets would definitely make the shopping trip more bearable.
3) Bring some muscles
I must admit that it was very helpful to have Jens carry and look after the stuff while I weave in and out of the aisles to pick up the items from our shopping list.
Yes they do have trolleys for your items but when it comes to the bigger items like the bed, table, sofa etc, it is always helpful to have some muscles and extra help. I must say that I think I am growing some of my own through this process, hahaha.
4) Take a nap
Who knew that choosing a mattress or sofa could be so exhausting? We were particularly clueless about mattresses because there was a mix of continental and Swedish beds. Continental beds are what we are more accustomed to in Singapore where you just choose a mattress and lay a sheet over it. In Sweden, their beds are a combination of a mattress bottom and a top mattress.
We ended up seeking the help of the bed specialist who got us to lie down on the mattress and then she slid her hands under the top mattress to show us the support we needed. In the end we took her recommendations and I got a medium mattress while Jens got a hard mattress.
5) Stay focused and have fun while at it
We took on our second trip like a challenge where we raced to find the items we wanted and stay focused on what we really needed. It is always fun to reach the end where you are picking up your items from the storage area because it means that you are out of the maze and are closer to checking out and getting some hot dogs and ice cream.
Overall I am really pleased with everything that we have bought so far and am glad we didn’t have to break the bank to furnish the apartment. It was also good that Jens picked up on the announcement that they were offering free shipping during Easter weekend for beds so we managed to save some money on delivery.
Slowly but surely our little home is coming together pretty nicely.
Till the next time!