6 Tips for Surviving a Trip to IKEA With Your Partner

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My boyfriend and I recently took a trip to New Haven, CT to IKEA. Beforehand, numerous people warned us of the arguments we’d have there. It’s almost an urban legend at this point, with dozens of articles and horror stories about ruined relationships across the web.

Now we’ve only been together for a little over a year, and were buying furniture and various other items for our first apartment together. That it itself sounded like a recipe for disaster. We’re also not prone to arguing–we have some minor spats here and there but we’re very diligent about talking things through, so it’s never progressed further–and were told that IKEA would be the place where we’d have our biggest argument yet.

He’s very level headed, I am sometimes irrational. He has never been to IKEA before, I’ve been countless times. We feared stress, tension, maybe even tears, but magically avoided it all. Here’s how:

Talk home decor

Months before we actually embarked on this trip, we talked home furnishings. The way my home is decorated is INCREDIBLY important to me, and I expected my boyfriend to be indifferent, like most of the men I know. He is not. He cares just as much as I do, but has pretty different taste. Whereas I’ve always been fond of white furniture (probably because I was never allowed to have it as a teen), he is ardently against it and prefers dark wood. I live for marble accents, and the occasional gold, and he finds both tacky. If it weren’t for having these discussions in advance, this would’ve definitely caused some tension. We’ve not only learned each other’s likes and dislikes, but come to terms with them. At first, I would get so angry about these things, like “How dare he have an opinion?!” but now I fully understand and even agree with most of his points, and vice versa. Don’t assume your S/O won’t care. Ask ahead of time and gauge where they’re at. Doing that made this trip so much easier for us–he got his dark furniture, I got my decorative pops of color, and we both left super happy.

Plan

We figured out when, where and how. My parents, who are big IKEA fans themselves, graciously offered to take us in their pickup truck. They even insisted on going to the larger New Haven location (an hour and a half away) rather than the closer Stoughton, MA store. We went on a weekday after 3pm and luckily there were very few people in the store, helping ease any potential stress.

Have a budget

I’m lucky enough to have received some money from my father as a Christmas present this year, so my goal was to spend no more than what he gave me. I ended up with $120 left over (which I’ll surely spend on our second IKEA visit).

Utilize the Shopping List

IKEA graciously offers this tool, which I found much more convenient than the typical shopping cart option. It allows you to check in-store availability beforehand, and gave me a total for all my items, too. It was super handy, and helped me keep my spending in check. There were a ton of things that I wanted, of course, so I added each and every thing to the Shopping List, and slowly narrowed it down to necessities and a few cute decor items that I couldn’t resist. Once I made it into the store, I checked my list and made sure to find everything on there. Not all of the pieces ended up in my cart (a pair of curtains there didn’t live up to the online-hype and we weren’t 100% sure we would need cutlery or dinner plates) but I was so glad to be fully prepared. One of our main concerns had been that I would get overzealous and spend a bunch (it’s happened many times before), but this helped keep me aware.

Discuss, but don’t overwhelm

Knowing this was my boyfriend’s first time in IKEA, I was prepared for him to be overwhelmed by all of the options and my need for his opinion on things. We had talked about it a lot before, but weren’t quite sure how things wouldn’t shake out IRL. In the store, there ended up being no need for concern. While there was a lot of discussion, it was all light and agreeable. We didn’t push each other in any certain direction, since we already knew each others’ limits. We knew our needs, accepted each other’s wants and left it at that. There’s no need to beat a dead horse.

Remember why you’re there in the first place

You and your partner came to IKEA for a reason. In most cases, it’s to build a future together; to build a home and some reasonably-priced Swedish furniture. The end goal is to spend the rest of your life together in a beautiful home of your own. Don’t let these minor things tear you apart, especially not in the middle of the lighting section of a giant furniture store. Be understanding. If it does feel overwhelming and pressured, step away and take a breath. If you’ve gotten to this point, you most likely know that your partner doesn’t have ill intentions. Trust each other.

I hope these tips help you and yours when you make that first IKEA trip, and let me know how your adventures go! Good luck, friends!

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How To: Keep an Art Journal

[Reposted from the archives of my previous blog]

 

I’ve kept an art journal for a little over a year now, and I love it! Nothing feels better than curling up in bed after a long day and writing, taping, gluing and doodling anything your heart desires. My art journal is a source of inspiration, a boredom killer and a safe space to put down my every thought. Here are my tips on starting and keeping an art journal filled with every colorful facet of yartjournal1ou and your life–Enjoy!

1. Find your inspiration: Pinterest is full of art journal inspiration! I love searching the boards and finding beautiful and clever new ways to journal; there’s always something out there you haven’t thought of yet. When I’m in a journaling rut, I search ‘art journal prompts’ and find a plethora of great ideas to get me started again. Follow my journaling board here and check out other pinners’ work as well.

2. Gather your supplies: A large Moleskine journal or medium-sized sketchbook are perfect for journaling. You can literally put anything in your art journal. Chipboard, washi tape, pattern cards, fabric swatches, paint chips, anythinggggg. Even when I don’t have a drop of inspiration in me, simply gluing magazine or newspaper clippings to a page feels oh so satisfying.
3. Put Le Pen to le paper: I recommend using a font website, like this one, to inspire creativity. It’s fun to try out new lettering (practice makes perfect!), plus you’ll have a new trick up your sleeve when it comes to sharing quotes in your journal. If writing it yourself doesn’t appeal to you, most of the fonts you’ll find are downloadable for free!

4. If you’re stuck, doodle: I’ve always been a doodler. I find it relaxing and fun. If nothing on Pinterest is speaking to you, just get out your pen and draw something! It doesn’t matter if you’re drawing a self portrait or a series of zig zags, putting something on that page is all that matters.

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5. Don’t forget to write!: Write about your day, how you’re feeling, what you’re doing, who you’re seeing. Anything that comes to mind, really. Art journaling is as much about creating as it is about telling your story. Whether you tell it through a photo series or a quote that describes your mood is all up to you–just don’t forget to incorporate a bit of yourself into your masterpieces.

6. Do a 30 day challenge: If all else fails and you’re desperate for inspiration, find a 30 day drawing or writing challenge online and stick to it! You don’t have to be Picasso to draw a cactus; you don’t have to be Kerouac to write about your favorite childhood memory. Challenge your creativity.

Hope you’re feeling crafty today!