An Ikea Odyssey: Part 1

Trigger warning: Contains references to the assembly of flat-pack furniture on a massive scale.

There are possibly fewer words capable of creating both dread and joy in the hearts of Canadians than ‘Ikea’. Only four letters long, it nonetheless has the power to convey ‘cost effective furniture’, ‘you won’t make it through the marketplace for less than $200’, ‘swedish meatballs’, and ‘some assembly required.’ Name me another word that can do all that.

I have purchased, assembled, moved, repaired, discarded and replaced a massive amount of Ikea furniture in the years I have spent roaming the planet. I vividly remember my very first bookshelves, which made something on the order of 20 moves before finally succumbing to a tragic demise as laminate delaminated and particle board crumbled. They went on to be replaced by many, many more bookshelves over the years.

The move to Boo Manor would require further purchase, carrying, assembly and installation of Ikea furniture. Namely, Billy bookcases and Pax wardrobes. On a scale that would probably be troubling if I thought about it too hard. Particularly given that the first act before actually shopping at Ikea was renting a 15-foot cube van.

The first challenge, of course, was building a shopping list. That required its own, separate trip to Ikea, just to plan out how we were going to lay out the wardrobes. In the near future, we have plans to annihilate the walk-in closet in the master bedroom in favour of reclaiming the space for a much larger en suite bathroom. In place of this, we have annexed one of the other bedrooms with the intent of making it our new walk-in closet.

Showing up at the checkout with four heavily laden carts is perversely satisfying.

Having figured just how many Pax wardrobes of varying sizes and shapes could fit in our new closet, we needed to figure out how to fill them. That turned into a very large shopping list, which in turn transformed into a quest to find the nearest store with sufficient stock to supply us. This is actually made surprisingly easy by Ikea’s web site, which allows you to not only build a shopping list online but also to identify what stores have stock, and when they expect to have more. Even better, you can sort your list by warehouse location or (more relevantly) weight.

Armed with shopping list and current inventory amounts, we descended on the Burlington Ikea shortly before opening with the plan of a well executed surgical strike. At least, as well executed as possible when armed with a three-page shopping list. There is something deeply satisfying, however, about descending upon the checkout line with no less than four fully laden carts of boxes and seeing the look of consternation and horror of whoever has to ring all that through.

Whatever joy that might have produced quickly faded with the prospect of loading the truck (and then unloading it at the other end). Especially when you amply demonstrate that the 15-foot truck was actually necessary. All in all, our shopping odyssey took about three hours. Add in driving it all out to the house, with a stop to pick up more furniture along the way, and then unloading it all at the other end, and your are dealing with an entire day’s adventure.

It’s all fun and games until you have to load the truck. And disturbing that you need a truck.

And not a single box has yet been opened…

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