I am planning a trip to the Charlotte Ikea to purchase bunk beds for my little girls. I’m embarrassed to say that all three of my youngest (4, 3ish, 3ish) are still sleeping in cribs with one rail removed. Sheesh. Talk about behind.
The upcoming trip (I’ll drive 6 hours just to get to there) has me thinking about all the stuff we’ve gotten from Ikea over the years, and what a Swedish junkie I’ve become. (No, I’m not getting paid to write this – though, wouldn’t that be awesome!)
Up until about a year ago, all seven of us lived in a 1,700 sq. foot house with one bathroom. One tiny bathroom. And we homeschooled, which means there was like 10x the normal stuff crammed in that house. And it was still cute. Say what you want about cheap furniture, Ikea made that possible, folks.
So here it goes, in no particular order, my top 10 favorite Ikea finds. (all photos from Ikea website)
HEMNES shoe cabinet $99
These things ROCK! We have two of them (though one is in the garage, ‘cuz, hello, we’ve got walk in closets now!) one dark one like this, and also a white one. Our little house had a front door that opened directly into the living room. We tucked this sucker up against the wall beside the door, threw a little rug in front of it and voila, entry way. The cabinet doors open straight down (think flour bin) and you throw your shoes in there. I think maybe you’re supposed to line them up neatly, but we just tossed them in and discovered (especially with little kids shoes) more pairs fit that way. We used the other cabinet in our bedroom for the grown up shoe collection. These things take up ZERO space, hold a lot of shoes, and provide a small surface perfect for displaying treasures.
VISSLE Wall Magazine Rack $14.99
We put this puppy on the wall right down next to that shoe cabinet by the door and tamed the mail beast with two screws. It also works great for library books that need to be returned.
STÄLL Shoe Cabinet $139
What? Another shoe cabinet? Well, we used this in our tiny hallway (right next to the single bathroom) as a laundry hamper. Yes. It was awesome. I almost cried when I thought of it. Those little dividers you see in the cabinet drawers slip right out, leaving you with lotsa room to stuff lotsa laundry. And it’s all hidden. And it requires no floor space. And you can pre-sort. And kid’s fingers don’t get pinched ‘cuz there’s those little hand holes. So, even toddlers can put the laundry in. Enough said.
BJURSTA Extendable Table $211
This is our dining room table. It looked great in our 1920’s dining room and it looks great in our new, more contemporary dining room. It’s a nice normal size (seats 6) when the leaves are stashed in the underneath compartment, but it’s huge when it’s extended. It seats 8 with lots of room to spare, or 12 if you have skinnyish chairs. And it’s cheap. Right now it’s $211, but usually it’s only $250. And it’s INDESTRUCTIBLE, which is shocking, because, well, it’s cheap. But seriously, my little girls use this table to paint, to color, and to eat, which might be messiest of all. When everyone is done, I scrub it down with a hot wet rag. No worries about the finish. We’ve had this thing for three years, and with the exception of a small gouge made by an angry toddler with a fork, it looks brand new. Crazy.
KALLAX Shelving Unit $139
So, I’m not sure why they changed the name of this thing. When I bought it, it was called Expedit and it was available in a slightly bigger size, but whateves. This thing used to be our homeschool secret weapon. It might be again, who knows. It’s a book shelf, yes, but the cubes are the perfect size to hold all kinds of bins. Those bins can hide all kinds of stuff. We had this in our dining room (we still do, though now it holds decorative items and cookbooks) and stashed napkins, placemats, art supplies, workbooks, math manipulatives, as well as TONS of books on it. It allowed us to turn our little dining room into a multipurpose space that could serve as a school room during the day, and still look grown up and somewhat sophisticated when school was over.
KASSETT Magazine File $4.99/2 pack
Speaking of homeschool… These little fellas work great on those shelves. Each of my children had one for each subject and that’s where we stored all the workbooks, extra paper, and teacher manuals. It looked so much nicer there in our dining room than shelves crammed full of various sized and colored materials.
PRÖJS Desk Pad $5.99
These things have saved my butt, or rather my table, my floors, etc., more often than I can count. They are large clear plastic desk pads which provide plenty of room for painting, gluing, scribbling maniacally with markers. Oh, and they also protect your table top from being etched with your children’s very first, high pressured attempts to write their names.
KLADD PRICKAR Bibs $4.99/2 pack
All these babies need is a hood and they could insure no post-meal emergency baths. Someone FINALLY figured out that bibs need sleeves, and pockets, and then that person let Ikea sell them for $2.50 a piece. There really should be a Nobel Prize for that. They also work great as art smocks.
Children’s Tableware $1.99/6 piece set
That’s right. $2 for 6 bowls, or plates, or tumblers, or sets of silverware. Might I mention that the forks in this set actually have pointy tines so your toddler can stab the piece of chicken, not just push it off the plate in frustration. And best of all, all of this can go in the dishwasher (even the bottom rack) and the microwave. Score!
DIGNITET Curtain Wire $12.99
Ignore the curtain. What you have here is the perfect art/photo hanging device. When you have a lot of kids, you have a lot of “special pictures” and those special pictures can make it impossible to open your fridge. If you mount this on the wall instead of the ceiling you can create an ever changing gallery that can be up to 15 FEET long! Oh, and, if like us, you need to turn a dormer into a Harry Potteresque bedroom, with a cute curtain, it makes for a great room divider too.
There we are at the end of the list.
In case you’re curious, here’s what I plan on purchasing this weekend:
It’s the NORDAAL bed frame. Of course, like everything, I need two.
I’m hoping to go from this:
photo credit HGTV
Wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.