Adventures in moving and other signs IKEA just might suck your soul.

Well, it finally happened. I moved into my own apartment. And you know what that means: IKEA trip! Yes, that’s right. The parents, the roommate and I piled into the (rented) mini-van and hit the road for Long Island and the joys of furniture shopping that awaited us.

Joys. Right. Well, truth be told, I had spent the past few weeks poring over the IKEA catalog (yeah, I actually brought it to work with me the night that it came in the mail). And I may have perused IKEA.com a few times to get some decorating ideas. Little did I know that the in-store experience would actually suck my soul.

If you’ve never been to IKEA allow me to explain the layout to you, as it’s crucial(ish) to this post. IKEA does this pseudo-helpful thing where they set the store up like a maze. They post arrows on the floor and instrut their visitors to follow them, much like the yellow brick road leading to Oz. Oz, of course, being the self-service section of the warehouse where you locate the aisle and bin number of your selected piece of furniture and then attempt to lift the 134lb. dresser boxes off of the shelf and place them onto (yes onto, not into) your cart without breaking them (which seems unlikely but is, I assure you, not).

So your furnitureney (yeah, I just combined “furniture” and “journey,” what are you going to do about it?) begins in the living room section, where inevitably someone is sitting on the exact couch that you came there to buy. Even though there are 17 other couches near that area they are just so tired after walking up the stairs that they have to take a load off in the living room that you are trying to recreate for your own. So you shoo them away from your Ektorp sofa (colors: beige, white, multicolor, white/black, black, red, dark blue and light beige (??) ) and you sit and wiggle until you are sure this is the sofa for you. You write down your bin number and move on.

But you don’t really move on. You move on through 13 more living room sets, a third of which feature the couch you just selected. Are there really only 3 couch options? What about the sofa beds? And the futons? Where is the rest of the catalog selection? Oh yes, it’s stored in the middle of the living room section, just placed randomly and you can sit on whatever you can access. Hm, well that’s interesting. The next stop on your trip to Oz is the kitchen area. Which, if you’ve ever seen a kitchen in a New York apartment, you know is a useless section. There is no room for a kitchen table, silly IKEA. So what do you do?

Well, the logical step would be to skip that section. But the store wraps and twists and there’s no way of telling where you’re actually going. As my mother pointed out, if there were ever a fire, everyone would be screwed. By the time you followed the rat race arrows out of there, the LACK side tables would have proven to be such excellent kindling that you’d be (all puns intended) toast.

So you follow the arrows. And you keep following them through in-home offices (aka desks, filing cabinets) to bedrooms (aka none of the quilts you saw online and closets that you could only ever have in your dreams) until you finally reach the stairs. Mecca. You’ve entered the plateware/lighting/decor section! Next stop: self-service baby!

97 hours later, you make your way to the checkout line where your cashier will make angry noises under her breath when she realizes that you have exactly 7 carts filled to varying degrees. What did you expect? You are in the suburbs, we come from the city. This is what we do. We invade. And then we use our city attitudes on you when you try to act as though you are a disgruntled suburbanite employee. And then we roll our 7 carts over to the home delivery line. Because let’s just face facts: no mini-van on earth can hold 2 Billy bookshelves, 2 desks (1 Mikael and 1 Jonas) plus 2 Malm 6-drawer dressers and a Hemnes bedside table. It’s just not possible. So you’re left with delivery. And an epic battle to coordinate your delivery time with the alloted move-in time that your rental company forces you to schedule knowing that you have no idea when your items will actually arrive. God bless move-in day.

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