Yesterday was the huge Grand Opening of the latest IKEA store (number 41 to be exact) here in St. Louis. I must say the opening celebration lived up to all the hype. I, along with some of my organizer colleagues, decided to brave the crowds and attended the festivities. We are so glad we did! No, all of you nay-sayers out there, it was nothing like the Black Friday crowds. It was actually super organized, which did not go un-noticed by us. We were in the store by 9:15AM where we received “mystery” gift cards (mine was $10) and were guided, by very enthusiastic employees, straight up the escalator to begin our adventure.
So many things to look at and take note of – we were after all there to do “product research” for our clients. We all picked out our favorite items and mine was the Trofast storage unit. It comes in multiple sizes with plastic slide-in bins, which you can mix and match to fit your needs. It is perfect for storing crafts and toys – if you have LEGOS in your house you need Trofast storage units! If you fasten a couple of the wall units (pictured below) together you can make a great LEGO table — just cover the top with baseplates and you are good to go!
BE ADVISED: IKEA stores are huge and it can be overwhelming to take it all in at once. So here are a few tips I have come up with to make the most of your IKEA visit:
- KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – if you have never been to an IKEA you should know that it is a unique shopping experience. You are given a shopping bag or cart and a map with a shopping list when you walk in the door. Small items you will put in your cart as you go but larger items, such as, furniture, and storage units will be picked up in the warehouse later so you must write down the item number on your shopping list. Also, IKEA does not provide bags at the check out to pack up your purchases so I suggest bringing your own or there are reusable bags available for you to buy.
- KNOW WHAT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE – FYI, if you don’t know, the majority of IKEA items require assembly. You can choose to do this yourself or IKEA can refer an independent service to assemble the items for you. IKEA also offers delivery services starting at $59 depending on your delivery zip code. IKEA FAMILY is their free in-house loyalty program, which offers special discounts, promotions and in-store perks – a must if you plan on becoming a frequent IKEA shopper. You can sign up on-line or in-store.
- MAKE A PLAN – have an idea of what you are looking for before you go and make a list. Are you planning to purchase on your visit or simply getting ideas and pricing items. The store is so big and there is so much to see that one can easily get distracted by all of the awesome displays.
- DON’T RUSH – allot enough time to walk the store without being rushed so you can see everything – and there are lots of little details you don’t want to miss. IKEA suggests about two hours to wind your way through the isles. I suggest looking at everything first and then going back and deciding what to purchase. And, don’t forget to use your shopping list to make note of things you want to go back and get or pick up later in the self-serve warehouse.
- TAKE A FRIEND – it’s always more fun to shop with someone else. We had a great time sharing our ideas on how we would use the organizing products. And, you may need a friend’s help loading your cart in the warehouse later on.
- HAVE A BUDGET — and stick to it if you want to avoid being shocked at the register. It is easy to go crazy and fill your cart. All of those little items add up! Remember, look first and then decide what to buy.
- TAKE BREAKS – our St. Louis IKEA store has a 600-seat restaurant. Grab a drink and bite to eat if you feel your eyes are beginning glaze over. Review your plan before you hit the isles again.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO TOUCH — there are little signs all over the room displays saying “LOOK INSIDE” and you should. Drawers, cabinets and wardrobes are filled with ideas for how to use the storage products and you will miss out on a ton of ideas if you just walk by.
- SAMPLE THE FOOD – samples are often being handed out for a variety of Swedish Meatballs, cookies and candies and everything is super delicious. The jumbo–sized cinnamon rolls are awesome and only $1 – enough said!
Well, I think about sums it up. I hope these tips help you make the most of your IKEA experience. Happy shopping!