There is an IKEA out by the Mall of America. (Not in it, although they'd have room. If it was in it, I doubt I'd go.) Our family LOVES to go out there and walk through the store. (Note: IKEA is not the cheapest option for furniture but it's not too overpriced. We built our kids loft beds because we could do it for little money. IKEA has one of the cheapest loft beds I've seen online. So there's that.)
For those of you that have never been to an IKEA, allow me to explain how you could literally spend 3 hours (or an entire day) in this store.
When you arrive at the one in Minnesota, you have options for parking. Either you can park on the top level outside or you can go to the ground floor and park underneath the top level. This is fantastic when dealing with snow and rain.
Upon entering, you must get on the escalator (or giant elevators) and go up one level to get into the building. There you will find the exit to the Marketplace and Checkout (more about that later) and the place to lose your kids. No really. You can sign your kids into their little daycare place and go shopping alone. (We've never had to use it. My kids love looking at everything.)
Then it's up another escalator to the Showroom. When you get to the top, take an IKEA pencil, measuring tape, and map of the Showroom, Marketplace, and Self-Serve. And if you'd like a meal or snack before embarking on the shopping trip, there is a cafe at the top of the escalator. (I've never had them but it seems people actually trek out to IKEA just to eat their Swedish Meatballs.)
The other side of the map will be needed later. You can take shortcuts around the store but where is the fun in that? You start on a path (arrows point the way) and wander like you have not a care in the world. They have little mock rooms set up to showcase their wares. You can sit in every chair and flop onto every bed. They encourage it.
And I love the rooms set up that show a family home and say "This is our 597 sq. ft. home."
Makes you realize that if you did it carefully (not buying too much stuff), you could live simply.
IKEA has price tags on everything. But if you're wondering how much an entire kitchen would cost, there's a tag for that, too.
When you find something you like, you look for the tag. On the back of the map is a place to fill out the product info.
The tags usually look something like this:
Then you write down the price ($49), the Aisle (17), and then the Bin (10). All of this comes in handy when you get downstairs.
My family wonders throughout the Showroom looking at couches, bedroom stuff, kitchens, closets, bathrooms, desks, etc. We sit in almost every chair and open every cabinet, especially the ones that say "Open Me" or "Look Inside". (They are awesome when it comes to organization in drawers and cabinets.)
|Outside of the cabinet|
|Inside of the cabinet|
|Now that's containing storage containers|
|If they didn't label the dishwashers with signs saying "I'm a dishwasher", I'd never know they were there|
And for you wine enthusiasts, a different way to store the bottles:
And holy cow, the kid's special section is adorable. But I won't be having a baby to make those rooms happen in our home.
|Entrance to the kid section|
|This is adorable|
|These tiny beds are just too freaking cute|
|Some adults don't have office space this nice|
|Love the little 'leaf' canopy|
|These chairs are fun. Didn't discover them until my kids were too big to fit in them|
Once you have made it to the end of the trail it's time to go down one level and shop in the Marketplace, aka The Mecca of "I want that!".
Tomorrow: Why I love the Marketplace and why it's really hard not to want to run through the store like you're a contestant on "Supermarket Sweep".