If you’ve never been to IKEA, first let me say, WHY THE HECK NOT?! Secondly, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. IKEA is SO much bigger and better than you imagine. Sure, there are tons of prettily designed Swedish goods, but going to IKEA is a lot more fun than just shopping, for everyone. Before you go, read this first timer’s guide to IKEA.
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Shopping with Kids
If your kids are anything like mine, anytime you mention a long shopping trip all you hear is WHINE, WHINE, WHINE. IKEA is changing the game. Smaland is an AWESOME place you can let your kids play while you shop. If you’re an overprotective parent like me, you’ll just sit there, letting them play, because you don’t want to leave them alone. BUT, if you’re not psycho like me, you can leave your kids while you shop for up to 60 minutes for free. You have to sign them in, and fill out a sheet of paper, put a nametag on their back, and take a buzzer device (like when you’re waiting for a table at a restaurant). If your time is up, and you need to pick up your kid, or if your child needs you, the buzzer will go off. The whole playland is awesome. My kid BEGS everytime we go, to play in Smaland. They have a ball pit, and coloring area, and it’s just awesome. IKEA also has an elevator, which kids love. OH! And FREE baby food if you have a baby! It’s the best.
Time to Shop
When you drive up to IKEA, it’s going to be much larger of a store than you imagined. Much. Larger. That being said, get a cart. Just do it. And take the little card and the little pencil that are right next to the cart, you will need it. Leave yourself 3-4 hours to shop. And that’s on the low end. IKEA, like Sam’s Club, doesn’t have bags for you to put your purchased items in. Bring some reusable bags with you, or just buy a giant blue IKEA bag for $0.99 like everyone else who forgets their bags.
It doesn’t matter what section of the store you start in, just start there and wander aimlessly around. There’s so much more to this store than I even GUESSED, and I had even browsed their website before I went. It is so massive, that your excitement grows around every corner. It is by far not just a furniture store, and is one of my favorite places to be! Wear comfortable shoes, because the floors are made of concrete.
After you check out, there’s a whole grocery section. You will need to pay for any items you have, up to that point, before continuing on to the grocery section. They have so many neat European candies and food options. Two bits of advice: buy the Lingdon berry jam, and don’t buy any salted candy. The salted candy will ruin your life.
Time to Eat
There is a full blown restaurant in IKEA. A restaurant with incredible food, at that. When you’re hungry, after wandering around, don’t leave to eat, just eat in store. As I said earlier, IKEA offers free baby food for babies, which is wonderful. They have great kids options as well, and their food is cheap. Get the Swedish meatballs, they’re definitely worth it. And the broccoli fritters. USE the Lingdon berry jam (looks like cranberry sauce on your plate) when you eat the Swedish meatballs. While you eat, if you have kids, there’s a kid’s area, and generally a movie playing for kids to watch too.
IKEA Family Club
Before you go, you need to make sure you sign up for IKEA Family. It’s like a member’s card that you would use at places like Walgreens or CVS. It gets you special pricing and deals on specific items, and will get you coupons sent to your inbox as well. It’s a very simple, and FREE way to save money on items that are already cheap. You can sign up HERE.
I hope you feel a little more prepared for your first trip to IKEA. If you’ve been and you have more tips to add to our first timer’s guide to IKEA, leave them in the comments! We always make a day trip out of going to IKEA, and even after multiple visits, it’s one of our favorite places to go!
Before you go, check out this list of things to make sure and buy while you’re there:15 Things You Should Be Buying At IKEA!