IKEA’s Best Design

Ikea has introduced a lot of things to society. I now own more allan keys than is strictly necessary for a human being to own, I have more tea lights than a catholic church and I realise that there are two types of meatballs in the world (IKEA ones and ones made from meat).

I have bought shelves and drawers, I have bought plates and glasses, garden furniture, an ill-fated sofa. Most of the furniture ain’t gonna appear on the Antiques Roadshow in 100 years time, that’s for sure.

Everything is made as if for a wild west film set. The fronts look convincing, and in situ’ everything looks solid, new and functional. But on closer inspection everything is shite. The glassware is all thick, horrible glass. The china is all earthenware with a glaze as thin as an atom. The furniture is particle-board with a veneer of something. Everything that doesn’t face you is brown, like cardboard…which is essentially what their furniture is. It’s a place saver, a proxy, waiting for when you have more money to buy a proper sofa…or a proper wardrobe. MDF, particle-board, plywood, poly-carbonate – these are not materials one associates with craftsmanship.

And I hate their stick man instructions, the bizarre starting point that in no way suggests you will end up with a bed-side table.

I hate that if you get one stage slightly mixed up: fucked.

You lose a teeny, tiny screw: fucked.

You break one of those fucking wooden doweling things: fucked.

I hate building draw mechanisms and sometimes wonder why they just didn’t build some of it; just a little bit. The hard bit.

I hate that if you are missing one, tiny, little, weird screw some little widget that is the size of an ant’s gonad and you have to take a ticket like you are queuing at the Sainsbury’s meat counter and wait hours and hours for some bovine retard to tell you that you are going to have to go home and get the whole thing and un-build it and return it in it’s original packaging and queue up again.

I hate that when you’re finished you have more cardboard than you ever thought was needed to package a fucking breadboard.

I hate having so many allan keys and not being able to throw the fucking things away because I think I might one day need them – when I have never, ever, ever needed them. Ever.

But! the best thing they make – by a country mile – that fulfils it’s primary purpose perfectly and yet does so many other things is [cue drum roll]: The Ikea Blue Bag. Oh! it is cheap and – oh! it is nasty but by-my-allan-key it does exactly what it needs to do – and so much more! Those eager Scandinavian designers, beavering away in their wood clad design studio, flicking their blonde manes out of their crystal blue eyes, working out what to do next with crappy wood-chip and aluminium fixings – little do they realise that they have already penned a design classic.

Why? Because it works as:

  1. An Ikea Bag Yep, you can fill this baby with as many tea lights as your puny arms can carry. They look deceptively small when you see them folded, but unfold them and BAM! The circus has come to town! You can fill it up with tons and tons (£140.00 is what everyone spends – even if you only went in for a hot-dog) of cheap, worthless, Nordic homewares and it will not break – never.
  2. A Laundry Sack All your dirty scruds can fit in here and it’s kind of water proof with big handles – it is literally the perfect laundry sack. The only negative is that because of it’s huge dimensions you sometime take too much washing to the washing machine and you either have to leave some for the next wash (moi) or cram it in so tightly that nothing will get washed (not moi).
  3. As Weekend Travel Luggage If you’re travelling by car to a friend’s house in the country, do you fill a Samsonite? Carefully folding and packing to maximise space and prevent creasing? Do you fuck! Chuck everything into an Ikea bag and whack that into the back of the car – job done. They’re friends and they probably travel the same as well. We do. One for the kids, one for us.
  4. As Storage No one has ever thrown a duvet away (in recorded human history)- primarily because everyone is banking (some hoping and some dreading) on a sleepover of biblical proportions when every available duvet (and we all have way more than we have beds) will have to be utilised so that an adhoc slumber party can be aranged for the horde on your living room floor. But how do you store these feather filled, human secretion sponges? I have tried to put them in a cardboard box but it’s like trying to get a dead body into the back of a Fiesta. I have tried bin liners but they just tear like the skins of cheap sausages. Ikea bags! In, tie handles into SAS style knot, lob into loft. Forget about until you receive a phone call from a long lost branch of randy catholics dangling from a branch of your family tree requesting a visit.
  5. As a Beach Bag You can fill it with beach toys…but it fills with sand. Diddums. Turn it inside out and guess what? It looks exactly the same! Hurrah for the Scandies!
  6. As Wrapping Paper It’s water proof, large, rip-fast (I don’t really know what this word means but I thought I’d slip it in to make me sound, you know, clever) and as cheap as that brown wrapping paper. It feels wrong to cannibalise something so inherently useful (see above) but sometimes you have to sacrifice to ensure the security of your packaged items.

That’s all I can think of. Bye.


9 thoughts on “IKEA’s Best Design

    1. If I had a blue bag for every argument I saw in an Ikea I’d stitch them together and make a very, very large one and put Ikea (the company) in it.

      I want a shop that makes furniture out of real materials. That isn’t extortionate.

  1. Hi Michael – it’s elly (anna & aimée’s mum)

    Guess you had a shocking day at or with ikea purchases today!

    Anyway, here’s my email. let us know if you fancy a playdate.

  2. I have a cupboard full of these blue bags. I don’t know why, but I’m terrified to throw them away in case I’ll need them again. Can you tell me why, despite owning a lorry-load of these blue bags, I always forget to take one with me whenever I go to Ikea? And lo, the endless blue bag cycle continues…

  3. I #$%* LOVE these blue bags. We use them for laundry, for beach. I can confirm for a fact that you can easily lose 9 pairs of swim goggles in one and still have enough room for a tangle of wet swimsuits, a family of damp towels, 5 canisters of spray suncream (two of them empty), plus the disassembled parts of three snorkeling sets.

    I actually once decided that the Ikea instructions were wrong and started sawing one of the wooden dowel things in half. Luckily a friend called and intervened.

  4. Yes, when my hubby and I first married many Saturdays were taken up with trips to Ikea for just about everything because we had little to no furniture. Which in turn meant the rest of the weekend was spent constructing flat pack furniture! After many years of marriage we have finally edited all Ikea furniture from our lives and my husband literally breaks out in hives at the mere mention of Ikea……..

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