Tips and Tricks to Survive IKEA

I was really excited to move to Dallas for a lot of reasons- one of those was that I would be living close to an IKEA. I had been to ones in Houston and Kansas City before, but had never lived near one before. Once I got to Dallas, I went with my parents to buy a lot of items for my apartment (dining table, drinking glasses, TV stand…) and I was so thankful that it wasn’t very far away!

Now that I’ve lived in Dallas for a while, I have been to IKEA many times and I have adopted a battle plan, if you will, for how to survive a trip to this superstore- it can get a bit crazy at times!


  1. Get there as soon as it opens. This place gets CROWDED, y’all! The parking lot is big for a reason, and there is nothing worse than having to park super far away and realize that all the cars you pass equal 2-3 people inside. IKEA is WAY less crowded when it first opens and you can usually get in and get out before it gets too full!
  2. Grab the pencil and paper. Even if you don’t think you will need it, just grab it once you enter the showroom. You can use it to make notes of things you want to find in the marketplace, a reminder of what you came to purchase, or to write down the item# of something you just now decided you HAVE TO HAVE!
  3. Take your time. There are often quite a few varieties of the same thing, so don’t feel bad if you take your time to really look around- you don’t want to go home with a clock you only like because you didn’t look around to find the clock you would have LOVED.
  4. Go through the tiny apartment set-ups. There’s really not a real purpose for this, just that they are FUN to look at! So little space, yet so much storage! These always make me think that I could totally handle living in a tiny apartment in NYC… but then I realize that tiny apartment in NYC is probably 3x my current rent, and I suddenly feel just fine staying in Texas.
  5. Get a cart in the marketplace. The bags are usually fine, but you never know what you’ll find, and it’s nice to have a big cart with you.
  6. Set an impulse buy budget. Yes, you might just be going into IKEA to get one picture frame, but I guarantee there will probably be at least 3 more things you find along the way that you’ll want to buy. Setting a limit for these things can help make sure you don’t spend $100 more than you expected to. (Trust me, it’s easy- I did that once. Oops.)
  7. Know your measurements. If you’re going to purchase any sort of furniture, know the measurements of the space before hand! You can eyeball it all you want, but getting something home that is 1 inch too big for your space will not be a happy experience. (Thankfully this has never happened to me!)
  8. Buy a bar of chocolate. Just trust me on this one. Grab a bar at the check out counter- it’s delicious. You’re welcome.

I read an article that the DFW area is getting ANOTHER IKEA and I can’t wait- hopefully that means the one closer to me will be a little less crowded!

8 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks to Survive IKEA

  1. Confession: I’m 28 years old and have never been to IKEA. I feel deprived. There’s one close-ish to my house but it’s pretty out of the way and depending on traffic, it could be a big hassle. I may just have to suck it up and go!

  2. Our closest one is a few hours away- yes…get there EARLY! We like to go on weekdays too, because it seems less crowded. Having a budget in mind is very important because you can spend a LOT of money there, haha!

  3. I always go in with a game plan. Trips with my parents as a kid used to take hours because we would meander and look t every single little thing, but since I’ve grown up and gone by myself I cut time at least in half. Otherwise I’d spend way too much time and way too much money. Also, their food is delicious.

  4. Pingback: The Mondayest Monday of All Time | My Name Is Not Katie

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