You might have noticed that a craving for order is a persistent theme in my recent posts. I thrived on the structured life I enjoyed at summer camp. Then came my blatant convent envy. Today, I celebrate the mother of all mental-chaos tamers: Ikea.
Was it coincidence that a new store opened right near me the same week that R moved out? I think not. I go there when I need to escape the madding crowd of clutter in my house and my head.
Shortly after R left, I entered a brief, semi-euphoric, whoopee-I’m-a-single-gal-now phase–which necessitated, among other things, an urgent bedroom makeover. Sleeping alone in a queen-sized bed was sort of sad, but it was exciting to have a room all to myself for the first time since 1990. (In fact, who decided married couples should share a room?)
During my marriage, I was unofficially in charge of home decor, but I tried not to impose too much femininity on our bedroom since only one of us was feminine. A few years ago, I fought my urge for lilac walls and pretty white things and chose a moldy green shade of paint, just to prove that I did not have a girly agenda. I now see that being enveloped by that ghastly hue night after night certainly cannot have helped our marriage.
That first post-separation trip to Ikea yielded, interestingly, a lot of round items–a couple of Ringum rugs, two Korda mirrors and the Ofelia duvet cover–all for around $100! Oh– and some nice ropey baskets to corral toiletries. And a sisal-ish rug for our back porch. And hundreds of things I never knew I needed until I was sucked into the vortex known as the Ikea Marketplace.
Since then, I have returned to the store several times, always soothed by the cheerful, orderly faux rooms with their drawers and shelves and cabinets and other forms of flimsily-made containment.
Today was an Ikea day. We’ve been transforming our third floor into a rental apartment, which means our remaining two floors are overrun with boxes of stuff, crap and junk that used to be upstairs.
After fretting about whether it would be worse to increase my credit card debt or to remain in this fragile disorganized state, I decided to make a pilgrimage to the blue-and-yellow temple. (I mean, really, it’s almost like getting stuff for free when you shop there.)
My goal was to find a sideboard for my dining area. It would house my marital silverware, tablecloths and other whatnot that the woman gets to keep.
As I entered the store, that familiar Swedish calm came over me. It was a weekday morning, so it was empty. The showroom was perfectly air-conditioned and orderly, and–freakishly enough–there was actually a tow-headed Scandinavian family shopping and chatting in a mysterious tongue. The Marketplace was, as usual, a more fraught experience and, once again, I was forced to buy things like placemats and trays and little boxes (fortunately, they have a good return policy.)
I didn’t purchase a sideboard (though I think I want a Besta combination when the time comes), but I did leave with restored faith that there is almost always a way out of chaos.