April 15, 2009

DIY The Russian, The Witch & The Wardrobe

OR How To Survive The Recession Ikea-free

I have an Ikea wardrobe on eBay at the moment selling for a hundredth of its original price.
The experience is bittersweet because that wardrobe was my first serious Ikea investment only six months ago when we first moved here to funny little Austria and now, already, we’re on the way out.

Damn recession.

The Russian, I suspect, is chronically recessed. That’s what you are when you haven’t yet reached the technical definition of depression but you mope around irritated with the world in your pyjamas eating chocolate biscuits all day and questioning your purpose in life. Maybe everyone is a bit recessed lately.

But six months ago we were playing shining happy house-makers, merrily building things with funny names with nothing but an Allen key.

The wardrobe, however, was not a merry experience.

The thing is a beast. It took four people and a good many more tools than those provided in the cardboard flat packs it came in, plus copious amounts of brutal swearing in three languages and about five hours of serious manual labour to construct.

This must be going on in apartments all over Stockholm all the time.

And doesn’t Pax mean peace? What’s peaceful about that kind of stressful experience? And, hahahaha, sucked into that Brangelina kid that’s gonna wake up one day and realise he’s been named for a Swedish wardrobe. Ahahaahahaha...

Laughing alone, am I? Carefacter: 0

I read the other day that Ikea is apparently a recession-proof business. So now I loathe the shiny white Pax monstrosity even more. Immune from recession is it... but is it immune from my flying- ninja-demon-axe-wielding trick? Unfortunately we will never know, because we already have one bidder – and he/she is bidding on the Pax in the picture not the Pax post-attack (see my artists impression below.)

Other folks far craftier and clever than I, have channelled their creativity into the Ikea icon. I’ve mentioned before on Design Federation how fond I am of the good folks at Ikea Hacker (see article here) who reimagine Ikea bits and pieces into even cooler stuff.

I’m happy just reimagining my wardrobe as gone from my life.

I do like Ikea’s glass tumblers and the decent feed you can get at the Ikea cafe, though. But I think I had my nesting-with-Ikea experience and next time I need stuff I will be found at garage sales, on eBay and scrounging around flea markets.

How to find cheap stuff without having to go to Ikea:

  • Local papers usually advertise Garage Sales and stuff people are even happy to give away if you'll come and get it
  • Cruise around on a Saturday in the suburbs and you are bound to stumble upon a garage sale, flea market or church fete (look out for shabby signs scrawled on cardboard beer case boxes and tackorama balloon/streamer combinations promoting the event.)
  • Love Gumtree! Sold my car and a fridge on here once. Watch out for Nigerian scammers though.
  • Have your own garage sale and ask friends for donations (keep the good stuff) Had a super fun Saturday arvo garage sale last year. My mum put up a sign saying “Pilgrims Prices!” because we were en route to the Randwick Racecourse and it was the weekend the pope was in Sydney. Tightarsed pilgrims didn’t buy anything but installed my brother and his acoustic guitar as entertainment and made $150. Not bad for an afternoon in the sun.
  • Auctions. There is a creepy element to the thought that the stuff may have come from a deceased estate. But if the ghoulish thought of someone having died in your new rocker doesn’t freak you out I suggest you hit the auctions. My Dad is a fan, comes home with the most random stuff (like the tropical fish sideboard.) I think the papers advertise where/when.

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