Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Like Ikea for (Stuff)

I love Ikea, but it's so far away. It takes just over an hour to get there-- yuck. So I don't go very often. Which means I often think, well, where can I get something for almost as cheap as I can get it at Ikea?

So I'm starting a list: Where can I go that's like going to Ikea for ____ ?

Like Ikea for glassware? Dollar Tree has (among other things) wine glasses, beer glasses and martini glasses for one dollar each. Can't beat that. I'm almost waiting for my current stuff to break so I can replace it all with stuff from Dollar Tree.

Like Ikea for an inexpensive sofa? Home Reserve. We have two chairs from Home Reserve and they're great. They are shipped via UPS and you assemble them yourself. The boxes fit through the door easily and it's way easier than dragging a chair or sofa home from Ikea. After our next move, we're going to try buying a sectional from Home Reserve. We've always wanted a sectional, but we were terrified of dealing with moving one-- they're so big, you don't know if they'll fit through hallways, etc. And so expensive! Now that we trust Home Reserve, we know that A. it can be disassembled easily for moving, B. individual covers and cushions can be replaced as needed, and C. we can afford it.

Like Ikea for paper towels or toilet paper? OK, Ikea doesn't carry either of these things, but I'm not going to Wal-mart either, so I am lucky to have a Family Dollar just a couple blocks away that always has paper towel and toilet paper at very reasonable prices. Much cheaper than buying it from Target or the grocery store. I can usually get a giant package of rolls of toilet paper or paper towel for $5.

Like Ikea for kitchen gadgets? That would be Marshalls. They always have a big section of kitchen gadgets and utensils. They also often have dinnerware and glassware sets. The only downside to buying dinnerware from Marshalls is that their stock changes often enough that you aren't going to be able to go back and buy a matching set in six months. If you see it now and want it, you better buy it now.

Like Ikea for bedding? That would be Anna's Linens. It's sort of a smaller, budget version of Bed, Bath and Beyond. Which is a necessity, because it is easy to spend wayyy too much money on sheets and blankets at Bed, Bath and Beyond. We're lucky to have an Anna's Linens right in our neighborhood. If you've never been in one, you should check it out.

Like Ikea for GU10 light bulbs? 
Ikea. Our current apartment has a ton of fixtures that take these annoying, uncommon GU10 light bulbs. The prices vary a lot, but the cheapest place to get them always seems to be Ikea, where they're something like 4 for $6 or $9. They're always more at the hardware store or Home Depot, so there's no good substitute. So I try to stock up, buy a bunch whenever I can get out to Ikea.

Like Ikea for rugs and runners? Family Dollar. Once upon a time, we made a dedicated trip out to Ikea once and loaded up on area rugs for our whole home, all at once. Ikea's prices on rugs make it worth it. But then we got a puppy and then a grumpy, elderly chihuahua. We eventually potty trained the puppy, but the chihuahua still thinks door mats are fair game if we're not paying attention. We cleaned the nice rugs for as long as possible, but eventually they get gross enough that they just have to go. If you're dealing with puppy or elderly dog accidents, Family Dollar's $22 area rugs or $10 accent rugs are lifesavers. They don't look too bad, and when a dog has just totally destroyed one of them, it is easily replaced. I feel bad about treating as these as almost disposable, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Like Ikea for bed pillows? Family Dollar. Yes, Ikea has nicer bed pillows and a much larger selection, but if you've got guests coming tonight and you can't get out to Ikea, Family Dollar's $4 bed pillow will do in a pinch. If you want to get fancy, you can upgrade to the $6 satin bed pillow. I've been using a $4 one for a while now. It gets a bit misshapen but it gets the job done.

What am I missing? Leave me your thoughts in a comment and I'll update this post with your expert guidance.

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