We’re not fortunate enough to live within a respectable driving distance from IKEA, which is sad because it is my favorite store for home goods. I am, however, sure that the distance between me and the “big blue and yellow” is truly for the best. For one thing, it makes a trip to IKEA much more than an errand. It’s an event! It requires pouring over the catalog, flagging pages, measuring spaces in my home, making notes. It also requires at least one
overnight stay, and possibly arranging childcare for my kiddos. (Can you say weekend away for Mom and Dad? Yippee!)

I have been pining for a new dresser for my daughter Joy’s room for a year now. Not just any dresser, mind you, but the 8-drawer Hemnes dresser in white. And everything else I saw paled in comparison, so my husband and I finally decided it was time to go for it. We lined up a willing grandma to keep the kiddos, booked a hotel room, and cleaned out the van for maximum cargo space. WOOHOO, we were off! We had a great weekend together as a couple, and of course made a major haul of home goods.

It wasn’t until the drive home that I think it hit us both.

It wasn’t exactly buyer’s remorse. It’s more of what I would call “IKEA aftermath.” Those stacks of boxes in the back of the van? Um, those represented a whole lot of work now that we had them all home. Our little weekend excursion suddenly felt more like we’d enlisted in a DIY boot camp. Oh, and to add to this whole scenario, it’s important to note that my husband had to leave on business travel right after our return from the IKEA getaway.

As we unloaded the van, we put the purchases in the rooms where they belong and tried to make peace with the fact that we would be navigating around boxes until we get all the assembly done. But then, I became even more overwhelmed as I started to look around the house. My daughter’s current furniture had to be cleaned off, cleared out, and moved from the room before the new furniture is built. And, oh my, she has quite the collection of “stuff” to cull through.


Dream? Yes, I have a dream of getting this mess under control!

Part of the reason we bought her new furniture was to be able to make her room more organized and functional for her. Case in point:  one whole corner is taken up by a desk. While a desk in her room is a great idea, she never actually uses it as a desk. Instead, it’s just a place where things get piled and stashed.

Given her love of books and need for more storage space, bookshelves make a lot more sense in this corner. BUT, before the bookcase is assembled, that entire desk has to be de-cluttered. Everything has to be moved off and out of the desk, and the desk has to go to a new home. That’s a lot of to-dos after an innocent trip to IKEA! Now, picture this process being repeated throughout the house, and I think you will begin to sense how overwhelmed I am feeling! I look around at these boxes and feel like we just moved in but without the helpful friends here to unpack us. (OK, OK, taking a deep breath here.)

box used as memo boardMy daughter, Faith, is now using one of the boxes in the hallway as a giant memo board. Clever!

I am fighting these overwhelmed feelings by simply doing what I can in small slices of time. I cannot even lift some of these boxes, much less assemble them myself. This has to wait for hubby’s return and time in both of our schedules. In the meantime, can I declutter for 15 minutes here and there? Yes. Can I begin packing up items that will find new homes within the new furniture and storage solutions? You betcha. Can I begin the process of selling or giving away furniture that needs to leave our home? Absolutely. All of these are steps in the process.

Aby mentions frequently how helpful it is to break things into bite-sized chunks to make progress towards a goal, and I am finding that advice exceptionally helpful right now. I would certainly rather wave a wand and have this all finished, but making progress on these goals is relieving my stress and helping get us closer to completion.

book shelvesThese shelves and everything on them is being placed in other rooms. My progress here is quite messy looking!

No matter what kind of organizing project we are working on, I think the aftermath of IKEA is a good reminder of two things:

1.  We frequently have to create much larger messes in order to achieve the results we desire.

2.  Working in small increments of time each day not only helps us get closer to our goals, but it also helps ward off those overwhelmed feelings.

Whew. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Are you working on anything overwhelming right now? What small steps can you take each day to move forward?