I am quickly becoming an IKEA connoisseur. I have always loved the store – but lately have perfected my IKEA game :). Our IKEA is over an hour away in another state, so when we go, it’s necessary that we go smart and savvy. As everyone knows, IKEA is a a mecca for awesome European home goods at super reasonable prices. The problem is that, most often, a trip to IKEA always costs hundreds of dollars more than expected. Or, is that just me? Whoops.

I have scoured the internet for tips of “must buys”, and I feel that blog posts in this regard are lacking. I mean, I know about the furniture, polished kitchen organization, and dishes and cribs. What about the rest? There must be small things tucked away that I would miss on a normal walk-through of the store.

So, the last time my husband and I went to IKEA, we purposefully walked every aisle. EVERY AISLE. If you know IKEA, you know this is a lot! Our needs right now our limited, so there were a lot of things we walked right past. But, we did intentionally consider everything. Do we need to re-do how we organize our kitchen? Do we need a clock in our bathroom? When was the last time we bought towels? We pretty much touched every room in our house, and it was pretty glorious. Anyway, I say this because hopefully my experience will help some of you! Before I dive into my favorite furniture items, here are my top IKEA tips :).

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Sign up for an IKEA family membership.

This is free, and acts like a grocery VIP membership. You get access to the month’s family membership prices. You also get cool things like free tea & coffee at all times in the cafe and extra time for your kids in their play area.

They make this membership really easy. You can sign up at home, and then print off a membership card in the front of the store. You can also sign up in the store, but there is often a line so it takes some time. If you forget you membership card, there is a phone number in the checkout line where you can text and receive your membership number by text. Then you can just give it at the register. Brilliant.

Sign up for a moving coupon.

Plan on spending more than $250? Grab this coupon and get a discount and more moving bonuses!

IKEA moving coupon

Make a Shopping List before you go.

This is key to stay sane while in the store. Check out their awesome website the days before your trip, and add anything that interests you to a shopping list. I add more than I plan on buying, just so I don’t miss anything! Then, select your preferred store for your account. When you print off the pdf, you can select that the list be organized in order of location in the store. This means, it will tell you the aisle and bin for your own specific store. This makes it SO EASY when you are shopping. And you won’t miss anything. Here’s an example of a shopping list PDF for the store in Charlotte, NC.
IKEA tips and shopping list

Be practical.

Wear comfortable shoes. Eat frequently. Know your budget. Wear a pedometer :). Have FUN!



I love all the obvious things to buy at IKEA, but what about the things hidden you don’t know about? Here are my favorite!

IKEA umbrella

1. KNALLA Umbrella.

This umbrella is awesome! I have one in my car at all times and love it. And, it’s $2.99 (family price). Note, this is in the travel section near the cafe + kids (at least in my store).

IKEA slippers

2. NJUTA Slippers

I go through slippers like it’s my job. I like to replace them frequently, so these are perfect! They are only $1.99 (family price) and feel great. We have multiple pairs – including keeping one in our suitcases just for travel. They are in the travel section as well.

IKEA bandages

3. TRYGGHET Bandages

I love that IKEA has band-aids! They are SUPER cheap at $0.79 a package (family price) and are really good bandages! For me, they stay on over a week through multiple showers. They come in several patterns and colors. They are in the travel section, so easy to miss.:)

IKEA picture hook set

4. FIXA picture hook set

IKEA has tons of sets like these – a picture hook set, tool set, cable management set, screw sets, etc. We have several and they are perfect for little house projects. This set is only $4.99 and is in the picture frame section of the store.

IKEA sponges

5. SVAMPIG Sponges.

These sponges are a fabulous deal at 3 for $0.99! I bought several packages and have been pleased. To be honest, they aren’t my favorite sponges – the white sponge is a little felt-like? But, they work great and I love how cheap they are! Worth trying. These are in the kitchen section.

IKEA plastic bags

6. ISTAD Plastic Bags

These are my FAVORITE food storage bags! They come in six sizes (these purple ones are the 1 qt. and 3 qt. sizes). They also have 13 oz, 34 oz (green bags) and 6 qt. 4.5 qt. (blue bags). Each set is $2.99, and you get either 30, 50, or 60 bags, depending on the set. I honestly only want to use these for the rest of my life – they are amazing!

IKEA laptop support

7. BRADA Laptop Support

This lap desk has changed my life. I bought it for car use (I work a lot in the car!) but now use it all over the house. It is SUPER comfortable, keeps my laptop from overheating, and is the perfect angle. I love it even on my desk, because my wrists can rest at a comfortable angle, instead of being flat. It is $4.99 and is in the table section (top level), if I remember correctly. 🙂

IKEA gift wrap

8. Gift Wrap

IKEA has awesome gift wrap, ribbons, tags, and decorative boxes. I stock up every time I go! This gift wrap is $2.99/roll, but they often have discounts. All their sets are so gorgeous, and helps me out being creative :).

IKEA candles

9. SINNLIG Candles

I am kinda a Yankee Candle snob. But, these IKEA candles are quickly becoming my favorite! They come in multiple sizes and amazing scents. And, they start at $1.79. I really love them and might completely switch from Yankee. I mean, these are awesome.

IKEA bathroom set

10. DRAGAN 2-piece bathroom set

This doesn’t really fall into my category of unusual items, but I am ending on one of my favorite IKEA things ever. I just bought this, and it’s so perfect for any bathroom. It really has 4 parts – two boxes and two tops, and is perfect for holding everything! They are so classy, simple, and uniform looking. I really love this set. Well done, IKEA.

10 Unusual Items to buy at IKEA (and must-read IKEA tips!)

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All links to IKEA are for the US Store.