There's no question about it, IKEA is a great resource for affordable and stylish furnishings, but it can can sometimes feel like a hassle to shop at the Swedish retailer's stores, especially when you are in a hurry. After spending some time at one of their stores this weekend, I have a few tips to help you get in and out faster.1. Pre-plan your trip. While you can't purchase many items on the IKEA website, you can use it to plan your shopping trip before you even leave the house. In addition to "window shopping" on the site, you can also prep a shopping list and check inventory. You can also use KLIPPBOK, IKEA's app that lets you play around with the store's products.
2. Go in through the out door. The store planners at IKEA are certainly clever folks. The main entrance to the store leads you to the showroom floors, forcing you to see lots of product that might not be of interest to you. By entering through the exit you can walk straight to the warehouse or to an escalator/elevator that will take you the section you need.
3. Skip the showroom. If you've prepared your shopping list before you get to the store, try to skip the showroom floors completely. Most larger items can be found in the self serve warehouse on the first floor. Locate a computer or ask an associate for the location of an item if it's not on your shopping list.
4. Use the inner ring. It's not always possible to skip the showroom completely. Some items, like frames, dishes and storage containers, are only available on the upper floors. Most IKEA stores have an inner ring to help you avoid traversing the entire showroom. Walk the inner ring until you find the section that pertains to you.
(Image: Jason Loper)