While IKEA remains a favorite destination for affordably accessorizing or furnishing the home quickly on a budget, making the trip out to the crowded aisles on a weekend can be a challenge, especially for anyone without a car. But what if you could skip the crowds and lines altogether (and the temptations of Swedish candies awaiting at the checkout lines)? Here's how...
Like many Manhattanites, my partner and I don't have a car, and so getting anything from IKEA, large or small, back home requires careful planning and setting aside the whole day's schedule. Are those cute dinner plates really worth carrying around while going to and from IKEA via public transit? How am I going to bring home this flatpack and heavy bookshelf? Will my arms tire holding and carrying this bag or box for the next hour? Do I know how to ask for "ISFJORDEN" with proper pronunciation? These are the sort of questions we have to ask ourselves before, during, and after a visit to the retailer.
Furniture delivery itself is simple to arrange while at any IKEA location, making larger deliveries a reality for those without a car. But what we really wanted was to find alternatives for shopping at IKEA without ever having to visit the store.
We discovered five ways to get IKEA items home without ever braving the crowds. We used using a 15 item wish list for our test "shopping trip", all available with a few mouse clicks:
- IKEA Online Store: IKEA's online store is the first place we recommend directing your mouse toward. While not everything we wanted was available (12 out of the 15 desired items on our shopping list), the majority of items were. And with shipping starting as low as $27, IKEA's online store was the least expensive option of all five listed here. Price: Starts at $27*
- IKEA Picking & Delivery: Certain locations offer a picking and delivery service, where IKEA's staff does the shopping and ships them out for delivery to your door. The rate starts at $149 from our closest IKEA in Brooklyn to our Manhattan home (Angeleno's are offered a much nicer flat fee of just $40 for delivery from the Burbank location). These rates and services vary based upon the specific IKEA store, so check your local location for details (some IKEA stores require visiting the store with a shopping list in hand, while others will take orders over the phone). Price: Starts at $149*
- IKEA Delivery Alternative: We love using Eric's IKEA shopping service specializing in flatpack furniture delivery. At $110 we're able to not only avoid the hassle of a shopping trip and hauling heavier pieces back home, but the service also offers the option to pick up smaller items out from the IKEA catalog, making it ideal when you're piecing together a new room all at once. Price: $110*
- On Demand Helper Services – WunWun & TaskRabbit: Both of these services offer similar on-demand shopping helpers; customers post a desired task and prescreened helpers will either bid on your shopping request or one is automatically assigned to complete the task.
Although TaskRabbit offers a reasonably priced $30 for shopping and delivery, we were unable to successfully take advantage of the rate, even for smaller shopping lists comprised of lightweight household items. Using their open bidding system, TaskRabbits (the name of their prescreened shoppers) asked anywhere between $43 to $135 to pick up our list of 15 items. Some TaskRabbits offered same day delivery, others offered within a 3 day window.
The same list on WunWun was guaranteed to have someone accomplish the task within a day and was going to run between $60 to $90, depending on the time involved. Price: Average TaskRabbit $65, WunWun $70*
- Craigslist: A quick search of those offering IKEA shopping and delivery trips yielded a mixed bag of options. Most listed landed in the realm of $99; we could not find any separating large furniture trips from non-furniture/small items shopping requests, but services offered on Craigslist may vary from city to city. Price: Starts at $99*
*Note: all pricing was based off of using the same shopping list which contained the same 15 items, none of which were furniture, with delivery to our Manhattan home.
(Images: Flickr members Vox Efx, Sit Stay, and Samantha Marx licensed for use under Creative Commons)