Those tropes about walking into Target or Home Goods for one thing and walking out with armfuls? That's the IKEA Marketplace for me. Everything's so affordable, and I can't escape the feeling that I'll have my whole life together if I can just organize my kitchen like this perfect little endcap vignette.
While I've made my share of questionable choices from the downstairs marketplace, there are three super-affordable home staples that stand out as major winners. They're each $1 or less, so you can feel good about stocking up.
TEKLA dish towel
Classic European style for 79¢? Sign me up. I used to have separate stocks of linens — dish towels for the kitchen, tea towels for serving, and yet still a set of napkins for each person to use. Now? Only TEKLA. And I'm not the only one who loves them — we've seen them sewn into curtains, made into moroccan-style pillows, dyed into a rainbow (a great solution if the classic colorway isn't your style), and I even heard about someone who uses them as gym towels.
Get it: TEKLA dish towel, 79¢ at IKEA
TOLSBY picture frame
There little frames can be real workhorses. They make cute, affordable little picture frames for displaying your favorite snaps, of course — whether around the house or for a special occasion. I keep a small stash on hand and use them as decorations at baby showers, engagement parties and milestone birthdays — any time it feels right to showcase a bunch of photos through the years of the guest of honor. They're also great for labeling dishes at a potluck; you can either print out the name of the dish in nice type, or fill TOLSBY with pretty patterned paper and draw right on the plastic with a dry erase marker. And I have one with our wifi name and password that I leave in the guest room when somebody stays over.
Get it: TOLSBY picture frame, 99¢ at IKEA
The FRAKTA blue bag
I have at minimum five of these at home at any given time (they fold up small). They make it easy to get from the car to the door with a full load of groceries on one arm. They will replace every laundry basket in your home. They're part of my personal sharing economy. I'll bring over a few dishes to a friends potluck stashed safely within a FRAKTA, and she'll return it a few weekends later with some gardening tools she's letting me borrow.
They're the only way to walk into Christmas with a load of gifts (FRAKTA is Santa's sack in my house, and the blue bag has been made into stockings before — I don't know what makes it so great at the holidays, but it is). I've even used them in lieu of moving boxes (FRAKTA does mean "carry" in Swedish, after all) — you can stash loads of kitchenware, books or clothes in one blue bag and it'll still be an ease to carry thanks to that long handle.
Get it: FRAKTA shopping bag, 99¢ at IKEA