This $30 IKEA Find Helped Me Pack a Whole Home Gym into 2 Square Feet

published Feb 17, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Can you remember the last time you set foot in a gym? I can’t either. 

As we enter year two of pandemic living, plenty of people have gone in search of fun, at-home alternatives to the traditional gym grind — and in so doing have developed quite the collection of gym equipment. 

As I was scrolling Instagram recently, I came across a genius idea my friend Rachel was using to keep her workout essentials tidy and able to be easily stashed away: She outfitted an IKEA Raskog utility cart to organize and hold everything from her yoga mat to her gym shoes. 

I immediately bombarded Rachel with questions and kudos, and found out that the cart is very much a “thing” on Obé, the fitness app she uses. She also modified her cart by gluing a full-length mirror to the tubing on the end so she could keep track of her form during workouts. Toss in a phone clamp or iPad stand for when you can’t roll the cart in front of the TV to do your workout, and add a magnetic hook or two for hanging resistance bands or towels.

Credit: Ashley Poskin
Ikea Cart

The DIY cart setup solves so many common problems you might run into when trying to work out at home. Creating a dedicated space for working out can be difficult if you live in a small place or have little kids running around. The cart allows space for everything from light dumbbells, to resistance bands, yoga mats, water bottles and more, and it’s easy to wheel from room to room. Someone set up for a Zoom call in your usual space? Just roll the cart to a different room — no need to miss the workout! My plan is to leave my new cart in the living room, in hopes that when I sit down to watch Netflix, I’ll be inspired to pick up my dumbbells or lay out my yoga mat to stretch in the process.

As for those dumbbells? There aren’t any specific limitations on the Ikea product site for the maximum weight each cart shelf can carry, but I did see a few users on Reddit say that 20 pounds per rack seemed appropriate. 

Credit: Ashley Poskin
Ikea Cart

Because it’s winter and extremely gloomy in Chicago, I wanted my cart to be as cheerful as possible (I know from experience I need something enticing to get me up and going). IKEA doesn’t offer the specific color of my cart anymore — I purchased it five years ago as a diaper storage station — but its cheery blue was ready for a sweaty glow-up. Here’s what I outfitted my cart with:

  • A folding yoga mat. This one fits perfectly in the cart and unlike a rolled mat, won’t flop out onto the floor. 
  • Mint green sliders, which are great for your core (and moving furniture by yourself — just pop the sliders under the legs of your furniture and easily push it to its new location!)
  • Pink yoga blocks. Whether I’m using blocks to enhance my poses or to provide lower back support after the many hours I’ve spent hunched over in front of your computer, they’re a necessity in my workout cart.
  • Resistance bands, which serve as an easy, portable way to challenge your muscles.
  • New Balance sneakers. The gym cart is all about making your life easier. Why not move your gym shoes to a dedicated space, too? By being able to access your workout gear in one place, you’ll stay neat, organized, and ready for your next workout.