These days, I prefer weekdays to weekends when it comes to my IKEA trips. Why, you ask? Well, as if it isn't obvious, it means less crowds and more leisurely wandering the aisles, sans pressure. What am I looking for exactly? Maybe I have a simple list of items I need for a closet makeover, but then I spot a serving bowl that would make a perfect pendant light. Or I go in for some picture frames then can't help but notice a kitchen cart that would be the perfect bar cart. Either way, I go in seeking to check things off my list – end up spending a little extra time on each aisle – and leave feeling more inspired.
Now let's take it back circa 2006. You might see a woman many know as Jules Yap wandering those same blue and yellow aisles, looking for the next item to get her fired up. As someone who has become well known for her site, IKEA Hackers, full of DIY inspiration, and now a book full of the "Biggest and Best" IKEA hacks, Jules obviously knows her way around the DIY world. So what have all those years of hacking taught her? This:
When we "unbox" our minds and strip the labels, we begin to see possibilities. Sometimes I play this game when I walkabout at an IKEA store. When I come across a strange object and have no idea what it is or what it is for (I'm sure we've all come across a thing or two like that at IKEA), I stop myself from reaching for the tag. Rather, I stare at it for a while and begin to imagine what it could be or how I can use it. It's a little game for me. But I think that's true in life, too. When we have fewer labels, on what is "beautiful" or not, what's an "Instagram-worthy home", we will have less of the same and more of our self, our personalities, our uniqueness in our spaces. Let go of the labels. That's what IKEA hacking has taught me."
Let go of the labels, see the possibilities. Can we all just say that 7 times to commit it to memory? In a society that praises white walls and Instagram-ready shelves (#shelfie, anyone?), it's important to create a space that fulfills your needs, that brings you joy, and that overwhelming says "this is me." If you can't create that space with pre-existing items found on a store shelf, consider hacking something to make it your own. If that store shelf happens to be in IKEA, consider getting yourself a copy of Jules' new book — IKEAHACKERS.NET 25 Biggest and Best Projects to help you "unbox your mind" along the way. And head over to IkeaHackers.net to see the latest hacks from around the world.
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