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Conscious Consuming at IKEA

My first trip to the Portland IKEA store didn't go so well. I got separated from my friends and child (she was with my friend) almost immediately. I spent the whole time excitedly fondling IKEA's wares, but worried about whether my 3-year-old was giving my friend a hard time or not. I bought one thing: some inexpensive silverware that I pack in the kid's lunch boxes.

The next time, my husband and I went sans enfants. We bought some much needed furniture that upgraded our basement from that post-college "anything goes"-look to one of grown-up, stable home-owners: a TV console and a matching shelf with 10 of those cubby-holes. This also allowed us to move our TV out of our living room. Yippee!! I'm not very good at spending money. It makes me nervous. So we did not buy any of the cool bins to fill the cubbies. I felt we'd blown our wad with the two big furniture pieces.

Dresser Then this last weekend, we shopped at IKEA again. What's really great is I know the store now. I don't run around frantically fondling everything. We go in with a list. We shop efficiently. I come mentally prepared for the crowds. I enjoyed taking my daughter to the bathroom, and was delighted when she went #2 and I got to demonstrate the dual-flush toilet and lecture her on why they are so cool! This time we came home with 10 natural fiber Knipsa baskets for our cubby-holes. Now my basement is more organized. It looks like a grown-up room and less like a preschool. Hallelujah! The other big thing we bought was a dresser for my girls' bedroom. We had an old one (it was from my husband's bedroom from when he grew up). It's solid wood. Nice looking. But impossible for a 3- or 5-year old to open their drawers. So when I told them to go get dressed, they couldn't because they couldn't open the drawers! It was also too small to contain all the clothing for two kids. On the rare occasion when I had all the laundry clean I couldn't cram it all into the drawers. So it sat on top looking messy and driving me crazy. Hopefully with our new dresser some of those frustrations will be gone: my kids will dress themselves; I can do the laundry without space limitation disincentives.

Less than a year ago, while I was in Master Recycler training, I was introduced to the concept of precycling. Yet here I am talking about all these new things I just bought. In my defense, I've become a very cautious consumer, and I spend a lot of time thinking about whether we really need the things before we buy now. I also spend a lot of time deciding what to buy, based on what I think will last and serve our family for a long time. So I hope we've made good decisions this time.

Wishing you all a happy new year!!

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