Ikea appeals to the most craven instincts of the naturally untidy person and convinces us, by way of glossy catalogs and store displays of miraculously efficient use of space, that all we need to become organized is the right piece of furniture. "Look at me," says the bookshelf filled with baskets, doors and drawers, "if you took me home and filled me, you could be a different person."
It’s like a bad relationship, really: you see the self you could become with this piece of furniture, and you immediately try to be worthy of it. Furniture as a vehicle of change.
At the store, I look at the the perfect closets filled with pressed clothes on the right type of hangers, shoes on racks, scarves and belts in neat little drawers for that specific purpose, and I want to be that person. I want to be organized. I want to have a place for everything, and I want to be the kind of person who would put everything in its place.
But I am not.
And I know it.
I have, however, found the one exception to this rule. On Saturday, I brought home the Alex drawer unit. I put it together, with much swearing (apparently the unit is female, and quite intractable, if you consider the names I was calling it), but once it got into the workroom, it became perfect. It holds all my thread, bobbins, zippers, needles, presser feet, scissors, rotary cutters, seam rippers, tailors chalk – all the miscellaneous necessary stuff that finds its way all over the house because when I’m done a project I just put it down on the nearest flat surface and then the cats knock it off.
With this piece of furniture, I think, I can become a different person. Except I don’t want to be. Maybe all my years of bad relationships have made me ready for Ikea. I can be the same person I always was, but with better furniture. To make it even better, I velcroed my smallest cutting mat to the top of it so that I can roll the unit right up beside me while I’m sewing and trim seams without leaving my chair. And when I’m done, or need more floor space, the whole thing rolls right under the sewing table. With this piece of furniture, I think, I can become a different person. Except I don’t want to be. Maybe all my years of bad relationships have made me ready for Ikea. I can be the same person I always was, but with better furniture.