In a nutshell – I’ve been given £300 by Ikea to spend on things to make living more sustainable. It has to be spent in Ikea and it’s for the Live LAGOM project.
I had strange mixed feelings before the shopping trip, which was booked for 4pm on a warm December afternoon. The first was terrible excitement – it’s a lot of money that we wouldn’t spend in one chunk normally. The second was sort of guilt – although some of the money is going to be spent on things that will make living cheaper (like LED lightbulbs and curtains to block out drafts) the rest of it is pretty much treats, it’s going to take a lot of time to pay back the salad costs from a £75 indoor growing hydroponics set……. I knew I should just relax into it and enjoy myself but it’s just weird buying stuff in order to consume less. I’ve been so used to only buying things I really need that this seems very extravagant.
Speaking to Ikea experts helps!
I went to an Ikea lighting workshop before the shopping trip. With an hour to go before I had to make decisions, I still wasn’t sure how to spend the money in the best way. Melissa, Anna and Lisa from Bristol Ikea all had really useful things to say. I only realised that lighting is so important after the Ikea home visit, I was quite used to cooking and knitting in the dark and suffering through winter in a really dark workroom. The lighting workshop was open to all and if, like me, you are totally clueless about this kind of thing, you might find one helpful too. What I got out of the workshop was the idea that a well-lit room has layers of lighting – a top light for general stuff, then focussed work lights and softer lights to create a mood. All of this sort of thing I dismissed as total nonsense previously but when you see one of the room layouts without the lighting you can see what a huge difference it makes. Incidentally the rooms are all copies of real rooms in real people’s houses, redone with Ikea solutions. Lighting was the thing I have had most problem getting my head around. In the end I decided to change all the bulbs to dimmable LED’s so we have some flexibility.
A ban on plastic
About a month before all this Ikea stuff started I’d vowed to stop buying plastic for the house. This is inspired by my friend Marylins house which has wicker, wood and glass where most of us have a plastic box. Marylin is a very talented fashion designer who upcycles all her designs which you can see in her Etsy shop Marylotte. Her home has this most gorgeous warmth to it, it smells good and it feels healthy so I’m going to follow her lead and try my best to stick to natural materials. This is quite helpful in terms of an open shopping trip because a ban on plastic cuts out about 80% of Ikeas products. Less choice is much easier for me. I have been told that Ikea use plastic made from wood fibre and old recycled plastic so it’s not as evil as a lot of plastic, but it’s still what it is.
Personal shopping with experts!
Melissa was also our personal shopper at 4pm and it helped to have someone who knew the store really well. I had a flexible shopping list based on what we found in the bargain basement and she, along with Amie from marketing were both really patient while I tried to juggle things in my head. We got some great curtain bargains which saved a large chunk of money to spend on other things. I did buy some plastic, battery powered candles last minute at the bargain basement so my ethics are clearly divided when it comes to bargains.
Here is our shopping split into our goals for the Live LAGOM project
Save money on energy coming into the house
Save money on energy going out of the house
Save my energy with better storage
Save my energy with better lighting for work and relaxation
Produce my own salad all year round
Because of the savings in the bargain basement we could also get a super soft cloud like sheepskin, which my son grabbbed pretty sharpish!
Watch this space for the results of changing all the lightbulbs for LED’s, adding curtains, improving the lighting around the house and growing indoor salad all year round.