Let's Play "Guess That Quote!"

by Katy on August 9, 2009 · 11 comments


I like to keep an eye out for inspiration, which is sometimes found in the most unlikely of sources. The following quote jumped out at me yesterday:

“It’s about doing more this less, challenging convention, being careful with money and not letting a single thing go to waste (good for prices and the planet). . . . People who hate to throw money down the drain . . . . People who know the value of money and are prepared to work a little harder for what they believe in.”

Was this from:

  1. A pamphlet on voluntary simplicity
  2. A speech by Barack Obama
  3. 2010 Ikea catalog
  4. The Compact website
  5. A draft from The Non-Consumer Advocate book

If you guessed 3) 2010 Ikea catalog, then give yourself a pat on the back. It just goes to show you that great ideas and thoughts can be co-opted to sell the most irrelevant of goods. (Tell me again how¬†fall-apart/ destined for the landfill particle board furniture is good “value for money?!”)

Having said all that . . . I still like the sentiment. At least Ikea employs some high quality copy writers.

And high quality writing is something I can believe in.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

stefcirillo August 9, 2009 at 8:35 pm

I was drooling through the new IKEA catalogue myself and noticed that quote and thought of you and your blog — I seem to remember you saying something recently about IKEA being as non-non-consumer as it gets. I don’t like shopping at IKEA because I tend to buy things just because they’re cheap, which is a terrible reason to buy anything. I will say that the things I’ve bought at IKEA, for whatever reason, I have used for years and years … but I have rules about what I buy there (no furniture!), and if I go, I go with a specific purpose in mind, or else it’s chaos. The best plan, of course, is to not go at all (thank goodness it’s pretty far away from my house!). I am steadily trying to reform my life using your philosophy … slowly but surely!


Barb August 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm

The closest Ikea to me involves a ferry ride ($150.00 to go both ways). Even so, I prefer to get any furniture second hand at an antique store. I figure of something has already made it 50 years + it is going to be around forever!
I just can’t seem to make sense of buying new. It seems to me Ikea is being quite patronizing in this statement. I feel like the statement has them laughing as the consumer leaves the store. “Sucker” they whisper…


Angela August 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm

The things we’ve bought at Ikea I haven’t found to be throwaway. I probably wouldn’t purchase any major furniture like a dining room table or anything like that, but we have office bookshelves and organizing type material, also cereal bowls and glasses, that we’ve had 10 or 15 years and don’t plan on getting rid of anytime soon. In fact, we each have a “Poang” chair in our office, which cost under $100, and not only would I never give mine up, it’s one of the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever owned.

I think the IKEA “vision” was to provide a nicer design to people for a more affordable price. They definitely use less expensive materials, but I don’t think they’re necessarily “cheap” products, at least not all of them. I actually can’t think of anything we’ve ever bought that fell apart or wore out quickly.

p.s. I don’t work for IKEA.


Kristen@The Frugal Girl August 10, 2009 at 5:15 am

Like Angela, we’ve had some really good stuff from Ikea. Our Poang chair is now almost 10 years old and is still going strong. Ditto for the little black nightstand, which used to be ours and is now Joshua’s.

Certainly, there’s some cheap crap there that will end up getting thrown away too soon, but it’s not all bad.


Lisa August 10, 2009 at 5:24 am

We have a couple of beds from Ikea that have stood up well to the abuse my kids heap on them. My son’s bed is almost 10 years old and it is still going strong. DD’s bed will see her through college. Because of our limited space, 835 sq.ft., we decided loft beds were the way to go.

On the other hand, we are currently in the market for a desk for my daughter’s room. I couldn’t stand anything they had at Ikea. I did find one at a salvage store that I loved but DD didn’t. So we continue looking……


Jinger August 10, 2009 at 6:04 am

I really like IKEA. I can go with $20 and pick up a large white ceramic pot that I use to hold utensils, a small rag rug, a glass vase, river stones, a Lucky Bamboo plant, and a basket. All have stood the test of time. Also, I bought a table/desk and a Snile chair 4 years ago that I use daily and they still look like new.

I also love seeing how people hack IKEA goods into other items.


Charlotte August 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I really think you’re too harsh on IKEA. I have bought lots of furniture from them over the years. You have to look careful at what you’re buying (as always), but many of their lines are actually quite high in quality and hold up very well. And are often made from solid wood, not particleboard. The cheapest of their cheapest stuff is Not Good, but as soon as you opt for a little higher in price, you’re getting very good quality for decent price.

(Now whether you like their styles is a totally different question.)

Certainly IKEA is heads and shoulders above many other furniture retailers around here that really sell you particleboard-crap.


Alley August 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

My husband works for the Ikea at one of their distribution centers. I actually saw this quote up on the wall in the waiting room when I went to get my daughters car seat from him one day so I knew exactly where the quote came from. Like the commenters above, I have to say that the furniture that we have from Ikea (and they have been very generous to us at Christmas times, so we actually have quite a few things now) are not throw away items. The pots and pans sets I got for my daughter from Ikea are something I’m planning to keep for my grandchildren they are so well constructed (and classic). Knowing what I know from him working there, they are all about recycling, reducing waste when possible, and good working conditions. I love their set ups to show how someone can live in a 270ish square foot home/ apartment. I know buying new is outside the compact, but if you are going to buy new, this is the type of company you want to buy it from. Long time reader, and love your blog!


Dawn August 11, 2009 at 11:56 am

As I started out my household I bought shelves, dishes, lamps, pots, pans and just about everything else one THINKS they need when starting out. Some of this stuff is still with me 10 years later, but a lot of it isn’t.

As with all big box retailers, part of the issue was quality and part of it was just realizing I didn’t really NEED or WANT the stuff. I just thought I did when I purchased it

When Ikea opened in Portland, I was excited, but have limited my purchases (as I have across the board with my shopping). I’ve found Ikea great for inexpensive cotton rugs and curtains and bookshelves. Some other things (like glass food containers) have been misses.

As others have noted, to get the most of your Ikea dollars, you do have to be careful about what it is you’re buying.

I would also add that you should bring a shopping list and stick to it. It’s easy to be seduced by the way the store is designed.

Or, stay away completely. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t know what’s there.

On a sort-of side note: McNeal Lehrer did an interview with the author of the book “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture” last night. If the line about where lumber from Asia for big box furniture doesn’t make you think, I’m not sure what will. Video is here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/share.html?s=news01s2e74qaf5.


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