The Ikea juggle

I recently was waiting in the car park of IKEA.

There were a lot of people juggling various flat pack packages and goodies from the marketplace, putting them in, taking them out, trying different angles, a different order and every permutation of getting things in the car.

We’ve all done the ikea juggle, we head up there for just a couple of bits and end up not being able to fit everything in the car. Maybe even contemplating leaving a family member behind to fit everything in, yes you would have to make the trip back again to pick them up, but at least it is sorted for the time being!

This is such a problem that IKEA now rents vans by the hour.

Is your life like this? That suddenly you look around and everything is being crammed in? You only intended to do a couple of things, but actually it is all too much? And you are constantly looking at your diary and wondering what you can leave behind, before deciding that you really can’t, so you cram it all in and your husband is left squished against the window like a cartoon?*

Simplicity is the power to reclaim our lives, but it is difficult. Not only do you have to really think about what is important to you, but also your family too.

What makes a big difference to all of you?

My main focus is my creativity, which takes different forms in different seasons, but is mainly writing, music, drawing and photography. At one point I was also sewing and knitting and trying to make many things. I realised this was silly as I didn’t even enjoy the last two projects. I finished up my husband’s Star Wars man sized quilt for his Christmas present (hand sewing the edging with a dreadful cold on Christmas Eve) and that’s it, no more sewing. I have given away the majority of my fabric stash, although I am still trying to figure out what to do with my Nan’s cast iron (that maybe a slight exaggeration) sewing machine. All my knitting stuff is going to head off to a local knit and natter group.

I quite like knitting, but I realised that I don’t have the precision required for it, and also I was knitting when I sat down to watch TV- it was a way of staying busy. I don’t need to do that. I don’t watch a lot of of TV, so it is nice to focus on in when I do so. And also, I can’t do everything – I have to make a decision and this is where I have decided.

My drawing is primarily focused on ink and watercolours, there are a lot of different techniques out there, but I can’t do them all, not least because I can’t afford it, and so I have decided to focus on them.

I need to stay fit and healthy, otherwise my illness creeps up on me, so I have focused on walking and swimming, and more recently tai chi, mainly as these are low risk of injury, but also because I have a dog, walking allows me to think and be in nature, which always feeds my soul, and I have always been good at swimming and it is nice to do something that makes me feel strong. Tai Chi is great for keeping me calm. All of these have very little in the way of equipment and are easy just to get on and do, it doesn’t need a huge amount of set up.

At all of these stages I have had to decide what I want to focus on, I just can’t cram everything in. That has been hard for me to learn and something I continually struggle with. What about you? Do you still try to fit all the things into your life?

If you want help in figuring out your creative goals, or how to simplify your life, I offer coaching.

*disclaimer – I have awesome packing skills, my husband has never been abandoned at Ikea, he may have been slightly squished though…


  1. Jen, when I have a lot of stuff to do, I try to be very organized. I tend to work with a time schedule on my head about doing my homework for my MA in Classical Studies, doing housework, cooking, reading magazines, practicing my singing, and watering plants. I tend to go for walks early in the morning, so that I can get it over with. Of course, I do not knit and sew and I do not know how to do it either. I definitely do not know how to paint and draw, therefore I do not have the same hobbies as you. Enjoy your hobbies!

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