A SAMLA for Everything, and Everything in its SAMLA

Posted on Design

I’ve spent years resisting the idea that I have embraced an ‘IKEA lifestyle’. My own partner is the source of most of this gentle ribbing, despite the fact they benefit as much as I do from our tidy, ‘flatpackable’ assortment of furnishings. This year, however, I may have to concede the point to myself.

There is something especially satisfying about the way SAMLA and BYGGLEK boxes have worked out for us. The former in particular are inexpensive, stackable, transparent and sturdy — ideal for storing everything from household tools to scrapbooking supplies and myriad, oddly-shaped small electronic devices.

White- and transparent boxes of various size, arranged inside a pair of white bookcases.
Given the varied storage demands inherent to scrapbooking, gunpla and LEGO: my hobby shelve have never looked neater since our last IKEA delivery.

The form factor of BYGGLEK boxes is especially surprising as in all honesty, we only bought into this LEGO/IKEA collaboration because we’re Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs). Two of these boxes have found more decorative purposes rather than practical ones, but the larger of the bunch turned out to be an ideal size for my other plastic-shaping hobby: gundam plastic models (“gunpla”).

Transparent box containing a cutting mat and pieces of a plastic figurine; open-topped white box containing plastic sprew sheets and a "Gundam Kyrious" assembly manual.
A SAMLA tub (lower left) manages to neatly store all my crafting tools and partially-assembled elements of the current model, while an open-topped BYGGLEK (upper right) can easily hold its sprew sheets while keeping them accessible.

I think what I’ve come to realise of late is that there is value in having useful things which fit just so. Much can be said for the monopolistic ubiquity of IKEA, however: the fact I can stash such a strange assortment of objects so neatly into a shelf whose dimensions match boxes from the same manufacturer is satisfying despite that.

It’s akin to the satisfaction of wearing well-fitting clothes or wielding a well-crafted tool, writ large across our entire living space. Maybe that isn’t something to be ashamed of after all.

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