Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ikea Pax Wardrobe Systems

Today let’s talk about an item I couldn’t live without, even though it tried to kill me (and still might): my Pax wardrobe system from Ikea.

My first Pax unit came with our condo. At first I thought the former owners had thrown it in in order to sweeten the deal since the bedroom has no closet (it’s a loft). Later I would learn that it was included because the only way to get it out would be in pieces.
While Pax #1 was huge (it’s the model that’s almost eight feet high and over three feet wide), it wasn’t quite big enough for two people so we got it a sibling. At the same time, we upgraded from the swinging doors to the glass, sliding ones because they just look a lot nicer, even if they are pricier and deadlier (more on that in a minute).

When buying Pax #2, it initially seemed like the hardest part would be deciding how to customize the inside. There are tons of options and what to go with really depends on you and what you wear. We already had some pieces from Pax #1 (it’s fairly simple to move and re-arrange the pieces) and in the end decided to give Shawn’s side a regular clothing rod, two medium-depth draws and a pants hanger. My side meanwhile ended up with a duel clothing rod so that I could hang dresses as well as shirts, a shallow draw for my makeup and accessories and two deep drawers for sweaters and the like.

But really, choosing the interior was the easy part. The hard part was building the bastard.

Ikea makes it really clear that you need two people to build one of these things. Really, it should make it clear that you need two people who are very physically fit and ideally over six feet tall. Seriously, Building a Pax wardrobe could kill you (or cause the person you’re working with to kill you out of frustration).

Shawn and I built Pax #2 together and the only way we got through it was viewing Ikea as the enemy, not each other, and by following the directions. But even then, even though we raised the stupid box exactly how you’re supposed to, we still cracked it. Thankfully the crack was on the back and didn’t seem to affect the structural integrity of the unit (well, not yet anyways).

We did think about switching the positioning of Pax #2 with Pax #1 so that the “damaged” one would be in the corner where it would have more support. That was how we discovered that Pax #1 was also cracked in the back and so we decided just to leave it where it was (and that’s why our condo’s former owners didn’t want it).

So if you buy one of these things, expected some crackage. And if you decide to go with the sliding, glass doors, expect more frustration and pain because getting those things correctly in the grooves is damn hard. I would actually recommend that you have a third person on hand and that all of your wear shoes because those doors will pop out and try to crush your toes.

Since getting the glass doors, I have learned to slide them very carefully because they will fall off the track if pushed too hard, too fast and while that’s not life-threatening, getting them back on the track is a pain.

I will admit that when we were putting the sliding doors on, I was really wishing we’d gone with the easier (and cheaper) swinging doors but now that they’re up, I do have to say that they were worth the effort because they do look great.

In fact, the whole set up looks great and is very functional. While it’s no walk-in closet, at the size we have, it’s pretty damn close and I really can’t complain about it.

We ended up spending around $1000 on our Pax wardrobe system but we did save some money because we already had one box as well as some of the interior accessories. Because of all the options you can spend a lot more, or a lot less, it just depends on what you want.

And if you need a custom wardrobe I would totally recommend the Pax. Just maybe pay a couple of the nice people from Ikea to build it for you.

Would I buy this again: Yes
Should you buy it: As long as you know you can build it (or pay someone else to do that for you)

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