March 8 is going to be a big day in King of Prussia, PA, when The Container Store opens its doors on a whole new building. Yeah! We in the NAPO community (National Association of a Professional Organizers) are thrilled, especially since The Container Store has been an association member and partner for years.
But before I give you the sneak peek into this gorgeous, highly anticipated opening, and tell you all the lovely things about the store, remember to breathe. Maybe have a Snickers (You know, you’re not you when you’re hungry). Put your credit cards on ice, literally if you have to.
I hear the siren song, too. But let me give you the top reasons you don’t want to buy up the store on day one.
1. I’ll just put the biggest reason out there: clutter. Not the kind of dusty, old-fashioned clutter that you are thinking about, but the shiny, jingly, new-in-the-box sort of clutter that I see every day. I can not tell you how many times the organizing gadgets have become the clutter that I’ve been called in to organize!
2. Before you head to the Container Store, remember the 5 steps of organizing. We just covered them back in January: S-P-A-C-E. Sort and purge FIRST, then analyze and plan where and how you really want to organize your stuff, project by project. THEN containerize. Buying stuff is STEP 4, not step one.
3. Let’s key in on a very important fact about design, what the human eye finds pleasing, and marketing. We design-types call it “form” and “repetition of form”. If you notice the magazine articles, catalogs, and Pinterest spreads that catch your eye, it’s usually because an organized space has lots of the same form, shape, or color repeated. That works to a retailer’s advantage, because to get an organized cabinet, you don’t want to buy just one cute new basket, you’ll want a dozen of them. Now, in some cases, you may really need a dozen new baskets. But sometimes you don’t. Think about what you can make do or how you can create order and repetition without buying a dozen new things.
4. Materials matter. I should probably do a whole workshop on this at some point. But before you buy, think about what it’s made of and where it comes from. The colorful, shiny plastics will be calling to you from the aisles, but I urge you to resist. Glass, metal, and bamboo containers often have advantages over their plastic counterparts. They are usually more durable, more fire resistant, more likely to be re-purposed, better able to fit into a new design scheme because they are color neutral, and more likely to be recyclable at the end of their useful life. The Container Store, of course, has a great selection of durable, renewable materials.
5. While we’re on the subject of materials, consider where that shiny new bauble comes from. Whenever possible, flip it over, and see if the object of your desire was made here in the USA. Sometimes you have a choice between products, where one or more item might be made here. It’s worth checking.
6. Measurements matter, just as much, if not more, than everything I’ve mentioned already. If you follow the five steps I mentioned above (S-P-A-C-E), you’ll know what problem you are trying to solve, and where you are trying to solve it. That means you’ll be able to measure the space and buy a product that will actually fit. Are those drawers 2″, 3.5″, or deeper? Are those baskets you are looking for going to go on a 12″ or 16″ shelf? The nice thing about The Container Store is that they do a good job of staffing their stores with “neat” people, who are often very good at answering questions. But they can only help you solve space problems if they know what size the space is.
7. Last, and this is kind of a biggie, consider whether you have the “tools” to install your new organizing gadget once you get it home. If it needs to be screwed in, hung, or assembled, you might just want to think about that a moment longer. Do you have the saw, drill, and hardware needed? Are you able to find the studs, or otherwise successfully fasten things to your walls? Are you pretty sure this is a DIY project you can handle, or do you have a handyman you trust already lined up? If this is something you’ll only ever do once, you might not have the experience, tools, or patience to install it well.
I’m trying to save you from spending $50, $100, or more on pretty junk that will end up, still wrapped in the store bag, possibly missing its receipt, hiding in your car trunk.
Did you consider all of these tips? Have your shopping list and plan ready? Then by all means, go shop at the new Container Store in King of Prussia! Especially since they’ll be donating 10% of their grand opening sales to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
Having the Container Store right in my backyard is certainly going to make my life easier, and maybe yours, too! I will now have ready access to large quantities of uniform, high-quality products for you, my favorite client. This is one more store among many where I will happily meet you for a shopping trip, to help avoid all of the traps laid out above. Rather than wandering the aisles starry-eyed, I can shop with you and get you in and out, with just the right products that you’ll be loving for years.
Just in case you are wondering, this is obviously not a sponsored post, nor do I receive any benefit from this. Yes, I do love the Container Store. But just like I love strawberry daiquiris, I want to enjoy them, and not deal with a hangover