Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Like everyone else I know, I have a lot of stuff.

It’s stuffed into closets. It’s stuffed into drawers. It’s stuffed under the bed. It’s stuffed into pocketbooks. And some of this stuff is just hanging out in plain sight because there’s no darned place to stuff it.

The one thing that prevents me from accumulating more stuff is living in an already-stuffed, small footprint condo with limited storage.

I must note that it’s likely that the proliferation of stuff that has occurred throughout the world over the last several decades that prompts me to declare as “small footprint” a condo that houses two people that’s not all that much smaller than the house I grew up in, which housed seven people.

Of course, the house I grew up in had a lot more storage space, given that it had full basement. Still, in the old days, people in general had a less stuff. And the stuff that they did have – here I think of the stuff that my grandmother’s flat contained, the stuff that my mother accumulated, the stuff that crowded my aunt’s house – tended (at least in my family) to be knick-knacky: the decorative plate with the hand-painted fruit, the ceramic plaque with the lute playing angels, the Hummel of the little boy in lederhosen and the kippy hat. Dust catchers, certainly, but not stuff that took up a lot of room (like skis, 46” flat screen TV’s, and old monitors and CPUs). And it was stuff that was meant to be displayed, not contained.

Today’s stuff - the dozens of sweaters, all those pairs of shoes, the specialized kitchen items: the melon-baller, the cherry-pitter, the ramekins, the omelet pans – needs to be contained. And that’s before we take into account that Christmas is not longer the only holiday that requires display. These days, folks decorate for  Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Fourth of July. And those decorations need to get stuffed somewhere.

Is it any wonder that businesses like California Closets and the Container Store thrive?

The Container Store, in fact, is poised for an IPO.

Part of their investor pitch is international expansion.

After all, it’s not just Hollywood blockbusters and Beyoncé that we export. We also export the desire to accumulate stuff. Which, in turn, creates the need for containers to contain all that stuff.

The Container Store’s global efforts have started small:

About two weeks ago, without much fanfare, the Texas-based shop for all things organizational started processing online orders from nine countries: Australia, India, Mexico, Germany, France, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, and the U.K. (Source: Business Week.)

Who’d have thunk a few short decades ago that Russians who were lucky to “own” a samovar and a babushka would now require containers?

…the company said it may eventually build stores abroad to compliment Elfa, its Sweden-based subsidiary that makes modular shelving.

Cool! Containers and shelves to put the containers on.

Stuff rules!

I’ve been to the Container Store a couple of times, and it goes without saying that I didn’t walk away empty-handed. Who doesn’t need more containers?

On my list of places that I’d like to win some type of “Supermarket Sweeps”, I’d put the Container Store right behind Staples. Just as well that there’s no Container Store within walking distance, or I’d no  doubt haunt it. I can barely walk by a Staples without droping in to buy some more yellow pads or Post-It notes.

Who doesn’t want -  and maybe even need -  enamel pails? I could neaten up the Pails_mbathrooms by putting some stuff in these babies. Not wild about the pink, but the green and the chrome would work.

I have more earrings than you can shake a stick at. They compete for space in my two jewelryLaqueredRectangularBoxLg_m boxes with necklaces, bracelets, and pins. And those necklaces have a tendency to work themselves into knots. So I could scoop up a bunch of these lacquered boxes and at minimum stow the bracelets and pins in them, leaving more room for the earrings to breathe and the necklaces to stretch out.

And I’d like this “Lookers Tote” to contain yellow paLookersTote10060725_mds, PostIt notes, articles of possible blogger interest ripped out of The Economist.

I have so much stuff to be contained, it’s no wonder that I want all those containers in the Container Store. Just looking through their website, I can barely contain my lust. And it’s no wonder that someday they will someday contain all the stuff in the whole wide world!

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