TAMPA Organization is a journey, not a destination. That's the soothing mantra sales staffers at the Container Store use to comfort overwhelmed customers who wander into their store feeling overwhelmed and maybe a bit ashamed by their houses packed with clutter. Don't try tackling the whole house at once, they say. Instead, start with something small, such as your junk drawer, and then “enjoy the euphoria of neatness.” This weekend, the Container Store opens in an enormous building at the corner of West Shore Boulevard and Spruce Street, and the company this week is training staffers on how to help customers find that neatness euphoria. Maybe it's a nifty wall-mounted box to hold and dispense plastic grocery bags, maybe a hanging shoe rack.
If customers do pick the closet to tackle, here's one tactic: Take everything in hangars out on your birthday, and turn the hangars around so the hooks face outward, not inward. Then as you use clothes, put them back in the right way. On your next birthday, “look at everything still facing the wrong way because you never wore them, take them out, and maybe give those clothes to a friend, or to charity. It will free you,” said Elaine Luce, a senior director of marketing and special events at the Dallas-based Container Store. Wednesday, sales staffers took group tours of the store's departments, taking lessons on how to show off organizing doodads from the company officials who buy those products for the store's lineup. For instance: On a wall of hundreds of types of hangars, closet expert Erin Hogue showed three kinds, including an especially wide version for customers who aren't “big,” but rather “broad shouldered,” and a pack of special hangars whose hooks rotate. Why, she asked. “So you can hang an outfit on the door! On the door!” an excited trainee blurted out. Price: $5.99. A “Little Black Dress” jewelry hangar, the size and shape of a real cocktail dress, but covered in tiny pockets to hang your jewelry in your closet, and make it all visible at once. Price: $19.99. A wall of bubble wrap sold by the foot, white cardboard boxes and bags of recycled paper filling priced $8 for a bag the size of an extra-large pillow. An “Eagle Creek Packet Folder” kit to fold clothes into your luggage, complete with a plastic sheet covered in directions, “Just like they use at the Gap to fold clothes,” Luce said. $27.49. Hundreds of refrigerator magnets. But knowing that many customers have stainless steel fridges that won't hold magnets, the store sells a special dry-erase Clingboard, “with a special stickiness that has no adhesive to leave a residue,” Luce said. Price: $9.99. This is the 59th Container Store to open nationwide. Another will open soon in Orlando, as the company continues to expand in Florida, but there's already huge buzz here, with more than 100 people online signed up for an opening day event at the store.