I Just Discovered the Container Store and I Think My Life Has Been Changed Forever

Illustration for article titled I Just Discovered the Container Store and I Think My Life Has Been Changed Forever
Screenshot: The Container Store (YouTube)

Perhaps this is a Pittsburgh thing, or maybe this is just a me thing, but I have a habit of first discovering and/or learning—either through rap music or a thing said by a standup comic—about things that everyone already knows. For instance, although I knew of the Cheesecake Factory, I didn’t know they sold things other than cheesecake until watching Chris Rock on Oprah mention that their shrimp and bacon club was his favorite sandwich. My discovery of the Container Store came in a (somewhat) similar manner.


I was watching a Bill Burr standup special over a decade ago and during a bit that might not have aged quite well about girlfriends and wives forcing men to do things we don’t want to do, he brought up the Container Store. (Paraphrasing: Burr’s gf: “Do you want to go to the Container Store this weekend?” Burr: “Nooooooooo!”)

For years—and yes, YEARS—I thought this was a store that Burr invented just for the bit; a hyperbolic way of describing the type of inane thing that exists solely to waste manly men’s time. And then, once I learned that it actually does exist, I was incredulous and dismissive. “What the fuck is a point of an entire store for Tupperware? Why don’t they just call it the ... Tupperware Store?” (I’m clever.)

And then, a couple of years ago, a Container Store opened in a new outdoor mall complex a few miles north of the city. That a J. Crew, an Off Saks Fifth Avenue, and a Nordstrom Rack are also part of this complex reinforced the idea that this store is some pointless yuppie shit. Like Ikea, but if Ikea went to Dartmouth. Even when I’d hear other people sing the praises of this place, I’d put them in the same bucket I place niggas who pretend to enjoy La Croix. 

Anyway, as many of you already know, I recently bought a house, and my wife and I have taken this opportunity to purge. Clothes we rarely wear, furniture we don’t need, the Obama family Kwanzaa figurines I bought from the barbershop mixtape guy nine years ago—we gave (and threw) away as much stuff as we could. Also, with the way this new house is constructed, we needed to explore different shelving and storage options to make the best use of our space. For me, this meant, among other things, that I needed to find something to do with my shoes.

Like any other self-respecting 39-year-old black man who’s allowed rap music to have too great of an influence on his life, I have too many shoes. I wouldn’t call myself a sneakerhead or a hype beast, but a nigga just has proclivities. And as people who own many pairs of shoes know, 1) storing them can be a hassle and 2) shoeboxes make for great places to store unopened mail, old birthday cards, and the one VHS tape still in existence of you dunking a basketball. So while googling shoe-storage methods last week, I came across several attractive (and cool!) options at the Container Store.

I drove out there Monday night in search of them and HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THERE WERE SO MANY OPTIONS AND CHOICES FOR MORE EFFICIENT USE OF CLOSET SPACE AND HOME SQUARE FOOTAGE IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING PARADISE? Everything I needed was there. Things I didn’t know I needed until I saw them—like a pack of translucent hangers—were there. Things that are aspirational needs—shit I don’t need yet, but needing them eventually are #lifegoals—were there. THESE NIGGAS EVEN HAVE DECORATIVE STORAGE BOXES! I WANT TO BE A NIGGA WITH DECORATIVE STORAGE BOXES FILLED WITH SWEATERS MAYBE IN MY CRIB!


For my shoes, I decided on the Men’s Drop-Front Shoe Box, which gives my sneakers a nice little home and takes up much less space than storing where I did before, which was either on the floor or on random steps. Also related, we sold our house yesterday and decided to just move into the Container Store. We’re having a housewarming in October, so come through!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I am impressed that you were able to buy anything at all - the few times I’ve been there I’ve walked away empty-handed. There are just so many awesome choices that I get overwhelmed and just don’t buy anything. I love that there are containers that go inside of containers that go inside of containers. You can get a box of a box of boxes, and they all fit perfectly inside one another for maximum storage efficiency. I don’t even know what I would store in such boxes; I just know that I really really want them.