6 Secrets The Container Store Doesn't Want You to Know
These shopping hacks will help you get organized and have fun doing it.
If you're a sucker for an organization system, there's nowhere quite like The Container Store. Whether you're looking to turn your closet into the dressing room of your dreams or you want to finally be able to see everything in your pantry, it's the one-stop shop to help you declutter and systemize your home. You can also feel good about shopping here; the retailer has made Fortune's list of the best places to work for several years in a row. But even the most committed purchasers might have more to learn about this organizational wonderland. Read on for the biggest shopping secrets The Container Store doesn't want you to know. They'll save you money, get your creative juices flowing, and, most importantly, make cleaning up fun.
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Don't be afraid to invest in specialty items.
The Container Store truly does organizational items better than anyone—and you shouldn't be put off by the more complex specialty items that sometimes come in at higher price points than places like Walmart or IKEA.
Marie Jackson, a former employee who now owns her own organizing business says that many of the store's products can't be found elsewhere. For example, she's a big fan of the stackable bins, which come in varieties for sweaters and shirts as well as shoes, and the Elfa door organizer.
Take advantage of the free design services.
One of the best parts about shopping at The Container Store is the ability to make an organizational system that fits any room you want. But don't be afraid to talk to the employees and ask them to help you customize your purchase; they know best, after all.
Instead of shopping online, venture into the store and have your measurements handy so they can guide you. Items from the popular Elfa collection are designed to be customized. "The door organizer product is amazing and has a plethora of options to get you organized, from gift wrapping supplies to hanging hats," notes Jackson.
For a more major project, you can also take advantage of the store's free in-home design service. Just schedule an appointment and an expert designer will come to your home, take measurements, and help you see the work through to completion.
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Know when the sales are.
As mentioned, The Container Store can be pricier than its competitors on certain items, but don't let that stop you from living your best organizational life. Just be savvy about sales times.
Unlike other stores, sales don't always happen around Black Friday, and they're usually geared towards Elfa products specifically. "Elfa goes on sale a few times a year so I would definitely wait until a sale happens before making any purchases," advises Jackson.
Typically, the big 30-percent-off Elfa sale occurs in January and February, and while it did take place last year, the discount was only 20 percent with a $500 minimum to qualify, according to this Reddit thread.
But you'll be glad to know that once you've made the initial investment, you can expect to have the products for a very long time. "I used to work for The Container Store and I've had some of their elfa products for over 20 years now and it is still in incredible shape, in spite of several moves and daily use," user B1ustopher shared on Reddit.
As for all your other purchases, see if you can hold off until a store-wide sale. This past September, almost everything was 25 percent off.
Don't forget the small stuff.
Sure, the Container Store is known for its organizational systems, but if you look closely, there are lots of useful, more affordable items that will make your everyday life easier.
"The weighted eye pillow and the every drop spatula set were the biggest hits when I worked at Container Store," Twitter user @csyjay said. She recommended both as stocking stuffers, as they cost $14.99 and $8.99, respectively.
In a blog post on her website, Jackson included the aforementioned bins, and many more items, in a list of her favorite Container Store products under $10.
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You can save big if you know an employee.
We can't speak to the rules or ethics behind using a friend or family member's employee discount, but we can tell you that those who work at The Container Store get a much bigger incentive than at other retailers. And if they're willing to make purchases for you, your savings could be big, too.
"I just found out that employees of the Container Store get 40% off everything and honestly I've never wanted to quit medicine more in my life," tweeted user @DrBrittaniJ. In response, user @ma11oryjn said, "honestly I worked at TCS for a few years out of college and never did one entire paycheck make it to my bank account. we got dibs on new products and the 40% off was the highlight of working there. i must say, i miss it!"
You can create your own discount day.
A lot of stores' free sign-up programs end up being one more thing to clog your email inbox. But The Container Store's Organized Insider program provides great benefits that are based on how much you spend in a year. For example, if you've spent $1,000 or more, you get to choose one day of the year to get 25 percent off an entire order. Even if you only spend $299 or less, you can still pick a day to save 15 percent. Other perks include birthday discounts and special savings when you reach a new Organized Insider tier.