The 7 Myths of a Containerized Lifestyle

A place for everything and everything in its place…really?

An interesting tidbit: not only is containerize a verb (to pack in containers or ship by containerization, of course) but it’s a mid-century word possibly invented to meet the growing popularity of the suburban Tupperware party.

Many promises were made during the heyday of the Tupperware business model of the 50s and 60s: airtight freshness, careers for women, organization for life. In subsequent decades, though, two factors burst Tupperware’s hermetically burpable seal: first, the party scheme was responsible for ushering in the Mary Kay get-together and Amway pyramid (for some, everything is for sale…even friendship); secondly, the myth that the key to familial bliss was an organized cupboard.

The myth is not dead, of course, even in light of today’s marriage statistics. Rather, it has evolved (and multiplied) – out of the cupboard and into our living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, medicine cabinets, underwear drawers, and beyond. Perpetuated by the likes of HGTV, the Container Store and Peter Walsh, here are seven myths we’ve come to believe about a containerized lifestyle.

Are you drinking the Kool-Aid? More importantly, is it labeled and color-coordinated?

Myth #1: A New Bin Will Fix…Everything!

Clear plastic or neon bins carry with them the prospect of an organized life, one in which the bills are always paid on time and days unfold in containable, sterilized batches of predictability. If only our sanity could be containerized like storage.

Remember: acquiring more bins than you need will leave you “Bin Laden” and we all know how that story ends.

Myth #2: I Don’t Have Enough Room

Now you’re just being negative. Before overpopulating the housing market in a bid to acquire even more storage space, source out underused nooks and crannys in the house you’ve already got.

Plastic bins aren’t always the answer; consider shelving in your future.

Myth #3: Storage $olutions Don’t Come Cheap

This is why you spend so much money at Target. You could look for cheaper storage solutions at the dollar store (the threat of becoming Bin Laden lurks here too). Or containerize responsibly with reused containers and baskets.

Who says storage has to be transparent, neon or pretty? It just has to function.

Myth #4: My Space is Too Full

So…what: you need more storage?

This brand of optimism is best reserved for glasses of water. When your physical environs spill over into “full” that’s probably because you have too much stuff. Being the optimist that you are, you might have purchased this excess stuff optimistically from HSN.

A garlic dicer will not simplify your life, it will clutter it. The same goes for more storage.

Myth #5: Containerizing Will Lead to a Debt Free Lifestyle

This is related to #4 above, except that you either learned this on a morning talk show or read it in the grocery check-out line. Did you notice the advertisements between the pages and during the commercial breaks?

Avoiding the Container Store will lead to a debt free lifestyle. Buying less stuff will guarantee it.

Myth #6: I’ll Become More Efficient if I Containerize

Stores like Staples and Office Depot exist solely for the purpose of perpetuating this myth. The reason you haven’t written your first novel is not for lack of desktop organization. It’s because Office Max is selling you too many writing blocks (and paperweights, pencil holders, folders, etc.).

Myth #7: Containerizing Will Make My Space a Cleaner Place

Au contraire: containerizing according to any of the myths above will not make your life more organized, efficient, successful, full – not even clean and/or sterilized.

Instead it will turn you into your worst nightmare: a hoarder.


Images: Rubbermaid Products; Baby Center; Krissy Venosdale; Matthew Moss

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.