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Bins, boxes and things 

The Container Store to open; Tops Shoes closes.

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At most stores, the phrase “tax time sale” wouldn't come into play for another month or so, when they'd mark down big-ticket items just in time to tempt us all out of the fat refund checks we should be direct-depositing into our Roth IRAs.

At the Container Store, though, they know you can't get the refund without filing the return, and you can't file the return without the proper paperwork, and how could you possibly keep track of all the paperwork without bright, pretty, girly, floral-printed file folders, one for each itemized deduction and a few extra just for kicks?

The Container Store — the newest addition at Midtowne Little Rock — holds its grand opening March 8-9, complete with door prizes, a donation of 10 percent of the weekend's sales to CARTI and, going by what's currently advertised on the chain's web site, discounts on all sorts of decorative file folders, file cabinets and desk accessories (www.containerstore.com if you want a preview).

This is the kind of store I could spend the better part of a week in — the ultimate in providing a place for everything, if not the discipline to actually keep everything in its place. All manner of plastic bins and tubs, custom shelving, containers designed specifically for crackers and tea bags and personal lady products (a steal at $2.99). On the website, I found the 7-Bin Storage Tower, a tall, skinny affair with seven drawers that swing out to the side rather than slide out to the front. At $279 it's a bit pricy for my paycheck, but maybe Target will come up with a cheaper knockoff sometime soon.

Hours for the grand opening are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 8 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 9. Chances are good the store will have a soft opening earlier that week, if you'd rather avoid the hoo-rah and crowds.

Other things:

• A Sephora boutique is now open inside the Shackleford Crossing JC Penney. If you're not familiar, Sephora is a chain that carries a number of upscale cosmetic and skin care lines (Philosophy, Urban Decay, Bliss, Tarte, and probably a dozen more), usually in stand-alone locations. The stores are designed to be far more user-friendly than most cosmetics stores or department-store counters: Nothing's hidden in glass cabinets, prices are all easily visible, and you can try anything without a pushy salesperson hovering over you — each display is stocked with disposable applicators and tissues to keep everything hygienic.

• Shoe freaks: Run, walk or teeter northward to the North Little Rock Tops Shoes, where everything is currently half off. The store is going out of business, although salespeople said last week they didn't know for sure when. As of last Saturday the inventory didn't look even remotely picked over. Tops carries a lot of European comfort brands like Dansko, Josef Seibel and Wolfy, plus Columbia, Redwing, New Balance, Florsheim, Earth shoes, plenty of women's dress shoes and on and on. It's definitely worth the hassle of dealing with one-way Warden Road.

• Shop for a cause Friday, March 7, at Ten Thousand Villages: In honor of International Women's Day, the store will donate 10 percent of sales between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to Women and Children First, a local agency that works with victims of domestic violence. If you can't make it then, stop by anyway for a card good for 15 percent off any purchase of planters or other garden accessories. My choice: Fanciful long-legged birds sculpted out of wire and coconut shells ($44-$48) — a folk-art twist on the pink flamingo.

• There's still time to get to Rhea Lana's children's consignment sale, which continues through Saturday at the former MM Cohn store at McCain Mall. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, when everything will be half price. New this sale: A section of teen girls' formalwear.

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