I’m no fan of January, for the most part. Christmas money’s spent. Jeans are too tight. New Year’s resolutions are unresolved. The heating bill makes me nauseated. Spring feels about as far off as the end of my 30-year-mortgage.
In one vaguely embarrassing way, the time between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day is my favorite of the year. It’s the Season of Plastic Bins, the Six Weeks of the Shelf, the Days of Wine Racks and Roses. Could be I’m plugging into the nesting vibe of the gestating natural world — or just that I’m a rabid Virgo with a thing for shelves and boxes that rivals Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe obsession — but every Sunday this time of year I’m diving for the Target ad and mentally refitting my closets with the most intricate system of rods, baskets and drawer dividers in the whole of human history.
Which makes it a very, very good thing that I’d never been in Stack-n-Rack on Cantrell Road until after someone else became legally entitled to peek at the checkbook.
Owner Melinda Patterson has crammed — rather, shoehorned in the neatest way possible — several lifetimes’ worth of organizationalia into a fairly small space. There are, of course, piles of plastic bins in every size (and competitively priced). But each room of the house (including the garage) gets its own special area, with the largest given over to the store’s flagship product, a custom-closet line called Elfa (20 percent off through the end of January, by the way).
“Normally we can double their space,” Patterson told me. “There’s a lot of wasted space in the closet.”
My favorite Elfa component? A slide-out pants rack, meant to sit under a higher hanging bar. No more pawing through a row of shirt sleeves trying to see what’s hanging underneath.
There’s plenty of less extensive (and less expensive) closet stuff too. I really liked a three-tiered revolving shoe rack that holds 18 pairs of shoes but takes up a single square foot of floor space.
Patterson’s put a lot of items on sale through the end of February, and I’d recommend looking through the sale catalog if you visit the store just so you won’t miss anything. It takes awhile to look over everything in the store, and even on my third trip I found stuff I hadn’t noticed before.
I also found items so ingenious I couldn’t believe I’d never seen them in another store — like a wire shelf that rests across the top of a washing machine, no mounting hardware needed (that third trip was to buy one of these, on sale for $8).
There are also cute and/or appropriately masculine gift-worthy products, such as leather valets and desk organizers, bright green-and-pink make-up cases, and, for the family paranoiac, honest-to-God book safes.
What is, unfortunately, not anywhere on Patterson’s shelves: The discipline to, you know, actually put all your stuff where it belongs.
Speaking of Target ads: The recent one announcing the store’s new “Global Bazaar” home decor line got my attention (and a lot of other people’s too, judging by how picked-over the aisles were when I got to the West Little Rock store two days later). Think Pier 1, only with more stuff, and a little less expensive. A set of glass lanterns lined in embroidered dark-orange cloth, from the India collection, caught my eye.
Trunk show alert: Vesta’s hosts a Nicole Miller show this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 28-29.
Shop ’n’ Sip: It’s coming up next Thursday, Feb. 3. So grab some low-heeled shoes, a few friends and however many credit cards it takes, and head on over to Hillcrest and the Heights after work.
Got news of a fantastic sale or a great new product? Gimme. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.