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Home & Garden > Hoarding Boxes

Hoarding Boxes

I think I've told you that I like watching those TV shows about hoarders to gain insight into my own tendencies toward hanging onto everything that comes into this house. Once in awhile someone will make a comment about hoarding empty boxes.

I do that! But there are reasons.

When I had a job, I could bring home boxes that copier paper came in, and one of my co-workers used to work at Baxter-Travenol, the hospital supply company, and she obtained a bunch of really nice boxes for me. Now that I don't work, I don't have those contacts.

Although I haven't checked dumpsters at retail stores, my impression is that they recycle their cardboard, so I wouldn't know where to ask for boxes.

Aside from storing all the stuff that we haven't gotten around to unpacking in six years (it's like Christmas Day when we start looking in them), I'm afraid to get rid of the empty packing boxes because some day we might move again. Yes. I know we could probably go buy new ones when needed, but we are not wired to think that way.

We don't do 'retail therapy' so our purchases are few and far between. You know the Trade Deficit where we hear about how more stuff from China comes into our country than goes from out country back to China? My house is a Consumer Items Deficit zone where we send out more stuff than we bring in. This affects the Balance of Boxes.

Small mailing boxes are available from the Post Office, but the free ones can only be used for high-priced priority mail. Several years ago, people (not me) would turn the boxes inside out and use them for the cheaper postage, but now the post office prints something on the inside so that doesn't work.

This past summer I was able to make some inroads on decreasing the size of my box stash, donating some household items to charity in some of the hoarded boxes, and using the shabbier ones for trash. I got rid of all the old Priority Mail boxes because they've served their purpose. And in some cases I replaced the cardboard boxes with lidded plastic storage tubs.

This reminds me. Remember how wire coat hangers used to multiply in dark closets? I have this problem with storage tub lids. I have a big stack of lids, various shapes and sizes, and can't figure out where the bottoms are. I realize they are here and there as open bins, serving to organize this and that, but I'd like to get them matched up again in case I need the lids. The first step is to go around and locate all the lidless ones, and then make a list so I can round up possible lids in Colorado and bring them here for matching.

Guess I'll go do that now.

Speaking of Channels (you didn't know we were?) I wish there was one like this:

Hoarding: Books
Hoarding: Boxes
Hoarding: Couponing (seen that show? I can't stand to watch it)
Hoarding: Cats


posted on Dec 8, 2011 1:22 PM ()


If it upsets you to have a yarn stash, you can send it to some of those boxes. I'll return the boxes if you want.
comment by nittineedles on Dec 10, 2011 1:27 PM ()
It may come to that, because I know you'd get good use out of it. Years ago my MIL gave me a big box of yarn left over from years of her knitting. I mailed it to a woman in Cheyenne whom I met on an airplane. I wish I'd kept it, but I had just started knitting, and thought I was going to make cotton dishcloths all the rest of my life.
reply by troutbend on Dec 26, 2011 11:10 PM ()
United Cerebral Palsy and Habitat for Humanity will call periodically and it is an excellent way to get rid of clothing. Of course I cling to mine because I have 3 sets of sizes but I can usually weed out some stuff
for them,
comment by elderjane on Dec 10, 2011 6:20 AM ()
I sort of shudder to think of sending these to a thrift store, would rather find a shelter or school that would know clients who can use them.
reply by troutbend on Dec 26, 2011 11:05 PM ()
1) I start morning furnace fires with cardboard (slow burning).
2) You should see my nail and screw "collection"!
3) Every time I think about "unhoarding", that is, tossing my collectables, I think about--and get angry at--my sister who, when she lived with me, ditched my "treasures". I am still surprised at how often I need something she threw away. Grrrr.
comment by solitaire on Dec 9, 2011 6:42 AM ()
This is one of the Murphy's Laws: Richard's Complementary Rules of Ownership:

If you throw anything away, you will need it as soon as it is no longer accessible.

and we all have the proof!
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:25 PM ()
I qualify for at least two, maybe three, of those "Hoarding" shows you listed.
comment by jondude on Dec 9, 2011 6:16 AM ()
Some of us are comforted by our 'things' and enjoy seeing them around us. Sometimes it takes a yard blower to get the dusting done, but that's okay.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:20 PM ()
Ed hoards everything including spent nails he might need some day. I hoard as a result of preferring to do something, anything else, except go through the stuff and select what goes out. So my closet is full of clothes I never wear any more. Ed still has the beanie he wore in college. Throw it out at risk. I would love to have someone work with me to clean out the closet -- it would take the drudgery out of it ... I think. The other problem with throwing boxes out is that you have to break them down for the recycle. What a bore.
comment by tealstar on Dec 9, 2011 5:36 AM ()
It really does help to have someone help with a closet project like that because making decisions can just wear you out, but they aren't as close to it, so keep up the energy.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:19 PM ()
my hubby hoards boxes! I have no idea why! if you need new boxes just call a local store and tell them you would like to pick some up. we did that at walmart.
I was a hoarder at my old house, now I throw everything out! Unless you want to say keeping all the books I read is hoarding.
comment by elkhound on Dec 9, 2011 4:18 AM ()
I know why.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:17 PM ()
I have a small stash of boxes (small, mind you!)
comment by crazylife on Dec 8, 2011 9:23 PM ()
Small boxes with flaps can come in very handy.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:17 PM ()
I hoard boxes to store my yarn hoard in.
comment by nittineedles on Dec 8, 2011 7:31 PM ()
I swore I wouldn't build up a big yarn stash, but I blinked and there it all was!
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:16 PM ()
'But there are reasons' ALL hoarders say that
I am the opposite of a hoarder--the older I get the less 'things' I want!
comment by greatmartin on Dec 8, 2011 4:49 PM ()
It's a genetic thing, so I guess it didn't run in your family.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:13 PM ()
I don't think I am a hoarder because I go thru phases where I throw a lot of stuff away. I also have my phases of holding on to things much longer than necessary.
comment by kristilyn3 on Dec 8, 2011 3:52 PM ()
You've moved so often you probably had lots of opportunity to get rid of stuff. I think that helps.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:07 PM ()
I can't stand that Extreme Couponing show. Those people strike me as being very selfish, clearing out the store shelves with years' worth of products with expiration dates that will expire before they ever get around to using them.
comment by boots586 on Dec 8, 2011 2:03 PM ()
Yeah, that's how I feel about it. There's something wrong with those people.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:13 PM ()
I don't consider myself a box hoarder. I just have a really nice box collection in the top of my garage. When I sold Avon, my orders came in great lidded boxes which I kept. Also,I used to be be able to get lidded paper boxes from my work place. Both sources are no more so I am very careful about depleting my stash. When my daughter moved two years ago, she used my boxes but she returned them to their home in the garage.
comment by boots586 on Dec 8, 2011 2:00 PM ()
Definitely 'a collection' not a hoard. But I understand completely. One of the hoarder women on TV had a room full of Avon boxes, and they did look very nice. You're okay, though, because yours are up high in the garage out of the way.
reply by troutbend on Dec 9, 2011 1:10 PM ()

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