In My Box I Trust

You know, I don’t usually like to talk about this.

Because, well, boxes are private matters.


Y’all know full well that I don’t shy away from discussing personal matters.

That I’m a little crass.

Thankfully, this post has nothing the least bit crass in it.


You thought I was going to talk about something other than a square-shaped container with four wooden sides?

You’re disgusting.

This isn’t high school.

Go wash your mind out with soap.


I love boxes.

They’re so functional.

And so often overlooked.

Because, well, they’re boxes.


We loved them as kids.

And you can glean a lot of historical information from boxes. Get a glimpse of what life was like back then. Which is probably why I love these ridiculously utilitarian things. Because, unlike so many other things marketed for mass consumption, these objects and their labels were rarely censored, their written content unblemished by those pesky social filters.

After all, they were just for carting things from here to there, storing them until use.

And while I don’t ever want a box–or anything–with racist imagery, such things are so telling of mainstream ideologies, and are much more subversively disturbing.


My fascination with boxes started early.

Whether it was used as a bank for a roadside lemonade stand or baked goods table, one simple little box proved its functionality time and time again.

My faithful box through the years.

And then it followed me to college. And grad school. And still has its place today.

It wasn’t until after graduate school that I really started collecting boxes.

(Mostly because I actually had time for a life. And antiquing.)

At first, I just collected them because each was cool in its own right.

My favorite Deco box. Which I stalked for four months.

But then, my parents moved from the childhood homestead, and I was determined to have everything that was mine under one roof–my roof. Which meant I needed more places to store things.

Store all the things!

(Sorry, I usually despise memes. But that Clean All The Things one cracks me up. As does the one with a puppy “booping” a displeased cat. But I digress.)

So, gradually, I started circulating these boxes back into use.

Pimento box turned drill bit box. This is one of my treasured boxes, because my paternal grandfather wrote the "Dril" scrawl. I found this after he died. And the other? Ever need a way to organize and easily transport those useful, but every so fussy, shot glasses? You're welcome.

And when Andy moved in, they became even more relevant. Because these two gays have a lot of shoes.

We love shoes.

Seriously, we do.

Seriously, that's all. I swear.

Because one fun thing about melding places is realizing how much hobby overlap you have with your partner.

Like, say, movies. (Although Andy’s DVD collection dwarfed mine.)

Finding a storage solution for a fraction of those DVDs that didn’t quite fit in the cabinets with the rest was another story entirely.

That is, until I realized I could make my soap box multi-functional, too.

I even made my soap box multi-functional!

So household melding became an exercise in maximizing each piece’s functionality. Including those containers I’d purchased solely for their “coolness” factor.

Not just for looks anymore! Now, it's one chic component of our mail system.

Because, really, we all have plenty of little things that make life a little easier on a daily basis, but just aren’t pretty.

So, why not house them in something that’s a bit easier on the eyes?

A little Deco never made differently styled coasters look so good, or cohesive. We pop this sucker open every single evening for dinner.

Little trinkets that'll never be tossed are easily organized in cool old boxes. Like the cool pyrography box from a dear friend, or this English pencil box for some little school kid (whose name also happened to be Matt). This massive Butter Krust box holds all of our cookbooks and paper towel rolls.  And this one from Cloverleaf Farms holds some pretty arty magazines.

This Columbia Baking Co bread tray is one of my favorites, mostly because I use it all of the time for toting food to monthly art show openings at our local LGBT Center of Raleigh.

This biscuit box holds photo frames and other little things, and the cool piece of luggage holds old newspaper clippings.

And while everyone knows everyone poops, you don't always have to be reminded of it when waltzing into a bathroom. TP storage has never been so cool.

And if storage containers can double as plant stands, double plus bonus.

A card catalog-looking feed container. The drawers actually pull out, and the interiors are metal sheeting. This holds my select design magazines (a few rolled up into each) from years past.

So, there you have it.

Boxes are fun!

They can be stylish.

They withstand more than flimsy new ones.

And they tell a story.

And, of all the reasons, that’s why I like them: They’re story-tellers.

Which is something so lacking in today’s mass-produced, disposable, now-now-now world.

Because these bits of history remind me that, regardless of how seemingly insignificant something can appear, it too has its own history.

It knows some secrets about time.

How to handle the weight and blows it brings.

And, above all else, how to weather it gracefully.

2 Replies to “In My Box I Trust”

  1. I love boxes, too, and I’ve saved a few over time, but most have gone by the wayside to be replaced by garish plastic tubs with assorted colored lids. As I look at your collection, I realize that I’ve let some gems slip away and wish I could go back for them, but it’s too late. And today I no longer have room to start over, so I’ll appreciate yours and keep an eye out for any I might spy so I can tell you about them. Be ready to pounce if I call !

  2. I have a few cool boxes but my real love is antique/vintage tins. Some are functional but quite a few are displayed on top of our kitchen cabinets. Sometimes I think “oh God, another thing to dust” but I do enjoy them. And that’s the important thing eh?

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