The Usefulness of Cardboard at Big Events

I’ve now made my way down to the heart of Tennessee for the best week of the year twice in a row now, and that celebrated title goes to The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Camping out among one hundred thousand other people stoked to see similar shows that I’m into, eat the most amazing food you can think of, and be among beautiful people is the highlight of my year for two straight years. As much as I love the music, I love the experience, culture, and community with the people even more.

That’s why setting up your campsite to be “home base” is so important so that you can hang with other people, have a good time, and still get the sleep you need (which is a huge functional part of the festival weekend that many people forget about).

So, I decided to stop and revisit my experience this past weekend to write down what I must bring next year, and I’ve figured out a few things that are must haves for my future Bonnaroos. But one thing that stuck out to me as useful kind of surprised it.

Without realizing it until after the festival, I suddenly figured out how absolutely useful cardboard boxes would’ve been as storage at my campsite. There were so many things scattered around camp by the time Sunday came around that we had a somewhat tough time of finding what we needed, when we needed it. This could have saved precious time while also fending off losing anything we may have let wander into someone else’s campsite.

I know that next year we’ll be packing more appropriate and useful items while also cutting back on things we really didn’t need as much, so adding cardboard boxes to my list of things I have to have is important to me. The best part about it that is in spirit of Bonnaroo is that cardboard is free, easy to assemble, and biodegradable in a way that plastic containers are not. These three things make it the perfect item to have when it comes to keeping all of your loose things in a storage container that you know it’ll be in when you go to find it in the mornings or evenings back at camp.

While a lot of festival attendees may not think of cardboard as ultra useful, I’m beginning to realize it’s what I need from every year here on out.

A Big Question

Often you can find me writing about topics that have meaning to me or tie into my recent life doing. Sometimes, it’ll be about my hobbies and adventures, so you’ll begin to see more things centered around festivals, road trips, hiking, concerts, and camping. And at other points, you’ll see the lifestyle articles, such as pieces on organization, budgeting, and indoor improvements to your home.

Today, I’m leaning a little more towards the latter. In fact, I’ve recently proposed to my girlfriend of almost 3 years, and so I’m kind of interested in chatting about something a lot of people don’t consider: the ring box.

Here’s the thing to consider: most jewelers will give you a box with a place for the ring to sit. This is mostly for proposing and showcasing the ring itself so that it can be on display when opened but easily portable and hidden on the go.

But the thing is, those little boxes are hardly ever easily hidden when you’ve yet to pop the question. They’re always too big for real pockets. They’re so bulky that even putting them somewhere else, like a small bag or satchel, will cause a bulge.

There just never seems to be a low profile box for you to carry your ring in safely while not drawing attention to itself. I always thought there should be some way for a box to be a thing and low profile while the ring is stored, yet able to be manipulated in a way that the ring can be on display once the box is opened. I mean, honestly, what’s so tough to make a few small adjustments to a box so that it can prop the ring up (even if it needs to be done manually) when it’s open, yet the ring can lay flat and discreet when it’s closed. There should be no reason that an impression must be noticed in your pocket if you’re about to ask because that’s a dead giveaway that you’re about to propose.

It’s not like it needs to be high tech. All I’m saying is that the current “boxes” you’re given by jewelers are glorified mini cardboard boxes. Yes, I truly think that they hand out tiny cardboard boxes that happen to have some cushioning inside that protects the ring.

To me, they can do better than this for customers that spend upwards of 3 or 4 thousand dollars on average. (In fact, the actual average seems to be above $5,500 in current times. Couldn’t the jeweler find a way to spend 50 bucks on a ring box that is nice, discreet, and useable for other rings, too?)

Gifts for Minor Holidays

Mother’s Day got me to thinking about inexpensive little gifts you can get for your mother on that specific holiday and even the things you could pick up for your dad on Father’s Day, another holiday that comes not long after Mother’s Day. While these two holidays don’t necessarily mean you must get something for your parents, it’s one of those things that shows you were thinking about them and went out of your way to pick up a gift for them.

Sometimes it can be hard to hone in on a specific item that you think your mom or dad has been needing for awhile, something that’s very particular to their tastes and hobbies. These are the gifts that, in my opinion, are better off left to bigger holidays and birthdays.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, however, are two days where you can afford to pick up a more generic, unintentional gift just to show you care.

So, check out a few of our quick, easy ideas for these two holidays to let your parents know you’re thinking about them but didn’t break the bank for them (because that’s the last thing they want from their kids).

Candy.

If anything, a few candy boxes is a way to tell your parents that it’s alright to have a little extra sugar since they deserve a break from the everyday grind. The best part is that you can pick up their favorite candy boxes in just about any store that sells packaged goods. They’re cheap, easy to get, and you usually should have an idea what candies your parents would be fine with eating.

Sandals/hats.

I always find that these items go perfectly with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, simply because these two holidays pretty much kick off the great summer weather everyone has been waiting for. And even better, you can’t really screw up a pair of sandals or a ball cap so long as you’re in the general ballpark of your parents’ feet size and head size (but hats aren’t as much a problem with snapbacks being one size fits all).

Gift cards.

Last but not least, a gift card or two allows your parents to go out on a date together when they can afford the time. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money.

Just try to think of what a typical meal would cost for two at whatever restaurant you happened to get them a gift card for. So long as it mostly covers the bill, it’s a great way to tell your parents to get out of the house and spend an evening together.

Memorial Day

Early summer marks a time of the year when some important holidays fall on the calendar. While most of us may start to think of Memorial Day when I say this, I’m talking about two equivalent holidays that are some of the most celebrated throughout the summer only behind Memorial Day and the 4th of July: those days would be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

As a kid, I never quite understood why moms and dads everywhere got their own specific holiday to have celebrated for them, yet there was nothing along the lines of son’s day or daughter’s day. Or just a children’s day in general. I always, always thought it was unfair that my parents had dedicated days for them on top of their birthdays.

That’s because I was naive and never really noticed how geared towards kids Halloween, Christma, and Easter are. I was a selfish little kid for thinking my parents didn’t deserve their own holiday.

As I grew older, I started realizing what the days meant for them, and for our family in general, it almost always meant spending the day doing whatever my mom or dad wanted and eating the food they loved most. Sometimes we’d buy them some little gifts, but for the most part it was more about being there for them and spending time with them (as that’s one of the best gifts a parent can think of from their children).

Now that I’m older and live alone in a different state from my parents, though, it won’t be as easy to make it home twice within a month’s span to celebrate both holidays with my parents. So things have become a little more challenging, especially when my partner’s parents live in the same city as us, so we’ll probably be spending time with them at their place.

Luckily, though, my parents don’t care too much about it and realize that we all have our limitations as adults now with separate lives. That’s why I’m planning on getting a few things for my mom and dad, wrapping it all up in a few cardboard boxes, and having them shipped to their home as gifts for their respective days. I don’t think there’s anything my parents would mind about some gifts in cardboard boxes, so I’m all about doing something as a gesture to show them I still care and I just can’t be there.

No matter what happens, though, I’ve learned to see the holidays for what they are. Parents put up with so much stuff throughout the year that they deserve to have at least a single day each year where everyone else tends to them. (And I say this in full confidence knowing I’ll enjoy the heck out of my Father’s Days in the future when I have kids.)

Crafting a Box with Compartments

Most things you’re finished with end up in the trash. That’s the nature of things in modern society, right? Outside of trying to recycle materials and different food wastes, there’s not as many options out there but to trash it. Candy boxes (like chocolate boxes) really aren’t any different. But there’s something unique about these boxes that make them more than trash and that’s their small compartments in the tray.

How else would you repurpose such a box, though? Well, to start, the small divided sections could be used for jewelry or even as a sewing kit. Just think about it: with 10 or more sectioned off compartments, you could put anything from earrings to necklaces and spools of thread to needles in each.

First, remove the tray from the box.

While the tray itself is very useful and the centerpoint of this project, you won’t want to be putting your jewelry in a box of candy. Rather, you’ll want to put the tray in something else homemade that you can call your own.

Spray paint tray preferred color.

Most of these trays are white when you purchase candy boxes. For the most part, that’s not a color that will make your jewelry look great or offset their multiple hues. Instead, think about spray painting the tray a matte black, purple, or even turquoise. These are all colors that set off the luster of precious metals and can allow gems to shine even brighter.

Craft a small wooden box to fit the tray.

Here’s where a little bit of actual work may need to be done outside of the tray itself. You’ll want to measure the dimensions of the plastic tray to make sure it fits in whatever wooden box you choose or make. The best part about this box is that you can customize it till your heart’s content.

Place everything within!

Whether you place earrings near each other or scatter your various spools of thread out in the different compartments, do it in a way that each piece has its own snug place to sit. This also helps you to keep everything in order and easily located for when you’re choosing an item. Again, you can feel free to include any type of jewelry you want, or you can go a different route like using sewing materials or anything else you may be able to store. Your mind is the limit here, so long as the items are able to fit in the container’s trays.