Boxes for Moving and Boxes for Staying

I suppose it’s safe to say that there is always one of two elements constantly at work in our lives. The element of moving or the element of staying. We get a new job, or want to be closer to family, or just plain old want to enjoy a different environment, so we are suddenly in the status of moving. Even before we are actually, physically moving we spend the time leading up to it acting as if we are.

Some friends of ours will not be actually leaving their current home and taking up another in Florida until the summer, which is many months from now, but they still say, “We are moving.” And it would be the truth. We fill boxes for moving and then we actually go and when everything is unloaded from the truck it all suddenly transforms into boxes for staying. Suddenly, even though we don’t know anybody, even though we will have to Google maps where the grocery store is for the first couple times, we are staying. We don’t know the ins and outs of our new house yet, but it has become our home, and we are staying.


Boxes for moving become boxes for staying. It’s kind of a little bit like poetry. I guess you could even say that it is poetry; the poetry of life. We start packing the boxes for moving, putting the kids toys in them and our shoes and then there is the gratuitous miscellaneous box at the end that starts getting crowded with a bunch of random crap, because no matter how determined we are to maintain a system there still wind up being stray items at the end.

When we finally get unpacked all those boxes for moving become readily available as boxes for staying. The sport equipment gets packed up in them and gets put on a shelf in the garage, labeled with a black sharpie and you can call yourself organized. Another one with the summer pool toys, and another one with gardening supplies, and you have a system that you can really be proud of. How about winter clothes and summer clothes? You put them in their boxes and rotate them in and out of the attic pertaining to the season and your whole closet space opens up like never before.

What about you… Where are you right now? Are you moving, or are you staying?


The Journey of Corrugated Boxes

Boxes didn’t always used to be corrugated, you know. And maybe you did know or maybe, if you are the type of person who doesn’t know much about boxes, you didn’t. Maybe you don’t even know what corrugated means. Well, that’s what I’m about to tell you. The dictionary describes corrugated as “to bend into alternate furrows or ridges”, or “to wrinkle”. Think ripple chips. But cardboard.

Cardboard started out just like thin sheets. Nowadays we call it poster board. And then some genius came along and decided to try something new. He put a corrugated sheet of poster board intbetween two other flat sheets of poster board, folded it and bent it and wound up with corrugated boxes. Anyone would tell you that it was a pretty genius move, including myself.


Since the day they were born, corrugated boxes have been on quite the journey. They’ve helped people move all over the world. They’ve seen war zone after war zone. They hold memories and keepsakes, staying strong over the years as they sit patiently in attics, never complaining; their only fault is perhaps being too attractive to mice and other varmints.

Without corrugated boxes we could never receive any shipments from Amazon that weigh more than a few ounces. We probably couldn’t receive any shipments at all, because it’s only the corrugated boxes that can withstand the hardy lifestyle and handling of the average delivery experience.


Everything is cheaper now because it comes in corrugated boxes. Suppliers don’t have to pay for heavy duty packaging because there is a better option. From diapers to dishes, appliances and cat litter. The opportunities are endless. I, for one, am super pleased that such a thing exists. Every time we make a purchase that has to do with cardboard we throw the remains of the packaging into the garage for a bonfire. Sometimes the pile grows mighty high, especially around the holidays when there is a lot of mail and gifts coming in.

All members of the family lend a hand and we march the boxes out to the firepit, taking as many trips as necessary. The best part is lighting it all on fire. The blaze sets in almost instantly, roaring across the giant heap, lifting higher and surging outward, producing a glow and warmth that is both magical and comforting. The ashes go wafting upwards, sometimes in large sheets, and we watch them until they disappear.



From Bin Liners to Potato Chips

I work for a grocery store without really working for a grocery store. Here’s what I mean:

Have you ever gone to the store and tried to ask someone who was stocking the shelves where something else was, and they were like, “I don’t know,” and maybe even added, “I don’t work here”? You were probably left standing there feeling like a fool but also slightly outraged because surely they were pulling your leg?

Well, I would like to clear the names of any and all stockers who have incurred some bad juju because when they are saying they don’t work for the store, they are being correct.

They work at the store, to be sure, and are usually stationed at the same store all the time, but they actually belong to a different company entirely that deals primarily with stocking shelves. And here’s an even crazier part: the employees, called stockers, have their own designated areas.

Mine was from bin liners to potato chips. If something was running out in toothpaste it wasn’t my problem. If any of the bin liners were getting low it was up to me to locate them in the back storage room, haul them out to the aisle, and stock the shelves appropriately.

Granted, when any of the stockers say they don’t know where something is, there’s a good chance that they are probably just plain old full of BS. Unless you want to know where capers are, or coconut milk, or other odd articles. For those type of things you will need customer service, or you can ask the middle-aged woman who’s basket holds a cantaloupe and vanilla extract (she is probably the type of person that would know). If it’s just peanut butter or cereal or bread, stuff that takes up large to massive sections of the store, then of course they have to know where it is because they walk by it everyday.

Like obviously bin liners would be with the rest of the paper and plastic supplies, and the household cleaning stuff, which is always by the detergents, because that’s just how it’s set up in every store. Now, if you were to come up to me while I’m stocking potato chips and ask where bin liners are I could tell you directly, because I am the one who put them there.

This is just a small taste of what it’s like to work in a grocery store but not for the grocery store. The next time you head out to buy some food, just remember that not everything may be as it seems! And we stockers will always appreciate your patience.

Memories, Keepsakes and Cardboard Boxes

When my grandmother passed away it went the way this type of things go: bitter sweet. We know that it’s coming with our grandparents, and we can be prepared to a certain extent. Then, when it happens, it will still be surprising and heartbreaking but not the same as when it happens with someone that is young. My grandmother was my best friend, and I’m not saying that to be generous.

I hung out with her on the weekends and talked to her on the phone when I was driving. We sent each other silly cards in the mail. I asked for her advice and she told me stories about times that seemed impossible. She willed her house to me, and everything in it, and suddenly all of my life, the entire time I had known my grandmother, became a wall of cardboard boxes. The dishes that I had grown up using. The housecoats she wore over her dresses. The sewing materials. It was all packed into cardboard boxes.


I didn’t know what to do with it. I knew I couldn’t make a choice right then. At the time, I felt like I could never part from anything. I knew that I would have to wait until a season of my life where I had moved on from the pain and sense of loss. That season didn’t come when I got married, or when my husband and I bought our first home. To be sure it was all part of the process; it was all leading me along. My husband, bless his heart, was so patient with me, helping lug all of those cardboard boxes every time we moved.

He never once pressured me to open them. He never once scolded me for keeping them. Finally, the season came, and with it brought the arrival of our daughter. Throughout the pregnancy, I felt my grandmother’s presence as strongly as if she was with me again. Finally, I felt the compulsion to move on from being the granddaughter so that I could become a mother.

All of those cardboard boxes came opening wide, all of my childhood and my grandmother’s life came spilling out, and I found myself eating on those dishes again, and sewing those old housecoats into a quilt for my baby. Some of the items were donated to a good cause, and some of them entered seamlessly back into my world, as if they had been there all along.

Plastic Shipping Bags and Other Helpful Shipping Suggestions

I recently discovered the amazing invention of plastic shipping bags. This has more or less revolutionized things for me. As the owner of a small business, specifically one that is currently being run out of my home, I am always looking for new ways and ideas to either save money or provide a better service. It’s even better when I can do both at the same time, and this is what I found in plastic shipping bags. Allow me to explain:

  • I can buy plastic shipping bags in bulk. This not only saves me money but it allows me to have a constant supply on hand without fear of running out. I know how long my supply will last me, and I can order ahead of time so that the next couple weeks, or months, will run just as smoothly.
  • I can buy multiple varieties of plastic shipping bags. Buying in bulk is an amazing asset to any business owner. At the same time, having plenty of options is not so much a preference as it is a necessity. When using a product that best compliments the product you are trying to sell, or deal with, you are paying the proper respect to both your product and your customer. Using packaging or shipping materials that are either too small or too big speaks of a lack of professionalism, or a lack of resources. No one needs to know that my business is run out of my guest bedroom because I try to make everything look as official as possible. If it looks like I’m using supplies from my craft closet no one is going to take me seriously.
  • Plastic shipping bags offer added protection to my product. I admit that my sales were quite a bit less before I discovered these bad mammajammas. Sometimes I was getting complaints from customers who were saying that my product had leaked or broken somewhere in transit. Maybe it was the fault of the delivery guy, or maybe it was even the fault of the customer and they just wanted to get their money back. Regardless, I needed to make sure that I had done everything possible on my end. Since I started using the proper packaging and shipping supplies my sales have increased and I have more and more return customers.

Granted, hindsight is twenty/twenty, and there are some things that you have to learn the hard way. The important thing is that I am actually learning, and taking what I’m learning to heart. I think that is what produces success, whether or not you own a business or just in everyday life.