She’s boxing up the obsession for good


Lori Clinch

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I have box issues. I know it, I claim it and I am not altogether ashamed of it.

Boxes are handy, they are clever, and if properly implemented, they display, house and ship all of our wares.

My biggest obsession is that of vintage boxes. I put them in corners, use them to hold the remotes, and I love the way they keep the toilet paper handy on the back of the tank.

I hang boxes on walls, place them in the halls, and I am well on my way to making sure there will one day be a vintage-box outlet mall.

Oh, the unadulterated bliss.

My family of men tolerates my box issues. They trip over the wooden and square décor and put up with my boxy utilization. But they often say that when the day comes when they bury me, they will finally put me in my very last box.

I just hope it has a great patina.

As much as I love vintage boxes, I lack the ability to throw away a good cardboard carton. Some might shake their head with a disgusted “tsk, tsk.” They might deem me a box hoarder and maybe even a box-aholic, but when they need a box, who’s their go-to gal? That’s right. They go to good ol’ Lori.

I’m only crazy until they need me.

In my glory, I had just the right cardboard box for whatever your heart desired. I could pack up your platter and house your ceramic horse. And, if need be, I’d have something to shelter your sheller.

I had boxes for clocks, shippers for shakers and vessels for a Victrola.

Just this winter, I shipped a primitive chicken feeder that was 12 inches across and stood no less than 36 inches high. Did I have a box for it, you might ask? You dang betcha.

Yet, it turns out boxes can get in the way of things. They take up space, clutter up cubbies and sometimes morph into disarray. Stack them neatly, though you may — and they still fall out of closets and tend to get underfoot.

Or so I’ve been told.

My beloved spouse normally has the patience of Job, but just this last winter, when he was working on a project, he informed me that my boxes were getting out of control.

“The boxes have to go, Lori,” he said with a look that was matter-of-fact.

“Really,” I challenged, “and just what do you think we will do when we need one?”

“I think a few boxes will be fine, and the rest should go to the recycling center,” he said.

Then he squared his shoulders, stiffened his spine and looked me directly in the eye. “Unless, of course, you don’t think you have a box problem.”

If that just didn’t tear it. Box problem, my hide. Tell me I have issues? I think not. In an effort to prove him wrong, I did it. I broke down the air conditioner box from 1999. I flattened the printer box from 2005. And with more than an ounce of defiance, I crushed the Jack LaLanne Juicer box that joined my perfect box collection just last year.

That box was a dream.

I then put all of the boxes in the back of the pickup and hauled them to the recyclers who not only were not impressed, but they didn’t treat any of the boxes with the kindness they deserved and nary even an ounce of remorse.

Some people!

What a tailspin that latebreaking development put me into. I have no boxes to wrap birthday presents. Nothing to house my paint brush supply. And just yesterday, when my darling nephew was seeking out a shoebox for a school project, I had to tell him I did not have a container that came even remotely close.

See what I’ve been reduced to?

It is going to be the cause of my downfall, my undoing and, dare I say, this might be the death of me.

I just hope that when that fateful day comes, Pat hasn’t taken just the perfectly sized burying box to the recyclers.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to [email protected].