Category Archives: Cardboard Boxes

Collecting Cardboard Year Round for Gifts

Every single year, I remind myself to hold onto some of my old cardboard boxes and shipping boxes. From one year to the next, I do a pretty good job about swapping out older boxes for those that are newish, especially if I happened to order something large online that comes in a big box I can use around the holidays.

What’s funny is that I never would’ve gotten into this habit if it weren’t for my mom stashing away hundreds (seriously, hundreds) of boxes from one year to the next, all for the sake of the holidays. Of course, it helped that she worked at the post office all her life, meaning there was no shortage of cardboard around our house growing up. Still, having so many boxes on hand meant she could sift through what she had available and find the perfect size and shape of box for whatever it was she was wrapping.

Thus, I got into the habit of collecting cardboard for the purpose of using around the winter holidays. But what started as a collection for gift giving soon turned out to be far more useful throughout the rest of the year for other various scenarios.

For example, having a handful of decent sized shipping boxes meant I could make a little storage area in my basement that helped clear up a LOT of clutter in our home. We’ve also been able to utilize our cardboard whenever we go camping, go to music festivals, and go to family functions that required us taking a lot of hot food that couldn’t be spilled in the vehicle en route to the function.

Whether you’re using your cardboard for gift wrapping or other things around your own home, holding onto cardboard and reusing it throughout the year is actually a super great thing for the sake of sustainability and being environmentally friendly. You don’t have to ascribe to that line of thinking year around, especially if you’ve never bothered to recycle or care about the environment that much. Nonetheless, reusing your older materials for future things is an amazing way to reduce your waste on a yearly basis, and it’s something you should feel proud about even if you weren’t intentionally doing it in the first place. Sometimes your actions do good without you realizing it, and that’s definitely something you can feel good about no matter what your intentions were.

The Top 3 Items on My Christmas List

I don’t usually have a specific thing in mind I want for Christmas from one year to the next, and it’s not often at all that I have multiple things within the same category. But for whatever reason, I’m gung ho on getting a lot of kitchen appliances and tools. I’ve asked my parents, my partner, her parents, and my grandmother for something that will end up in our kitchen. It’s almost to the point that I’m really starting to see my age show. I recall the days I’d ask for video games, new technology, and even clothes (I thought my age was showing then). But when you just want to cook with new and cool things, it’s pretty obvious that you’re settled into life as an adult.

So, I figured I’d share some of my list with you guys to get an idea on the cool new things I’m wanting for my kitchen next year. Maybe you’ll see a few of these as essentials you’re missing in your own kitchen. For me, it’s been eye opening how much random junk we have in our kitchen, from tools and old pictures to shipping supplies, like packing tape. I want my kitchen to be a sacred space for me and my food and nothing else. It’s time we make the kitchen less of a storage place and more of an art space. Less of the shipping supplies and random things as storage, more of the artist’s tools for creating beautiful, tasty, healthy dishes. That’s my dream for my kitchen, at least.

Lightweight wok.

I think the wok is an incredibly underrated kitchen cooking pan. I use it for all the east asian dishes I make, but I also use it for a quick saute of some veggies or even for just mixing large quantities of noodles or something else. It’s too useful and versatile to not have an amazing wok

Food processor.

With this, you can make your own salsa, you can make your own hummus, you can make pastes and sauces, and you finely chop anything you need. This is a vegan’s dream appliance, and you better believe it’s at the top of my list.

Air fryer.

This is an easier, healthier, cleaner way to fry your foods in quick order. Oil frying just takes so long to mess with the cleanup that it’s not even worth it. And if you do it inside? It stinks up your house. I can’t wait to have an air fryer.

Order Your Holiday Gifts Now Instead of Later

Now that we’re officially into the thick of holiday season, time starts to feel like it dilates a lot simply because there are so many holidays in such a short time span. Think about it: Halloween at the end of October; Thanksgiving at the end of November; Christmas at the end of December; and New Year’s also at the end of December. It’s quite the lineup of holidays in essentially 2 entire months (Oct 31st to Dec 31st).

But what makes it so entirely packed for me in particular, though, are birthdays. When my dad’s falls on at the end of October, mine falls mid November, my brother’s falls late November, and my mom falls in late December, well, you’ve suddenly just introduced 4 more important dates alongside the 4 I already named that are holidays.

Needless to say, around this time of year you can find quite a bit of shipping boxes sitting on our front porch thanks to online shopping. And while a lot of people mumble and grumble about how online shopping has ruined this era, I think they’re just resistant to any sort of change in the first place. In all reality, shopping online has helped unique stores sell their niche products to niche audiences, and retail companies have been forced to shift their thinking and practicality of selling products by also moving online. Without such a boom in Internet sales, malls would be overcrowded like they used to be and traffic would be worse around this time of year. At the very least, Black Friday may be less ridiculous than it used to be.

The thing is, procrastination still happens no matter what type of shopping you’re doing, so it’s important for us to stay on top of our holiday and birthday gifts early and often. In fact, we’re sitting down this weekend to order multiple items for our parents and family members to have it done here and now instead of waiting until December to have things shipped. As everyone knows, the longer you wait, the better chances that a few shipping boxes won’t arrive to your home on time for a certain holiday or birthday. And I’d rather not stress this year about holiday gifts like I did last year. It’s just not worth it and takes no time to do.

Overall, I’m stoked for the holidays this year simply because it seems like I’ve got everything planned out much farther in advance than I ever used to. It’s smooth sailing from here!

Modern Lodging

Anytime my fiancee and I travel, we always end up using AirBNB for our lodging needs. We’ve found that it’s comparable in rates to a decent hotel, yet the feel of the experience is far more in tune with the local culture than a hotel could ever offer. Just as well, we get invaluable advice and tips from our hosts, such as which breweries or bars to go to/avoid, where some local attractions are, and how to steer clear of tourists.

Overall, it’s just a much better model suited towards our lifestyle than a hotel could ever offer. Plus, we’d much rather give our money to hosts (and the app itself) than traditional hotels. This sort of business encourages and promotes travelers across the United States, and it does so through the model of having people host you at their homes.

Something we’ve noticed that sets certain hosts apart from others is the preparation involved. When we book a cheaper place simply to save money, we don’t expect too much out of the room we’ve booked. So long as there’s access to a bed, some outlets, and a bathroom with a shower, we can’t really expect much more.

But any rooms that approach $85 or more start to have higher expectations. Ability to control the thermostat is huge. Access to a refrigerator for storing drinks or anything else we need is a must. And, at that price, it’s nice to have contact with the host enough to find out more about the local culture and restaurants surrounding their home.

We’ve also found it quite nice to have a TV in case we want to wind down to something. Heck, one host we recently stayed with had a Roku on their TV, allowing us to watch Hulu and the likes. That was a pretty amazing feature for our two-night stay up in Michigan.

Detail of the livingroom at Hotel Vilòn in Rome

We’ve also enjoyed hosts having shipping supplies available in case we need to mail something in a pinch. Whenever we’re out traveling, it’s always neat to send postcards or trinkets back to family, so we’re often on the lookout for things like packing tape and labels and envelopes. Shipping supplies are cheap enough for hosts to be alright purchasing, too, so it only shows another level of expertise in hosting people in their homes.

More than anything, being prepared and having a clean home with amenities that any normal hotel would have is what makes a successful host. Even if you don’t have some enormous home with beautiful architecture and a pool and more, you can still become great at your craft in hosting weary travelers.

3 Packaging Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed

When it comes to being the most prepared you can be for a move or even just for transporting new furniture and decor back into your home, there’s nothing better than having the right shipping supplies available to make transportation of certain materials and items much easier, safer, and efficient.

The thing is, there are a lot of shipping supplies out there that some of you may not be aware of. While moving boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape may be quite familiar to you, would you be able to name off other products that movers use on a daily basis to make their job easier and more efficient? Probably not.

With that said, check out these three moving supplies to increase your knowledge on the wide variety of supplies out there for your own convenience.

Moving blankets.

These are some of the most handy things out there that have more than one use for your move. More than anything, moving blankets are like large, thick quilts used to protect bigger furniture from rips, tears, scratches, and more. Basically, they’re just cushioning and a material in between to help preserve the nature of your furniture and belongings so that nothing becomes damaged or broken. The last thing you want to happen when moving is add more to the stress of the move.

As another use, though, moving blankets are amazing for transporting heavy pieces of furniture without wheels across flooring that’s prone to scratching. Not only do the blankets protect your floor, they also make it a heck of a lot easier to move things around in tighter spaces.

Padded wrapping paper.

As an alternative to moving blankets, you can use padded wrapping paper instead. Basically, this looks like brown paper bags that have cushioning built in so that it can be wrapped around pieces of furniture to prevent any sort of scratching or tears. While this is more of a temporary, lighter weight material for moves compared to the permanent heavy duty nature of moving blankets, it can be quicker and easier to use in a pinch.

Stretch plastic wrap.

This kind of looks like Saran wrap and is available in different dimensions to fit your needs. They’re great for wrapping drawers so that they don’t come flying open in transit like you’re probably used to. This stuff is pretty great for protecting softer furniture from rips and tears, too. Heck, it prevents your furniture from getting dirty or wet, too.

Music & Tattoos

Last weekend I was in the mood to listen to my record player. So, I started going through some of my vinyl record collection, all housed in old shipping boxes, and I came across one of my favorite albums out there.

For me, being able to really digest an album in its entirety means a lot more than “listening to music” as most people do today. Songs are the moneymakers in today’s music industry, which has unfortunately driven a lot of artists away from the art that is making an entire album. While I may be generalizing some, pop music has taken off and stayed strong through the last few decades simply because those musicians are willing to sacrifice their art for far more money. You can’t even blame them, though, because who wouldn’t want to get paid more?

But some artists aren’t willing to sacrifice their artistic design and their own influence on a record. They know the process, the emotions, the creation, and the experience of it all is far too intertwined to compromise for fame and money. They’re the few who prefer to keep it to how it used to be. They want to make real music.

Sturgill Simpson is one of those artists, and he’s my favorite musician out there because of his take on the music industry. He’s too old school to care about fame and money and big lights. Instead, he forges his path through experimental country music. And if anyone ever fit the bill of against the grain, it’s Sturgill.

So as I listened to his second album on my record player, I got to thinking about life and expression and art, and I realized I finally came across the perfect image and idea for my first tattoo. You see, I’ve long been the guy to say “I want a tattoo, I just never can decide on something once and for all”. But that suddenly changed when I settled on a tattoo idea based off of one of Sturgill’s tracks on his second album.

Such introspection and deep thought (combined with my favorite artist’s classic voice) led me to a better realization of myself and being able to finally be decisive on a topic that I really do need to be absolutely certain about. If I had never dug through my shipping boxes to find a few records I wanted to listen to, I’m not sure I would’ve ever come to the decision that I know what I want for a tattoo now.

Picking Up Your Home Can Pick Up Your Mood

I get pretty stressed when the house is out of order, things are laying around in places they shouldn’t be, and for the most part, everything is just in a state of constant disarray.

Honestly, I’m probably like most people who find these things bothersome and stressful, and by the time you even want to do something about it, it’s too big to tackle all at once (which only adds to the stress even more).

The problem with handling this sort of recurring situation is getting to the root of it all: and that’s organization.

But organization is an intangible sort of thing, you know. It’s hard to nail down what it means to be organized and how to instill such a “skill” in yourself. The good thing is that a lot of it starts with the type of storage and supplies you have around your home. The more tools and containers you have to be organized, the more likely you are to be successful at keeping everything cleanly and in order.

So, that’s where I started recently with my girlfriend. We got a few containers meant for storage purposes and some other basic shipping supplies like packing tape and sharpies so that we could mark on the containers to show what goes where. The good thing about such tape, too, is that it can easily be peeled off and replaced if you happen to dedicate that container to other items.

Since we’ve taken the time to actually get things in order and have dedicated spaces for an assortment of items, things have been so amazing around our home. Nothing is ever scattered out and about anymore. And we’re so, so much better about keeping things picked up and in their right spots. It’s amazing how a few containers, some shipping supplies, and a will to do it all can completely transform the way you keep your home in order.

And even better than all of that is how happy and relaxed we are in our home as of late. The amount of stress that can build up within you when you’re surrounding by a state of disarray is criminally underrated. Only after getting everything cleaned up and constantly spotless did I realize how much less stressed I felt each evening after coming home from work. There’s no other way to put it than saying I’m just genuinely happier and healthier (mentally, especially) because of the changes we’ve made.

What Is “Too Many” Boxes?

I grew up in a household absolutely stocked with cardboard shipping boxes. While that may bring to mind a house stuffed full of different sizes and shapes of boxes in every room, that’s not exactly the case.

For a little bit of context, both of my parents have worked for the post office all of their lives. So, it’s really no surprise that we always had a gajillion cardboard boxes on hand for any given scenario.

Heck, Christmas time was always super easy considering there was always another box to use for wrapping gifts in. I never had to seek out bags or other containers to wrap any gifts in. I’d just go to the back room, grab a handful of boxes that fit the various items I wanted to wrap, and went to work. It was always super convenient around the holidays that we had so many boxes.

The funny thing, though, is that we never really got much use out of these abundant shipping boxes for the rest of the year. I mean, if we ever actually had to ship something, I’d know where to look for a box that fit whatever it was I’d be sending. But in regards to other uses for boxes, we didn’t find many.

It comes as no surprise that we’d have such an overabundance of cardboard boxes in our home, though. Considering that my parents basically lived at the post office, they happened to bring home a lot from time to time to keep our stash up to date and fully stocked.

When I look back on all the boxes we had, I can’t help but feel like we could’ve made more use of them throughout the year. Whether we wanted to do crafts, use them for practical things like kindling or storage, or even recycle half of the stock of boxes since we never used even that many, I feel as if we had far too many boxes.

In reality, though, my mind is probably imagining far more boxes than we actually had, especially because my most vivid memories of that back room were from my childhood. And when you’re a kid, everything is much bigger and grandiose than when you’re an adult and have a greater sense of perspective. Overall, the impressive collection of boxes never cost my family a penny, so I suppose that’s why we always had an “overstock” of boxes. Why not have more than you need if it’s not costing you anything, right?

Gifting in Boxes or Bags?

With spring finally here and Easter around the corner, gift giving is in session. It’s only been a few months since Christmas was here, but a few months is all it takes in the gift-happy culture of the US.

When it comes to giving gifts, though, I prefer to wrap mine in boxes. Any old shipping boxes usually do for whatever I’m giving away. I just think that a gift in a box wrapped up shows a lot more effort went into the gift than just placing something in a bag, stuffing some tissue paper in on top of the item, and calling it a day.

But that’s to each their own, I suppose. While I like to have my recipient think there was a lot of thought that went into the gift, not everyone else does. And I can’t fault others for being more efficient with their time and gift giving even if it does make their recipient think of the gift as less special than a wrapped box.

My gifting habits are a main reason as to why I do have a lot of old shipping boxes and other cardboard laying around my home, though. I’m always using them for something with how versatile they are.

It’s funny to see what people think when I give them Easter gifts all wrapped up in the style of a birthday or Christmas present, though. People always expect baskets or bags around this time of year, but a fully wrapped box just seems to say a lot more in my opinion. It stands out a lot more, too.

I’d say my favorite part of wrapping gifts in boxes is honestly the type of paper I wrap it with. Whether it’s a specific pattern tailored to the occasion or just plain, thick brown paper (which is actually pretty classy, I must say), it’s fun to change it all up and keeps me, the gifter, interested and excited in the whole process.

That’s not even to say how many compliments I usually receive on my wrapping and the paper I chose. I’m always getting asked where I got my paper or how I wrapped my gift, and it’s honestly kinda nice to have that recognition for my efforts.

Overall, though, I do it for the recipient. I get joy in the whole process because I know it’ll bring joy to whomever I’m gifting the item to. If you can’t get joy out of that, what’s the point in gifting someone a thing you don’t truly care to spend money on? If that’s how you approach it, don’t bother giving them anything at all.

The Usefulness of Random Supplies

The other day my parents were over dog sitting for me and my girlfriend while we were out of town. They live 2 hours out of town in a small rural town, so coming to the city for a weekend has been their little getaway from the rise and grind of their jobs. I was happy to let them stay at our place for the weekend.

While they were at our place, I asked my dad if he would install a steel tip dartboard cabinet that we got for Christmas. I would’ve done it by now, but the problem was we were going to put it in our basement, but the walls are concrete. So, we were pretty reliant on the tools he had at home, meaning we had to wait for them to make their way to our place at some point to help put it up.

Anyway, they were able to eventually get the board and cabinet up, but not without some hitches in the plan. Apparently we were missing some sort of screws and the alignment of the board was off in such a way when it was hanging that we needed to shim the backside of the board it was adhered to.

Luckily, we had some random shipping supplies laying around the apartment that he was able to use to make final adjustments, even if it was a bit of a roughshod piece of work.

I couldn’t believe he made it work with mere shipping supplies. Somehow, though, it worked, and that’s all I really care about. It just goes to show that having some things laying around can be used in a pinch.

It reminds me of the usefulness and utility of other common items we overlook all the time. For example, cardboard can be used in so many different ways that you’d never really think about. I’ve made compost with cardboard, shredded it up and used it as mulch, and even used it to soak up things like oil leaks in the garage.

All of this is just proof that you can make something out of seemingly nothing. By giving your house a quick sweep through anytime you’re missing an item or need something in particular and don’t seem to have it, you’ll be able to find a lot of things that may actually be of use to you in your current situation. It only takes a little bit of creativity and a will to get the job done.