Monthly Archives: March 2016

Clever Alternatives to Expensive Packaging Materials

Fun, random fact of the day: It’s probably common knowledge by now that the Disney story of Cinderella is not the original one.  The one by the Brothers Grimm is perhaps the most familiar to us, and it is chock full of disturbing elements.  For example, I was horrified to find out that the father doesn’t actually die, but most versions just kill him off because it’s better than his lack of character in the way his daughter is treated.  And of course there’s the bit about the stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet to fit into the slipper…

Anyway, it’s time to talk about packaging materials.  Perhaps packaging materials are not nearly as interesting as grim fairytales (yes, that pun was intended), but they are a pretty constant part of our lives, and so it would behoove us to talk about some clever alternatives to the expensive store bought stuff.


I did a quick walk through of my house, just wondering how many things I could point that would be useful as packaging materials, and I was surprised at how many things seemed to fit the description.  I thought a couple things, sure, but I wound up being able to put together a short list, and here are some of my findings:

  • Shredded paper- depending on who you are sending something to, your shredded documents are a great alternative to other more expensive, less environmentally friendly options.
  • Old boxes- just because your coffee maker box says Mr. Coffee doesn’t mean you can’t cover it in plain paper and use it instead of spending a few dollars on a new one, on top of the shipping costs.
  • Grocery bags- those plastic grocery bags really start to accumulate. I know in my house we use them for dirty diapers, cat litter, sending stuff home with people, an overnight bag, lunch box…  You name it.    They are also really useful as stuffing for packages.  And they have a dual function: wrap up books or clothes or other vulnerable items that might became ruined if the box gets wet or broken into by vermin.
  • Rubberbands- yes, even rubberbands can serve a big purpose! Consider using them to keep loose items taunt and you will wind up saving a lot of space, and hopefully have cheaper shipping costs as a result.
  • Old socks- make sure you wash them first! I save old socks and use them when I’m sending breakable items by actually putting the item in the sock and then rolling it up (of course this is to people that I know will be offended to receive one of my old socks as well).

Improv Skit: Discount Packaging Supplies

I go to this club every weekend where they do improv comedy skits and I wind up laughing to tears every single time. They say that laughter is good for the soul and that has to be the truth, because I feel like colors are brighter, food tastes better, and there’s a new confidence inside of me. It’s kind of like being in love, I guess you could say, but it’s really just endorphins.

When you get to the club you can write a suggestion on a slip of paper and put it in the box and after every skit they will go into the box and pull out a suggestion. I wanted to think of something really hard, really challenging. I had been to the post office earlier in the day, and and for some reason “discount packaging supplies” popped in my mind. Now that would be hard. I don’t know how anyone could come up with funny material for that. So I wrote it down and put it in the box. Maybe I would get lucky.


I took a photo of the slip of paper and sent it on Snapchat and Instagram, and then I added a few hashtags: #comedyinthemaking, #lornemichaelsprotoge, #discountpackagingsupplies, #howcanthesebefunny, #letsseewhatyouvegot, #ivegotagoldenticket, #pickmepickmepickme… That kind of thing. I kept my phone primed and ready, with the video camera open at all times, and every time they pulled a suggestion from the box I started filming just in case they pulled mine out.

Lo and behold, the next I think knew, the guy was reading, “Discount packaging supplies…?” And then everyone was having a good laugh because of the way his voice trailed off at the end and how his face was like…whaaat? I was filming and laughing and later I put up the fifteen second clip of this part and added some more hashtags, including all of the originals: #nailedit, #copyrightinfringement, #hisfacewaslikewhaaaat, #ivebeendiscovered…

It was a really good skit. It lasted longer than all of the other ones, because somehow those people made discount packaging supplies really stinking hilarious. Everyone was loving it- just eating it up. We couldn’t stop laughing, and they were just going with it, just feeding off of us. I put as many fifteen second clips of the skit up as I could, which wound up being a lot, but it was worth it. My final hashtags really represented how I felt: #fiveminutesoffame, #icandiehappynow, #suggestionaddict, #bestnightofmylife.

Honey, where is the Packaging Tape?

“Honey, where’s the packaging tape?” This is what my husband asked me one day while we were trying to get together a couple of boxes to send to our children, who were all off in college. If you think it sounds insane to have three children in college at the same time, imagine what it was like when they were all in diapers at the same time. To be honest, I would prefer the former. I suppose, in part, this is because we pay for half of their school, and when they were all in diapers there was no contributing from them except in the aspect of why we needed to keep buying diapers.

Which isn’t really contributing, in my opinion. Regardless, three times a year for birthdays, and many more times a year for random holidays or stressful exam weeks, we send off care packages. Every single stinking time my husband will ask me where the packaging tape has gone off to. As if the packaging tape had somehow decided it would like to move to a different cupboard, or out of our house altogether. Now, after being married for over thirty years, this does not take me by surprise. For one, this is a normal occurrence with men in general. Every single wife all over the world can attest to this, whether it’s a bushman in Africa asking where his nose bone has crawled off to, or a Japanese business tycoon who is looking right at the chopsticks but wondering out loud where they are. To be honest, I think it’s kind of endearing.

Of course I roll my eyes, and of course it’s annoying sometimes. But for the most part it reminds me that I am married, that I am spending my life with someone, and that even though it doesn’t make sense to me why he can’t figure out where the packaging tape is on his own, I wouldn’t trade his company, everything that he contributes to my life, simply to have that one phrase erased.

I mean, really, if I didn’t hear that question anymore it would mean thirty years of my life had disappeared. It would mean that I don’t have children to send care packages to. And then who would I be scouring the one and three dollar section of Target for? Cycling in the new products is the only incentive I need to send off another couple of boxes.