Thursday, August 29, 2013

Breaking Boxes

Breaking boxes is possibly my favorite chore.

Thanks to e-commerce delivering goods directly to our house, our basement (still unfinished) collects boxes at a fairly decent rate. The boxes pile up and accumulate, to the point where I declare to anyone who'll listen "I'm going to break the boxes downstairs."

I put on a pair of cloth gloves and open a grey Craftsman utility knife. I pull a few boxes from the teetering pile and set them on the floor. Using the knife, I cut the shipping tape from the bottom of the box. This lets me collapse the box, flattening it. I'll work through maybe a dozen large boxes like this. When I get to the smaller boxes (from Priority Mail, FedEx, or Amazon), I'll use the knife to cut open one end. Once both ends are open, I can fold the box flat.

Only if the box is large enough do I actually cut the box itself. When we bought a new dining room set, the boxes had me busy the next weekend. I remember that the boxes contained lots of cardboard, some of which had Styrofoam glued on for further padding. I worked these apart, trashing the foam into a large garbage bag, and then cutting the cardboard even more.

Sometimes the boxes are strangely shaped packaging that is usually coupled with heavy plastic. I'll spend the time separating these carefully. The knife helps me cut the plastic, which then goes into a separate bin.

If it sounds like we get a lot of boxes, then yes, we get a lot of boxes.

It's satisfying to look at the boxes once they're flattened and in a small pile. Where there was once an unruly pile, there is now a clear space. I've made room.

I take the folded boxes to my car, and drive to a nearby recycling dumpster. There is usually a box or two right in front of the dumpster, which always makes me shake my head. Next time, I'll bring my utility knife, and break that box too.