In The Company of Box Collectors

Once a month the clan of Box Collectors gather on certain street corners. They dress for the occasion. Comfortable shoes, with casual shirts and pants. They’re sprinkled with a hint of dust dragon, that reminds any passers-by of antiquated libraries and the deepest corners of long-neglected wardrobes.

What they do is a time honoured ritual. Into a shop they go, and head straight for the crate of empty boxes. Back on the street they nod companionably to other Box Collectors as they juggle their collection of boxes, and weave their way home.

Even when they aren’t collecting boxes that month, Box Collectors always acknowledge those of their clan who are. A wry smile is exchanged, perhaps a few words of sympathy or encouragement, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about the iniquities of having to pack the empty boxes with their possessions for their move, because as we all know Box Collectors are a transient lot.


“A box without hinges, keys, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid”J.R.R. Tolkien – from the riddle game Bilbo and Gollum play when they first meet. What was the answer, and who gave it?

10 comments on “In The Company of Box Collectors

  1. londonmabel says:

    Ah yes–working at a book store did have that advantage!


  2. In all my many moves—and there have been a lot—I had never bought empty boxes until the husband and my last move. That was tough for me to pay for things I’d always able to get for free with. But, that’s what I got for being slower than the recyclers.


  3. jannatwrites says:

    I remember the box stakeouts. There’s fierce competition, that’s for sure!


  4. My favourites are the apple boxes. Sturdy, lidded, deep and strong.

    Isn’t it funny that we are often prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to get something for free that we could pay for and save ourselves time and effort? You could buy packing boxes from Staples. There are companies that ‘rent’ packing boxes, including plastic ones that stack easily.You could even hire a packing company to pack it all up for you. But all of those easy answers (which come with a price tag attached) understate the thrill of the chase for that perfect apple box.

    Who knew that moving to an island would facilitate such sport?


    • Widdershins says:

      ROFL … I know! … It gets better … Someone moved into our building last week and put four large size Home Depot boxes in the paper recycling bins. (next to them – they were the large size after all) I chortled gleefully and rubbed my hands together. Here was a veritable goldmine of boxes!


  5. Boxes are a life essential. umm Widder? Where the heck are you? You okay or still moving? or did the evil cat feed you bad food or what?


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