Where there’s a box…

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            …there’s probably a cat, at least that’s the way it is in Casa Appelt.

I confess: I’m a person who loves boxes.  I like paper boxes, carved boxes, tool boxes, wire boxes.  I like tiny porcelain boxes, large cardboard boxes, thin papier mache boxes, translucent plastic boxes.

I like boxes that have specific uses, like my grandmother’s hatbox, and the box that keeps my steak knives.  Ken has a tiny box for the tiny tools he uses to repair his eye glasses, the ones that always seem to have a loose lens.  There’s something so perfect about that tiny box.

Let’s be clear, I’m not wild about oddly-shaped boxes.  As much as I love cats, I’m not keen on those cat-shaped boxes where the cat’s head is also the lid of the box.  Ack!  Don’t give me one of those, I’m begging you!

Nope.  Me, I like a nice, square box, or at least one with ninety degree angles.

Of course, this is the time of year, when a box takes on added significance.  For the past week or so, I’ve spent more than a few minutes trying to puzzle out what size a box has to be to contain a particular gift.  I’ve now made two trips to Target to find just the right box.  There’s something so satisfying when I get it right.  In some ways, finding that perfect box makes the gift itself perfect.

I like that.

To me there’s something wonderful about the simple utility of a box.  A box makes me feel organized.  It makes me feel as though I’ve taken care of something, like I’ve put a thing away properly, like whatever is inside of the box is protected and safe.

I’d love to say that the more lovely the box, the more important the contents.  But that’s not true.  A good box is a good box is a good box.

And all of this makes me wonder why the box has gotten such short shrift.  Why say, “think outside the box,” when the space inside is so useful?    I do think we can “box ourselves in,” and I’m not recommending self-confinement.   But I also think that there is worth in the things that contain the stuff of our lives.  Look, why don’t you.

You might get lucky.  You might find a cat.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Where there’s a box…

  1. Martine

    Kathi, you are always reminding me why I adore you!

  2. I long for the days when, when you bought a gift the store gave you a box to put the gift in – and not some cheapo, folding piece of flimsy cardboard, but a Real box with a cover and Real tissue paper that could be used over and over again. So when the wrapping paper came off the box, you’d remember what gift had been inside it in previous years and it was like getting multiple gifts from a simple, well-made box.

  3. I was in a wrapping marathon today. Mid-wrap I realized that the perfect box for the item in my hand was the size and shape of a Lindt truffle box. In the pantry I found the desired box, removed the contents and recovered the lid and bottom. A bit horrific for those of us who treasure pristine, sturdy boxes, but I was a little bit proud of my efforts! Surely Target would not have stocked that exact size, would they?

  4. And corrugated cardboard is truly an amazing invention.

  5. How about round boxes? Round boxes turn whatever they contain into something special. Personally I love boxes full of yarn. You open up the top and there’s all that soft brightness, full of potential. Note to self–keep yarn box lid secured so curious paws can’t flip it open. Now you have me thinking storywise, Kathi, and itching to find out how I can think inside a box and make something happen.

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