What to do with all my boxes?
February 11, 2015 10:17 PM   Subscribe

For the first time, I'm moving to an apartment without a patio and storage closet. Looking for creative solutions for still holding onto various boxes while not having my place look vaguely hoarder-ish

After years living in places with a storage closet I could shove boxes into, for the first time I'll be without a dedicated storage closet!
As an example of the boxes I keep, I've hung onto the large boxes for my cintiq monitor, my imac, and my litter robot. Having these has made moving with these items much easier. I've also kept all the original boxes to things like camera gear, which makes resale much easier down the line.

I don't want to have to rent an additional $100 a month storage cage at my new place just to keep these kinds of boxes. So I'm looking for creative solutions for what I can do with them and how to keep them out of view. I have limited closet space as well in the new place I'm moving, but more open space.

I've thought about sticking them under my bed, but my bedframe is really low to the ground and the boxes (especially the one the Litter Robot) came in are huge! Hope me, mefi!

I'd like to hold onto the boxes because I expect to move again, I'm hoping this is the last place I rent before buying a place... a place with a garage for storage!
posted by raw sugar to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Flatten the boxes? Use a set of bed risers to raise the bed?
posted by charmedimsure at 10:40 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Not trying to threadsit, but the cintiq, imac, and litter robot boxes are all filled with cut styrofoam pieces to perfectly support the delicate electronics when in transit
posted by raw sugar at 10:44 PM on February 11, 2015

It's unclear to me if you've flattened the boxes? If not, you absolutely should! I have probably 15 or so large boxes, flattened and tied together nicely with twine, and they fit fine in my small closet with plenty of room to spare. You could also hide them behind a dresser, bookshelf, etc, or even the space between your fridge and the wall. Storing them vertically is better than flat on the ground.

edit: Styrofoam? If you must save it, all of it can be cut and placed into one box. Carefully slice the styrofoam into reasonably sized pieces, perhaps number/color the pieces, and put it all into one box or bag.
posted by acidic at 10:44 PM on February 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is there room for something on the top of a bedroom closet? Wrapped in a clean sheet on top of the refrigerator? Maybe the styrofoam can be wrapped in trash bags separately and go under the raised bed with the flattened boxes in a more space-saving arrangement? Is one appropriately sized to drape with a nice fabric and be a nightstand or end table or ottoman?

Most of these options are just a short drive away from hoardertown, though, to be honest.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:05 PM on February 11, 2015

Best answer: Flatten the boxes; when you move, use tshirts/scarves/sweaters to cushion the contents.
posted by greenish at 2:27 AM on February 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

I keep my iMac boxes on the top shelf of my coat closet and bedroom closet. At least in my apartment there's plenty of height in the ceiling of the closets that is good for these large boxes. I also keep them whole with the styrofoam inside- it does make moving electronics way less scary.

I'm not sure I'd keep the box for the litter robot, but only because it's way less expensive to replace it than it would be to replace the computer and monitor. Other kinds of cushioning might be enough the next time you move.
posted by Mouse Army at 5:17 AM on February 12, 2015

Best answer: Boxes. I understand. I'm a box person. I say the words "That's a good box" all the time. I really, really understand. I also drastically downsized my space a few years ago and faced a similar dilemma.

Get rid of the boxes.

For the big boxes, if your next move really will be to your own house, then think of the cost of a few new packing supplies from the box store as part of the closing costs.

And the electronic equipment boxes? Unless it's really high end, most people don't care, and if you're going to need to ship them then include the cost of new packing material in the cost of the gear.

Exception: If you have a car you can keep whatever boxes you can fit in your trunk.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:25 AM on February 12, 2015 [13 favorites]

Take out the styrofoam. Number things if it will help later. Flatten the boxes. Shove it all under the bed. If you want, big plastic trash bags can help keep things together, hidden, and dust free.
posted by zennie at 5:56 AM on February 12, 2015

You definitely don't need the large boxes. They are easily replaceable. The styrofoam inserts might be more useful, but you don't even need those. It's worth it to not have to keep them around.

I've gone through more moves than I can remember, with electronics packed variously by myself, friends and family members, and hired movers (both professional and not-so-professional). I have rarely used original styrofoam inserts. None of my electronics have ever been damaged. The only things that have been damaged in moves are cheap IKEA furniture made out of fiberboard.

Stop hoarding. How much would you pay to have just a little bit more space in your apartment for the next 12 months? If not $100/month, maybe $50/month? $25/month? That's $600 over the year. You can do this and all you'll have to do is get $20 in bubble wrap and boxes when you move.
posted by grouse at 6:49 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not trying to threadsit, but the cintiq, imac, and litter robot boxes are all filled with cut styrofoam pieces to perfectly support the delicate electronics when in transit

That is not actually the purpose of the styrofoam blocks that stuff comes packaged in. They are to prevent crush damage. The electronics still have to survive standard shipping conditions which include things like two foot drops so they are pretty durable in that regard. I think you don't really need to hang onto these things.

Just be careful when you move or hire movers who will be careful. If you want to box things up you can buy moving boxes yourself - they sell special boxes for moving TVs now.

I'd only keep the styrofoam bracing if I thought I was going to be shipping things and I generally don't ship electronics.
posted by srboisvert at 6:54 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I know it's not what you're asking, but it would be much better to just throw those suckers out. I don't think it makes sense to give up valuable apartment space full-time for years just to store something that might make a one-day event slightly more convenient far in the future. You might as well start stockpiling stacks of old newspapers too, because they might make for good packing material for that move.
posted by Willie0248 at 7:08 AM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I tend to agree that you should get rid of them (my own apartment actually has *no* closets) but you could also get a wardrobe from a place like IKEA...
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:20 AM on February 12, 2015

I absolutely agree with those suggesting you should toss them (really, you can get other boxes), but if not, do you have a friend with some storage, basement or attic space who would store them for you?
posted by Grlnxtdr at 7:23 AM on February 12, 2015

Stack them in a corner or on top of kitchen cabinets and throw a tablecloth on top?
posted by metasarah at 9:44 AM on February 12, 2015

The Uhaul store is a great source for a variety of boxes, some specially made for televesions, electronics, etc, as well as padding and protection for the screens.
Just letting you know if you throw them out, you'll be able to find new ones in the future.
posted by rubster at 9:55 AM on February 12, 2015

Best answer: I would hang onto the camera gear boxes because of resell value but only if you really plan to resell that gear.

For the rest of them, how far are you going to move? I would only keep the computer gear boxes if there was a cross-country move planned within a few years. If it's just cross-town or in-state or the timeline is greater, both your iMac and Cintiq will survive being wrapped in blankets. For example, I've moved my son's iMac several times unboxed by belting it into the car with the screen facing the seat back and a pillow shoved in-between to keep it from rocking back and forth, I'm sure there's many other secure and box-free ways to move it.

The only reason I'd keep a Litter Robot box (that's a HUGE box, lordy) is if I were irrationally worried that cat butt germs would get onto my other possessions (cat owners rarely have this fear, because cats sit on everything). LRs are near indestructible, I regularly roughly handle the ball part when hosing it down outdoors. The drawer is...a drawer. The only remotely fragile part of an LR is the circuit board on front but it's more susceptible to liquid damage than vibration damage.
posted by jamaro at 9:58 AM on February 12, 2015

Even if you're moving across the country, usually a new sturdy box + ungodly amounts of bubble wrap will suffice for delicate electronics. We've done several cross country moves, and I get the big bubble style bubble wrap and pack the electronics in it, several layers of bubble wrap deep per item. It's not cheap, but I've found it easier to store bubble wrap than the styrofoam pieces. Usually, if it's a small roll of wrap, you can just use the whole roll to wrap the item, and then when you get to the destination, unwrap, roll up the bubble wrap, and shove it under your bed or something for next time.
posted by RogueTech at 11:45 AM on February 12, 2015

Also, bubble wrap is very very pretty. Much prettier than boxes. We currently have some bubble wrap rolled into a coil and suspended from our (high) ceiling with fishline.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:00 PM on February 12, 2015

Response by poster: Coming back to this question insanely late but I threw out most of the boxes
posted by raw sugar at 9:43 PM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

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