Box It Up Head Honcho Hello for September 2013

What do we put in boxes but our crap? Here at Knock Knock, we like to call it as we see it.

I love a box.

Almost three years after moving into my current house, everything is beautiful and well organized except my home office, in the converted garage. I just can’t seem to finish it. I’m pleased, however, that much of Knock Knock’s early organization is still serving me in good stead—I used to store all my sewing and craft supplies and collections at Knock Knock until we no longer had the room, so those boxes were carefully organized and label-maker-labeled. Bonus: you can see Knock Knock’s early wrapping paper at middle left.

I love a big box, a small box, a decorative box, a utilitarian box. I love boxes with words, and if they don’t have words, I adorn them with my own, often with my fetishized P-Touch label maker.

If there’s a metal label holder, however, I just about plotz and then I create a computer template for paper rectangles, perfectly sized and with the font of my pleasure, trimmed not with sloppy scissors but with X-Acto knife and ruler. I actually took more than one class on box making at the Center for Book Arts, in New York City, and as a result I am a whiz at step-wall construction.

I have more boxes than I have stuff, and not many people can say that. In fact, that might be just one more embarrassing thing about myself to add to an already long list.

I am my own target market. In 2004, Knock Knock was fortunate to be the subject of a profile in the Wall Street Journal that focused on something I’d been practicing for years but never clarified enough to name: aspirational organization, the art of buying things that make us feel organized without actually doing the work. Or, as the WSJ put it, the “growing national obsession with ‘preparing’ to get things done.”

And . . . more boxes!

That article opened with this gem: “If procrastination is a sin, Jen Bilik is in a bit of trouble. When the house is messy, she’ll fritter away hours shopping for clear plastic storage bins rather than just, say, picking up the mess.” That’s still true, even though I am well aware of pioneering organizer Julie Morgenstern’s sage formula, Sort, Purge, Assign a home, Containerize, Equalize (SPACE), I still like to skip straight to the good stuff: containerizing. It’s just more fun to decorate than declutterate (I made that last word up on the spot, FYI).

I can spend hours in an office supplies section. I’ve never gotten out of the Container Store for less than $100. I like to store small stuff in small boxes that I then put into larger boxes. And so on.

I guess it goes without saying, then, that I really, really, really love Knock Knock’s new boxes. I’ve always thought corrugated cardboard didn’t get the respect it deserves, and after a decade spent disparaging the use of gradients in graphic design, I’m now in love with their subtle application. How much fun is it to open a box and get a splash of color?

Two points of box-obsession interest here. One, note the numbered metal boxes (1 to 9) that are still in their original box. Two, the metal label holders that I plan to put on my bookshelves to identify genres.

I should tell you to SPA before you C (Sort, Purge, and Assign before Containerizing), but if you’re anything like me, I know you’ll just go straight to the fun C. And I will be right there with you.

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