Box Hoarders Anonymous


Hi, I’m Marine Wife. And I hoard boxes, specifically original packaging. I have the box for the computer we bought 3 moves ago. Ditto for the Japanese and German china my mother bought over 30 years ago. (So clearly, this might be an inherited disease, especially if you are the child of a milspouse.) I keep boxes for items small and big, everything from stemware to our TV. Often, these boxes and the packing material in them come in very handy during PCS’s. If nothing else, I feel a little more secure about my worldly goods arriving in one piece at the other end before I hand them over to complete strangers.

As we were dismantling our tree today, I was repackaging many of our ornaments back into their original packaging (the ones we had, anyway). Stretch stopped mid-point and asked, “Do you think we’re being too anal about keeping these boxes?” My answer came immediately:

“We can get rid of them when we stop moving every 2 years.”

About the Author

Marine Wife

Marine Wife is a former Army Brat who married her Marine in 1998, making theirs a mixed marriage. She has two Devil Pups that keep her on her toes and threaten her sanity daily.

But that might only be fair since Marine Wife just might hold the record for getting her husband called on the carpet. Hmmm....that might be why he now enjoys the fact that she never took his name.

While Marine Wife often wonders what it would be like to live at the same address for longer than 2 years, she enjoys all the adventures that life with the Corps affords. OORAH!

  • Kim

    So it’s not just me. I have tons of orginal boxes that I “prepack” the items in before the movers/packers come! I’m glad I’m not the only one out there! Thank you :)

  • aggie_mle

    We have the box for our flat screen only bc hubby said that we will need it when we move.. and I’m like *IF* we move.
    Been at this base 6 yrs now and so far, no orders.
    but it will be handy when we do move… eventually. :)

  • DL Sly

    MH and I have been keeping *specialty boxes* for specific items for nearly twenty years now. All with the understanding that when we finally retire and *settle down* we would no longer need them. Quite frankly, I don’t mind keeping them. They assure that that which is important survives the next PCS….not to mention the final bonfire we get to have in celebration of not having to hear the sound of packing tape being pulled from the roll ever again. The anticipation of that alone, sometimes, makes it all worth while.

  • Marine Wife

    I don’t mind the boxes either but I’m afraid we’ll still have them after retirement!

  • Robbo

    I’m not alone after all!!
    Another case where my civ friends think I’m weird.

  • We totally do this too, although now we are throwing away boxes with purpose… we had been faithfully carting our gigantic TV box for over 10 years (!), but finally threw it away in the hopes that the movers WOULD actually break the TV for us. Sadly, two moves so far and no luck. Figures.

  • Marine Wife

    dutchgirl, That’s hilarious! It figures when you want them to break something, it becomes indestructible!

  • angela

    Already have my after Christmas boxes sitting in the living room waiting to be taken to the shed. Of course my husband thinks it would be easier to just go get boxes right before a move. He never helps with the moves so he has no clue.

  • Apryl

    Must be odd man out right now…I don’t save ’em. But we’re like another poster been stuck in this joint for 6 years orders to go nowhere fast coming.
    My Dad and Stepmom are AD and they don’t keep boxes either…

  • Iko

    Happy to hear this isn’t just an affliction affecting me :) I’ve got the original boxes for pretty much anything remotely of value. We recently bought a new plasma TV and i’m struggling with the thought of dumping its box, but the box is huge and wouldn’t hold up to a PCS anyhow methinks.

  • Andi

    I totally get this. Ironically, the day you published this post, I had gone through the boxes for my serving pieces and got rid of them. Not sure why I held onto those, not like they’re important boxes like computer or TV boxes. It’s a milspouse disease I tell ya….

  • Boxes are my biggest pet peeve. My husband can never get me to hold on to the things. Not even if i buy a new computer. What it comes down to is “I hate clutter”. I mean come on really, if you need boxes for moving just go to the gocery store and ask them if you can have some. Besides, when the military moves you they bring thier own boxes anyway, its not like your paying for them. its not a good idea to keep all the boxes, for one its a FIRE HAZARD in your home, and they probably take up alot of space. You don’t want to end up a HOARDER do you?

  • Marine Wife

    Dawn, I keep boxes that have protective packing in them, like styrofoam cut out to fit certain items, like expensive tvs, computers, stereo equipment, etc. The only movers I’ve ever had worth their salt at packing was overseas, and even they got a bit overzealous trying to make things fit into boxes. (We came back to the states with a stroller with bent parts.) And since we average a move every 2 years, I keep those boxes to protect high-dollar items.
    Yes, you can insure items. Yes, you can file claims for broken or damaged items. But it’s a huge pain to do so and you often don’t get full replacement value. So I prefer to try to avoid damage in this way.
    Our 2 million books (only a slight exaggeration) is probably more of a fire hazard than the boxes we have neatly stored away. As for the danger of ending up a hoarder, I doubt that’s an issue. We purge before every move and have never come near our weight allowance, despite the books.

  • Penny

    I still haven’t gotten rid of the boxes I unpacked two months ago. They’re in the garage waiting for me to come around and see who gets kicked off the island. The problem is there’s a big likelyhood of a move in the near future so I don’t want to get rid of any of them since I know when the time comes they will be needed. :p

  • I’m so glad I’m not alone!! We don’t keep boxes unless they have specific packing material for items (like our TV, our blender, etc.) but we DO keep them. Maybe that’s why we’ve only ever had to file 1 moving claim…

  • GBear

    We have boxes to stuff we don’t even have anymore! I swear this is a disease! It’s why we’re more concerned with the size of our storage areas in houses than our bedroom! Sick, I tell you, it’s sick!
    I figure the cure is retirement, but I don’t think I’m ready for such a drastic measure quite yet!

  • Hi,
    Some of the items in your home will require extra care to make a safe move. This is especially true of your delicate items like china, glassware and stemware. There are special package that are used to transport such fragile items and they are well worth buying when you want to make sure they survive your move.

  • nybridgy

    Absolutely! Most of our storage problems come because of keeping all of our boxes but every time we have moved we were so glad we kept them. It really does make packing easier. The boxes are already labeled, already has packing material, and is the perfect size. I have slowly been labeling our “forever” boxes with each item. Usually dishes or keep sakes.

  • Sam

    I’m not alone – what a relief! I’ll have to let my husband know… :)
    I have mostly smaller boxes for figurines, David Winter houses – stuff like that. I pack up all my collectibles in their own boxes to make sure they’re “safe” for the movers to come get them. In 7 moves, only big stuff I can’t pre-pack myself has gotten lost or broken…which of course means, I’ll keep on keeping boxes until we are done moving every 2 years or so.

  • HAA this is great. I do the same thing, and I have since we got married. We are in the guard now, and haven’t moved in quite a while, but I still keep things in their original boxes- particularly decorations for holidays! In fact, in our last move, I packed one of the boxes myself. Guess what it was filled with? Boxes. They were all kind of unusual in shape, or were useful for wrapping gifts, etc. My husband still teases me about moving a box of boxes.