We’ve dealt with box-y rooms, but this takes that term to a whole new level:
What you’re looking at is what we lovingly called our “Box Graveyard,” aka the guest bedroom filled to the brim with all of our now-empty moving boxes and packing supplies. As disastrous as it looks, we have to admit that after trying to be so orderly about packing, it was somewhat cathartic to just toss the empty boxes into one big über-disorderly pile. Call it tapping into our wild side if you will.
But of course we can only pretend to enjoy a mess for so long. So almost as soon as the last box was tossed there, I found myself breaking them down and collecting the newspaper and bubble wrap into garbage bags (so they can be reused by someone else along with the boxes thanks to cragslist). About two hours later I found the walls and the floor again:
It’s not quite the tidy “after” that we typically go for, but we’re sure a fellow-craigslister will take them off our hands so we’ll officially have our guest room back. Well, except for those bi-fold doors that still need to make it over to the Habitat For Humanity ReStore. Hopefully we’ll get to that soon…
Has anyone else out there used the Box Graveyard method? Or relied on some other form of controlled chaos to make themselves feel better after a move?
We moved this past July when I was 7.5 months pregnant (and yes, I was up on a ladder painting the ceiling… and I too have a painting belt, though it didn’t fit at the time).
After the move, I was so overwhelmed and HUGE, that my mom took pity on us and while we were at work, unpacked and organized us over 4 days! It was like extreme home makeover. Everything had its place (and was labeled thanks to mom’s label maker). she broke down every box and organized them by size. We borrowed boxes from a co-worker and then passed them on to another co-worker. Felt good to recycle and reuse.
Can we ever thank our moms enough????
When we were first married, we had an entire room with no purpose and no furniture. So we stored all of the boxes from our breakable wedding gifts, such as china and crystal, and used them to safely pack up all those items when it was time to move the next year. And 35 years later, they’re filling up our attic! Not really. Just couldn’t resist an organizational joke.
I take my groceries home from the grocery store in the leftover cardboard boxes that the food is brough INTO the store with, then I use the cardboard boxes to put my paper recyling at the curb on garbage day. In – Out!
Rebecca @ the lil house that could says
Our garage was, and still is, our box grave yard. Keeping those things around just makes a huge cluttery mess and breaking them down in the midst of an unpacking kick just isn’t realistic. Better to consolidate into one cluttery messy area. Right now our garage is housing the box for our new tree, which has yet to be broken down (tree OR box)
Our basement is still a box-y graveyard after 7 months of occupancy in our new house! And with each new IKEA purchase or gift, the graveyard grows. We recycled some of the broken boxes, gave away a ton of intact boxes, and we still have a bunch of cardboard under the basement stairs. What else are basements for?
brandt @ New House on the Blog says
Man, if you guys lived in Michigan I would totally get some of those boxes off your hands!
We had a dedicated room for junk for a while. It was a transition period until we got our first apartment in college, and all we had was unpacked boxes in there – books, clothes, bedding, dishes, you name it, it was in there. We tried to live a very minimalistic life for a couple months until we got our first official place. Man, it totally was a graveyard.
Wished you were in Missouri…..we are in the box gathering mode! Just starting the packing process.
I saw your episode last night! I had it DVR’ed and I’d never even seen the Nate Berkus but thought you were great!
Military moves, which are often “overseas”, are highly packaged affairs (by contract.) Having to deal with all that is such a PITA afterward! Our last move was the only one we had use of Craigslist, and it was SO NICE to be able to pass perfectly good moving materials onto another family. Someone drove 90 minutes each way to get it, and were sooooooo happy.
To me, the cathartic part is breaking down each box as I empty it, LOL!! It’s so satisfying to me to see something go from “yet another unpacked box” to FLAT!! (…and so I do it as I go. But your method has much to recommend it as well :-)! Just never have extra bits of space in military moves!! Someday, perhaps!)
I love seeing these little glimpses of your packing, moving, and unpacking process! My husband and I are going to be moving within the next six months. I would love to hear any further tips about how you guys organized your packing and unpacking– the order in which you did everything, how you kept track of what was where, and how you survived the week or two when much of your stuff was in boxes. I know you already posted some, but anything else would be welcome! I feel like I never know how to do it all efficiently. Thanks! Love your blog!
Totally did the same thing a couple of years ago when we moved into this house. Our guest BR was a box pile from floor to ceiling with paper and bubblewrap shoved into them and strewn throughout. I had just had our second daughter a week before moving, so it was all I could do to get a box here and there unpacked much less worrying about the packaging itself. Later on, I paid our older daughter a dollar a box to flatten all that paper for me. Big kids = cheap labor. ;)
tonya lynn says
We had a stack like that when my roommate and I recently moved into our apartment. For us it was easier to keep our motivation and just keep unpacking than it was to take the time and cut down each box.
However knowing that I am going to be moving again in a year – my boxes are being stored in my parents basement as they have extra storage room. I hit the mother-load thanks to my roommates boyfriend who works at Culvers. All of our boxes are the same size so they stack wonderfully when filled along with when they are empty for storage.
Laura C. says
Oh, yeah. We’re military, and have made 12 moves thus far. The box graveyard is a common occurance. FYI – I’ve had better luck getting rid of our boxes on freecycle!
Good to know!
Laura C. says
Should have added – it’s MUCH easier to tackle breaking them down as you’re emptying them. Trust me! Just have a designated place for each pile of broken down boxes, papers, and wrapping materials.
As an FYI for anyone using a mover (we did 11 on our own, 1 with a mover) – check because most WILL take away your broken down boxes with you when they leave. They get the $ for recycling them, so are more than happy to take them.
We need posts with more substance. I’m getting bored and that never happens on YHL. :(
Sorry Amanda! We’re all about real time and this is what’s really going on at our house during the week between Christmas and New Years! After lots of family time we’re cleaning and breaking down boxes. Remember we’re not going to flip this house in a day or even a year (it took us 4.5 years to transform our last one so hopefully you’re in it for the journey and not the destination, since we’re faaar away from all those sparkly after pics). But we’ll be tackling projects as we go and sharing the “in-progress” details, just like we did with the bifold door post, the painting-Clara’s-room post, the shower curtain hanging post, and the bed buying/building posts that we’ve recently shared. We’re actually pretty proud to have already painted a room in just two weeks of living here with the holidays in full swing!
Don’t listen to Amanda! You’re my heroes for having already accomplished as much as you have in the short time that you’ve lived in your new house! I just moved and know that it personally took me at least a month to be done unpacking and another few months to paint even a single room. The fact that you’re still blogging twice a day during a week that every other blogger is “off” is amazing to me. I heart YHL!
Aw thanks Mona. Love you right back!
Mike at The Big Stick says
We moved last February and also rocked the box graveyard for a week or so. After I broke them down they went into a stack in the basement. It’s unbelievable how handy they have been. I use them for painting projects, lining the car truck when transportating things that might stain, keeping supplies organized on camping trips, etc. We just used another 2-3 for Christmas. 10 months later we’ve only got about 4 left.
The moral of this story is to hold on to at least a few of the best ones. You’ll be glad to have them.
We just moved not that long ago so we had a lot of empty boxes that were put in a room we call the “porch.” It’s not actually a porch though lol. Anyways, since we have to remodel everything, and my daughter’s room is at the back of the house and needs the most work, we have decided to use her room for storage and set her up temporarily in my photo studio. The “storage room” has become quite chaotic and I can’t wait to get the rest of the house done so we can put everything in there away where it belongs, and get her room finally done!
The only reason her room took the back burner is because it’s at the back of the house and you actually go through the studio to get to it, which is kind of open to the livingroom. Everything of hers is set up in there nice and she loves it. I closed down my studio for the winter, which I had planned on doing anyways.
Dawn K. says
It’s my favorite type of method to use when unpacking/reorganizing! I’m very particular about getting absolutely organized, so I usually go room by room. Anything that doesn’t have a home or we’re discarding through whatever means gets thrown into a junk room. While we’re then faced with a big room full of junk, my inner control freak doesn’t have to worry about whether a missing shoe or part could be in another room. It makes it so that we have to face the junk all at once and can’t just keep shoving it in different drawers or cabinets.
We had a Box Graveyard (the bottom of the steps of our basement), but we ended up finding the most cathartic part was breaking down the boxes and recycling them (we had no internet with which to Craigslist anything for the first 2 weeks). We did keep a few for the gidgets and gadgets that didn’t have a “place of their own” in our new home, but once we were done…putting the boxes out on the curb on Recycling Day felt oh so good. Of course, we’re moving into our first home in a few months (darn short sales take forever), so we may have a whole new method at that point!
Renee Smith says
When I moved my parents into their new house (actually I practiced my Spanish directing and chatting with the moving crew), I wanted to have as much settled as I could before they came back from the hospital (mom had an emergency c-section for child #6 the day of the move… CRAZY!). With my own 3-month-old baby in a sling (yes, my brother is younger than my son), I had my 5 and 9 year-old siblings’ rooms unpacked, my 19 yr. old brother made all the beds and found/put away all of the towels, and one of my aunts (a designer) came over and directed the menfolk in rearranging the furniture. It was a ZOO! It felt so good to toss the boxes out onto their carport… until my dad made us flatten all of the bunched up packing paper that was stuffed in the boxes. It was amazing how fast the basics came together (in just a couple days) and my mom is just finishing up the last room just shy of 2 years later. They had 35ish years of stuff accumulated and spread around the much larger new house. The movers later came to take the packing materials away, and the rest my mom freecycled.
Tiffini S. says
We put our boxes to the curb with a sign that said “FREE BOXES” as we unpacked them. Over a 7 day period, we got rid of all the boxes like that. Most of them disappeared within minutes to a few short hours. People can’t resist a nice, sturdy box.
Our sunroom became the box graveyard for a little while when we moved. After unpacking, you just don’t want to deal with the boxes.
We moved 2 years ago and our guest bedroom is still full of unpack boxes!
Michelle "Chaos Caretaker" says
After moving recently with my beautiful blended family of five, I realized that there was yet another wonderfully balanced difference between my husband and myself…unpacking. I learned that even the biggest chronic organizer can take lessons from her logical partner. You can read more about how we moved and stayed married here…
Our last move was over 11 years ago, but seeing your box graveyard reminded me of ours.
We had friends who were moving shortly after us, so we broke down boxes and saved paper and bubble wrap and put everything into our garage. About a week after our move, our friends came for everything and cleaned us out. Like you, we were glad that someone else could use our left overs!
meryl rose says
I worked at a record store when I was in college and at the end of every day there was always a HUGE pile of empty boxes in the back from all the merchandise that came in that day. It was one of my favorite tasks to get the box cutter out and break them all down. Seriously. I loved it. I brought that pile of disaster down to cleanliness and order. And the guys I worked with were super happy cuz it meant they didn’t have to do it. Maybe I could make a career as a professional box-breaker-downer ;)
Oh John, that would make me nuts. I’m so rediculous that I have to breakdown everything as I go along. I’m sure your way is much more efficient though.
We did the box graveyard during our last move. The garage was filled with packing material and about to overflow before we broke everything down.
Also, I just wanted to say keep up the good work. I don’t expect you guys to be knocking down walls or remodeling the kitchen anytime soon. I like the real time blogging, it lets me know that you are human. So keep on keeping on… and when you DO starting knocking down walls, I’ll be here.
Thanks Megan! We know it’s easy for people to get impatient and want to see a fully remodeled kitchen tomorrow, but we’re happy to do things in real-time while we save money and think things out, just like many other DIYers at home who are reading and renovating right along with us!
Cait @ Hernando House says
When we moved a year and a half ago it was a lot more gradual then your move, so we just unpacked and resued the same boxes over & over and then broke them down to be recycled. We did still end up with a room full of “what do we do with this?” type stuff, though.
I make a big tape ball with all the moving tape I pull offas I unpack boxes circa Pee-Wee’s Playhouse rubber band ball, except without Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis.
I wish I could say that I was as disciplined as you are about the unpacking. I’ve still got boxes in my house banished to an unused bedroom. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but I moved in over 2 years ago. It’s getting better….slowly.
I really just wanted to tell you thanks for the ReStore tip. I’ve got some closet doors I need to get rid of (I’m also in Richmond)…I’ll drop them off tomorrow.
We just did a military move from Europe (where we’d been for 8 years) to the US. We’d thought of ourselves as relatively minimalist and we’d thrown out a lot of stuff when we moved, but there were still hundreds of boxes. The Germans are incredibly packaging happy, which worked out well as not a single piece of china or crystal was broken. Not a scratch on a piece of furniture, save the Ikea dresser in my daughter’s room that basically fell apart. (I don’t really blame the movers for that one, more on Ikea) Yes, you read that right.
We didn’t actually have to break them down afterwards, though. The moving company that unpacked us on this end picked up all the boxes that had been stuffed in the giant shed in our back garden for re-use and recycling.
Mike @HA says
That’s quite the pile you got there! That’s how we felt after the wedding. We had a box room. I’m glad to see you recycled it to someone on CL, I was going to suggest that!!
That’s what our garage looked like – only worse I think because we also left things in there that we weren’t sure where to put yet. My parents were around though and Mom was an unpacking fool, so she would break the boxes down right away.
We rocked the box graveyard too, but sort of in reverse. When we moved into this house, we had almost 100% more space thanks to a finished basement, so 80% of the boxes all went down there.
That way, when I unpacked everything, each room started with a blank slate instead of a clutter of packed boxes in the way. Sure, it was a little more work with the stairs, but much easier to load things into an empty room!
Almost a year later, some of those boxes are still fully packed and down there! Clearly its time to put that stuff up on Craig’s List or donate it.
Love the progress at your house so far!
I am enjoying these posts. You two are doing a fab job. I started reading shortly after your kitchen reno and I love the day by day posts. They’re inspirational and totally better then not hearing from you for months at a time. So keep keeping it real. The loyal readers will stay and those are who matter :)
Sharee A. says
Question……Now that ya’ll have a new Casa, when will you add it (or another pic) as the background of your webpage? As the new year approaches, out with the “old” and in with the new???
That’s actually a picture of our new house on our blog header! Isn’t it funny how similar it is to the old casa?! You can compare them by clicking the “House Tour” tab up near our header.
I heart your blog. I so “get” your style, and it’s helping me figure out my OWN style and how I want it portrayed in my house. That makes me so happy!
PS – I am currently awaiting my XL waffle shower curtain to come in the mail. Hooray for a taller (feeling) bathroom! :)
Have you considered keeping a set of the doors? They look like a project waiting to happen, hanging one as art, or a coffee table…or I guess you could just mail me a set :) I have a wall they would look pretty on.
Also, I am really appreciating the real time “projects”. It makes me feel less lazy! Cause goodness knows I don’t have time to tackle half as many projects as I’d like too. Plus my storage closet is still full of empty boxes!
We’re actually planning to keep the set from Clara’s bedroom and ours (since we figure if we ever sell the next owners might want to reinstall them). As for a DIY project, we did one back at the old house (creating a fun little folding screen) and loved it. Here’s that link for ya: https://www.younghouselove.com/tackling-the-basement-chapter-eight/
amy good house says
I also like the real-time blogging. After a move, things get really TOPSY-TURVY. We have been in our house for a whole year, and while we have done many, many, MANY things there seems to be a lifetime of DIY projects yet to go! And many unfinished spaces.
We actually still have a “messy room” that is a quasi-tool-storage-place-to-pour-paints-place-to-throw-boxes in our 3rd bedroom. We dont have children yet so the extra bedroom in our house isnt needed for any other purpose!
Laura *You Stir Me* says
All of our friends live in the same area and since we’re all still fairly young (20s-30s) we’re all still moving into apartments or first homes. I think we all have used the same lot of moving boxes a dozen of times – we just break them down and save them for the next group of friends who will move (it’s a yearly event!:) )
Lindsay @ A Walk in the Closet says
Impressive box acrobatics! :P Isn’t it so satisfying to go from a box hurricane to a neat and stacked corner? I love the feeling of going from crazy to clear!
I like that the two of you are keeping it “green” by giving away the boxes and donating the doors to Habitat for Humanity. It’s admirable to see that not only are the two of you creating a beautiful home together, but you’re also thinking of others, too. :) I love reading this blog!
Ugh, what a pile! Hats off to tackling it so quickly and thoroughly!
That’s soo the part I’m not looking forward to :o)
After 22 years in the military, I’ve got the unpacking thing down! All boxes go into the garage/basement/extra room. They come out one at a time and get unpacked, First unpacked box holds packing material, then boxes get broken down and put in the garage/basement/extra room. Typically someone in the military is moving on when you are moving in so they are more than happy to take boxes. If the weather is good, you set them out on the curb with a “free” sign and they magically dissappear!
Sara @ House Bella says
When we moved six months ago we did the “immediate breakdown” method that a few people have mentioned. Worked like a charm for us, and we were unpacked in about a week – I can’t stand to have boxes around! Drives me bonkers.
Just wanted to chime in and say I love you blogging in real time! We bought our house in March and we are slowly progressing through each room but we still have TONS left to do. Our “house tour” when guests come over is filled with lots of “and eventually we will knock down this wall…” and “we will someday demo this entire bathroom” but we can’t afford to do it all now so the small projects that make a big difference (paint, shutters, blinds, etc.) are keeping us happy in the meantime :)
We have a box graveyard in an unfinished corner of the basement for purchases we make during the year. There’s a local furniture store that recycles boxes, plastic, and styrofoam, so we empty out the graveyard whenever we accumulate a trunk-load.
What? You’re ALREADY done unpacking?? You guys are craaazy…in a really good and I’ve-got-my-stuff-together way, of course ;)
Lots of blessings.
Maggie Rose says
I’m continually impressed by how quickly you’re getting settled in the new house! I think most of us understand that reno work isn’t your first priority – being able to parent and run your business is! I love the real-time blogging because it’s still a little quicker than I move, and encourages me to get my butt moving on projects without leaving me in the dust totally intimidated and discouraging! I’ve been reading a LONG time, and I’ve been loving the posts the last few weeks!