Boxes, Boxes


I’ve got boxes everywhere. On shelves, in drawers, on the floor. I need some ideas on how to store them. Laying flat, they take up a lot of room. Standing up, a lot do not have anything on the end flap to indicate what they are. Stacked up, it’s hard to get to the bottom one when you need it.

So, how do you guys store yours? Has anyone come up with a novel way?



Ray–One of the best ways I have seen to store boxes and still have them easily available for study was the way Gerry Marcello, of .30-06 fame (Before Chris. P.). He had a whole room with little narrow, 1 inch deep, shelves on the walls. The boxes faced out on these shelves. It took a lot of wall space, but, .30-06 was all he collected.


This is my method, it’s not easy but works for me.


I like it. Is that couch made of real leather? That photo on the wall looks very familiar. Where was this taken?




I asked because you have to be careful. Spilling a coke on a leather couch could ruin it.


I copied Jerry’s solution of having 1-inch wide shelves spaced about 5 inches apart. The only thing I didn’t have was the need to stop the buggers falling off the wall every time the ground shook (For those of you who didn’t know “Mr. 30-06” aka Jerry Marcello, he lived in San Diego before he passed away and his house was subject to many a shake). He had a lip hanging from the upper shelf under which he tucked the box so it could not topple forward onto the ground.

Only problem is that with a thousand 30-06 boxes I quickly ran out of wall space – my cartridge room was only 12x12 feet. In addition, to avoid direct sunlight, I needed to keep the window blinds closed (not a bad idea anyway) or the sunlight would fade the labels. Eventually I stored most of them in 4-inch-deep strong cardboard trays. Each tray was made from heavy duty cardboard boxes by just cutting off the top and bottom 4 inches to make 2 trays per box. I got a whole bunch of these boxes from a local beer bottler who had his bottle tops delivered in them (I’m sure there are other sources). When cut, each tray measured about 18 x 12 inches and I built crude shelving to support these. I could label the exposed ends of the cardboard trays and quickly find a box based on a simple index.


Having looked at svsvlad’s storage method, yours probably isn’t so bad after all, is it??


I used all manner of cabinets to store my boxes. The ones with deep (a couple of inches) but flat shelves work good and you can see all the boxes. The problem is, I now have to turn many up on there sides, and even then, I have not one space left in any of the flat cabinets, and not much space left in a deep drawer cabinet where I have the others. In that cabinet, they are in at ramdom, no rhyme or reason, and finding one is almost impossible now. My original cabinets have some order, although to use every square inch of space, I have had to make exceptions in some cases, merely finding a box of any caliber or country that fills a spot.

We all need to be millionaires with huge homes. I would like to have a fifty foot by fifty foot room for my library, and anohter the same size fo my cartridges and boxes, all with custom steel cabinets. When I get that, we will talk about office space and a gun room! Its going to happen, just like getting that Mercedes or BWM car I have always wanted - sure it is!! (I am still driving my 1996 Saturn, and it will probably be my last car, if I don’t run out of parts now that Saturn is closed).

Seriously, though, for a box collection that because of the way collected or the material available, will not excede several hundred boxes, Big metal cabinets like a blueprint cabinet, but with deeper drawers, work great. I have a couple of those. when you start getting three or four thousand boxes, like I think I currently have, its back to the drawing board! Unfortunately, I have no room for one more piece of furniture - my couch, easy chair, coffee table, etc. are long gone out of my hobby room, replace by four folding chairs and book cases, cabinets, safes and filing cabinets, to a point where it is hard to move! Bah humbug! Collecting is insane.

John Moss


Thanks to all for the answers so far (even Vlad & Guy).

I like Chris’ idea of cardboard trays stored on shelves. The USPS has flat rate boxes that are free, so I’ll have to look at the medium sizes on Monday. Do you think they will get suspicious if I take 5 free ones every day for a month??

After hearing of the number of boxes that Chris and John have I suppose I should not complain.



John–You said “We all need to be millionaires with huge homes. I would like to have a fifty foot by fifty foot room for my library, and anohter the same size fo my cartridges and boxes, all with custom steel cabinets. When I get that, we will talk about office space and a gun room!”

I agree. One solution I have thought about for 40 years is to buy an out of business Motel with maybe 20 units. I would live in the Managers Quarters and have a separate room for my stamp collection, another for my Insect Collection (Mostly ants in bottles of alcohol-Ants were my specialty), 2 or 3 for my cartridges, one for my Library, etc. I actually looked at just such a place back about 1975. But, it was out in the boonies (probably the reason it went out of business) and the necessity for both my job and my wife’s job made it impractical.

And, I would not have had to be a Millionaire either. It was only $20,000 with 16 units and 5 acres. Sure wish I could find such a deal today now that I have no wife or job to worry about. But, now I have no money either. Ah, what a dream.




The Post Office will send you the boxes for free - no need to even drive there. Go on-line and check it out. I recently got 50 of the small ones. I actually use them for mailing items, but I doubt that will do some sort of audit to determine how many you actually mail.


Ron - Even after the financial debacle, a two bedroom, one bath home in the San Francisco Bay Area is about $350,000. You won’t buy a Motel, even a failed one, for $20,000 where I live and couldn’t even years ago. The land is worth more than the building in most cases around here. If you could, it ain’t a bad idea!

In truth, if one were having a home built on property and looked ahead, it probably wouldn’t cost a lot more to design it around a hobby. I always dreamed of that, but for many reasons, it is unlikely I will ever be able to move. Still, its nice to dream about what you could do if…!

I guess its Murphy’s law that no matter how much space you have, you will fill it beyond capacity when you are a serious collector or even just an accumulator. When you get old, you start getting back to basics and cutting back on the stuff you own. I will tell you though, having sold many collections over the years, primarily for financial need, but not always, that it is a painful thing to break apart something you have spent your life building, even when it is just a hobby collection.

John Moss


John-Like they say in the Real Estate Market: Location, Location, Location. That motel for $20,000 was probably over priced in 1975 for where it was. At least, I know, it was still unsold 5 years later. What happened is it was originally located on US-131 (a two-lane highway), which was the main route from southern Michigan to the northern part of the state, which is prime deer hunting and skiing area, and the main source of their business. Then the government built I-75 about 60 miles east ( a 4-lane freeway) which allowed faster, more direct driving to the same destinations. So, very little business then for that motel. And the land in that area is what we call Blow Sand. Worthless for farming and not much good for anything else. Of course the place is now gone. I’m not sure if it was torn down or just finally fell down from too much snow (average 5-8 feet per year) on the roof. But, if it was still there, even in good condition, I bet it could be bought today for $60-75,000. Northern Michigan is NOT California.




I like your motel idea Ron, I suppose the laws in the USA aren’t anything like the UK. It wouldn’t be possible here. This is because are all sorts of regulations that prevent you frm using a busness premises for residential space etc. In the UK, I’m sure as soon as the local government bureaucrats found out they would be trying to land you with all sorts of heavy fines.


Falcon–Here in the US, in most places, living in a place of business is also illegal. But, just because it looks like a motel, doesn’t make it one. As long as you are not renting rooms or advertising as a business then it is a private residence. An unusual house to be sure, but just a house, not a business.


Rick - I do’t understand the context of what you put into bold print, and the Rodney Dangerfield remark. Explain please. : )

John Moss



It is a “joke”. As in: I don’t get no respect!(Mr. Dangerfield’s old schtick). What with being “just an accumulator”. Maybe I shoulda highlighted JUST. Or better, been quiet.