Tag Archives | boxes

homemade storage units

homedepotwoodencrate I have been thinking about these plain style crates for a long time…well i guess if it has slats its a crate, if it’s a solid board its a box. Either way, I have always wanted a LOT of them. one or two is nice but they vary between 10 and 20 dollars depending on quality and source. So a stack of a dozen can get pricey.

I have had a couple of ideas for mass storage that involve them, and i think the move to a new house may be my chance to try them out. As I am making plans for a location yet to be decided, it seems that BUILDING storage out of smaller units is the most adaptable method.

The drawback common to BOTH designs is that when purchased they are made with STAPLES not nails or screws. Using staples they have strength going in certain directions, but not in all directions. I use one of the crates in the car as a dog seat, with large hooks to secure the box to the back of the truck seat. Very quickly the weight of the box yanked the staples out, so i reinforced the slats with metal strapping. As any book person will tell you books are heavy. Decorative shelving is designed to be placed and not moved while holding weight. HOWEVER many booksellers use wooden boxes to store and transport books to book fairs. These boxes are longer and thinner than the storebought variety and they are also much better constructed so they can easily carry many pounds of books safely. I’m not getting any younger, I don’t want a box i can’t lift.


Bookstores use crates a lot for stacking and displays and there are a TON of do it yourself decorating ideas on the net especially for kids room storage.  In my house I have been using VINTAGE woodenboxes to add storage on walls where i can’t fit other shelving. I attach the boxes with angle brackets and then screw them directly into the wall for support. If I were to create a stack, a stack that when toppled over could crush someone, I would not only attach the top ones to the wall, but them to each other, or to a 1×3 run up the backside.  Stability is good, and boxes packed tightly with books are stable, but one can never be sure. Vintage boxes though attractive are never the same size besides, right now i am interested in mass storage, not just a decorative shelf here and there.

IMG_8059 I have some ideas for designing three standard sizes..the more standardized the cheaper they will be to manufacture as well as purchase the boards…and i have quite a number to recycle that i will be bringing from my house and barn.  Then i can apply the template and cut them, add the hand holds on the sides…..BELIEVE me, you need hand holds for heavy boxes.

Which brings me to some more additions to my MUST by list… new tools. I have hand tools for building one or two things but not for anything in bulk. I am also hoping to save a lot of money by doing a lot of the work on my house myself. I will hire people do do what needs a certification, plumbers, electricians etc..and of course things that need a strong back, but i am competent enough to do much of everything else. I have been looking at buying a set of rechargable power tools like the Ryobi Nail Gun and a circular saw and i will need a jig saw to cut the hand holds. This is all about $300 including the batteries and chargers and such. But i think i can save that pretty quickly. nailgun

I have in mind three sizes thus far…one for paperback and trade sized books, about 8″ tall (inside) and either 18″ or 24″ wide…then the traditional 12″ tall …and then a cube i think. and a couple of specials for photography books.

I am not mad about the CRATE design for books, as it lets DUST inside, but the slats make it easy to snake cables and power cords for devices and lights, so the crates are good for other things. When i measure the available wall space in the new place i can create the custom shelves into the corners and around things like windows and doors, it is  a way to save space and NOT HOG up the large wall spaces where i can hang my photographs.

Now that I have the BOX design in my head, i am thinking of adaptive designs… i can add clear plexiglass door to some of them by cutting the plexi to fix and then using epoxy to attach the hinges to the plexi and adding pull knobs. perhaps i wont need to buy more barrister cases. it will also keep the cats from climbing into shelves not meant for them.
bookbox3 Speaking of cats…my ORIGINAL idea to use store bought crates,  When i move the cats  i will designate one room for them until all the Solar Energy and other construction is done on the house, i don’t want them to get in the way of the workmen, and i don’t want the workmen letting them out in a new city. My IDEA was to buy twelve of these crates and then stack and screw them together sideways in a offset pyramid design, then attach squares of carpeting to provide beds and scratch post area. i can even screw on toys and distractions etc.. I have examined every store bought cat TREE on the market, none of them are designed to be repaired. By using my method, they can destroy it to their hearts content, then i can unscrew and rebuild the entire thing, and replace the carpet squares. You can’t do that with the storebought ones. As things are going i will have a lot fewer cats when i move so this tower isn’t a priority now.

I like my idea for the crates and boxes instead of store bought furniture, and I would have bought the tools anyway when i started working on my house. I can see them in my head, some with doors, some with lights and some with cats sprinkled in between. The key to keeping them from fucking up your stuff is to accomodate them IN YOUR DESIGN, if i leave a few open with carpeting they should stay away from the breakables. At least that’s my theory.

house in a box

weebeastie1okay so that fantasy lasted a few hours, but its over. 12 years ago when I had more stuff and i was looking into Class As would have been the time to go. but these days i have less stuff, and i don’t want to get rid of what i have left. Maybe if something else happens. But one of the reasons i was looking at the pioneer valley is to USE my bike and my boat, and visit bookshops and take part in community activities. 12 years ago i wasn’t interest in those things. things change. but scotty there is still in the garage, i never did get to use it enough for my satisfaction. something tells me i am going to have to sell it before i move, i wont have a safe place for it. and exposed trailers don’t do well in new england. ice dams eventually injure them. i will sell her, but it will hurt she was always my stop gap, when all else fails i had someplace to sleep. and just having her in the garage made me feel better.   One i buy a truck that can tow this thing i may feel differently.

Meanwhile enough sorting my stuff for sale, back to work on projects that need to be finished.  Because at the other end of the argument is that i still don’t have enough income from online to consider being mobile.  Gotta get a wiggle on that.

Starting to look at boxes… wait..there’s a reason… we had a good discussion on the Bibliophile list yesterday about the pros and cons of moving books using various boxes.

In my personal opinion:

Banana boxes: have inherent flaws…the center hole weakens the structure so the box has to be solidly packed. which means I can’t pick it up. it is also too wide for me to carry one comfortably when full. i also don’t like how it fits on the hand truck, i end up duct taping a new bottom to the hand truck.

Tomato boxes – fit on the hand truck perfectly, double walled, handles, drawnback is that it only fits 1 or two stacks of books, and
a it is too easy to put books in spine down to pack the box solidly. and you have to save for years to come up with a suitable number to move an entire collection. don’t collapse afterwards.

Banker boxes – weaker box walls, boxes have to be packed absolutely full to stack without crushing the box on the bottom. too tempting to leave the books in the boxes when you get where you are going. handles have a habit of tearing from weight after a few uses.


Beer boxes – my hands down favorite for moving yourself. most have the thickness of the banana box, with handles, wider than the tomato box and usually taller. short armed persons can carry two or three filled without arm extensions. fit nicely on the hand truck.
flatten nicely, they are becoming harder to come by, since the advent of the shoebox.

Copypaper boxes- don’t have thick walls, and once they are full are too heavy for me to pick up, and if they aren’t packed full the  corners collapse.  the larger the boxes the more they need handles.

If i sell the house, i may not screw around with recycled boxes and buy a few bales of fresh boxes and tape from Unline.  4858 is 17 1⁄4 x 11 1⁄4 x 10″and rated for  275 lb.  which is considerable.  but using all regular sized boxes for EVERYTHING, clothes, books, dishes and using the linens as paking material, is the most efficient use of space in the moving truck.   I have a friend putting away  some of a very similar size, give me 50 of those and a big ass dumpster and i can be out of here in a week.





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