File Boxes: RE-PURPOSED IT! — Buy Nothing New for a Year

It didn’t take long for us to realize that there may have been a few oversights around our resolution, here…and judging by how quickly those came about, I have a feeling that this may be a looooong and interesting year! But we will not be pessimistic about this! Oh, no…no we will not. Besides, who needs smoke detectors and concealer, anyway? Sure…we could argue that a smoke detector is a basic necessity of life and group it into the home repair/improvement categories, but I’m almost positive I’ve got one somewhere in the basement still in the package. Plus there’s 4 more in the house, so I think we’ll survive. And concealer? That’s personal hygiene, right? Wrong. If we don’t need it to sustain a healthy life then we will find a way to do without. Besides, Melissa is just as beautiful as the day she was almost 10 years ago when I married her…so why you wanna conceal all those good looks? Seriously.

This brings me to today’s challenge: File Boxes.


You see, every year I have this ritual in which I make an attempt to get organized to the nth degree as soon as possible. Typically this starts with boxing up last years (or the last 7 years, ahem) files so we can begin each drawer anew. There is nothing quite as satisfying as empty manilla folders and extra room in the file cabinet. Between running a household of 4 and a business, we get a lot of paperwork that needs to go somewhere. While most of it can be taken care of online or shredded and composted after the fact, the inevitable stack of papers on my desk(s) at the end of the month is enough to make any amateur admin professional scream. My first thought was “lemme just run over to Office Depot and grab a few file boxes” until I again realized that just mere hours earlier I had signed a deal with the devil. Alternatives abound in times of great need, and at once I remembered the stack of boxes by the back door that I’d been meaning to recycle all week. Jackpot. I knew that I had extra file boxes holding things that were not files, so all it would take is a little switcharoo, or what we will call for purposes of this blog: RE-PURPOSED IT!

There you go, already thinking “why is it so important to have an actual file box when you could have just used a plain cardboard box in the first place?!” Ah…you know nothing of my crippling detail orientation. They wouldn’t stack as nicely with the other boxes of meaningless paperwork that I’ve filed away for my children to sort through in 40 years…that’s why, OK?! Which would likely bring you to your next thought, “man, this is just a cardboard box…I want to see real savings of LARGE amounts of cash!” to which I answer, “hold on there, cowboy…it’s only January 3rd and it will add up…trust me!”

Why, as a matter of fact, let’s think about how much we saved, not just directly as a result of swapping one storage box for another:

First, the cost of the box was ZERO, as I just swapped out a cardboard box for a cardboard file box. At Office Depot, they retail for around $7 a piece, or $33 for a 12 pack (but let’s be honest, we’re NOT buying the 12 pack…)

Second, let’s not forget to mention the ancillary spendings of a madman in an office supply warehouse. Seriously. I am like the Augustus Gloop of office supply stores…I just cannot get enough. Pens, markers, dry erase supplies, the sultry tagging section, reams of delicate patterned papers, calculators…oh my! And I know that even if you have more self-control than I do around a tape gun, chances are you would show up for a $7 cardboard box and leave with another $10-$20 worth of stuff you either already have or don’t need. Am I right? And did you hear what I just said? A $7 cardboard box? Why is this OK?!

So here’s to 2012 being neatly filed away. I just saved about $27 with a cardboard box…not bad! Now I need to go find a smoke detector…quick!

What do you think?