“Large Items” and “Miscellaneous I, Too, and III”–A Labelling Technique

I’m almost done finding places for all the books; then I’ve got everything but the art and the decorations out of boxes. As I continue to unpack and organize my home, I find it funny to notice the difference in the way Just’In and I label boxes. Mary, my grandma, made the same observation when she moved several years ago:

“One member of each couple will label just one side of the box, and the other person will label all sides.”

For Mary, she labelled just the top in her big, swirled cursive and Bob, my grandpa, would label every side and the top. You’d think this is a mark of exactitude in personality, of personal discipline and maybe over-organization. Or maybe something of gender, right?

This label on a box Just'In got from work always made me giggle.

Maybe. Bob is an accountant by profession, and has been his whole adult life. I’ve seen his finance spreadsheets and I’ve interviewed him for his life story; he’s clearly good at what he does. Don’t you have to be organized as an accountant?

As for me, I enjoy organizing cabinets, drawers, and cupboards, yet I had (temporary) piles of stuff in our bedroom that always shifted and tended to disappear when guests were due.

I don’t know the answer, but with us, I label every side and the top of every box and my husband labels just the top. In fact, we reused some of the boxes from our move from Utah to Oregon, and in pulling out dusty boxes, I found a label made by Just’In: “Large Items”. It’s just about as ambiguous as the Miscellaneous” numbered series of boxes I labelled; at one point in the packing process, you just have a jumble of stuff from each room that need to be packed.

Like The Label on This Box

Still, I get slightly frightened about Just’In’s packing box labelling habit; I know that when boxes are moved, movers care less whether the label is visible. And I hate studying a stack of boxes and not being able to read the label of one box’s specific contents because it’s on a side facing another box.

Good thing they’re just packing boxes, right? It’s still interesting to think about: which member of the couple are you, the one-side labeller or the thorough-marker?


About The Original Kate

Along with artistic tendencies, Kate enjoys unusual people and is constantly striving for some sort of nonconformity. Kate offers a perspective that is thoughtful but well-written and full of images within the words. Other tidbits that might intrigue: she has very long auburn hair, and, you guessed it, her favorite color is orange.

Posted on January 30, 2012, in From Moss-Lined Oregon and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Kaya, I am definitely a one-side labeler. I feel like it takes too much time to walk around each side and write the exact same thing. It’s more time efficient to just write it once and be done. But the downside is that if you’re placing it in storage or something, you have to make sure the side with the label is facing towards you. If you come back later and you can’t see it, you have to rotate it (if that’s even possible) to find the label. Am I making any sense?

    • The Original Kate

      That makes perfect sense, and if you’re placing your own boxes in storage, it’s totally doable.

      But in the last three moves I’ve made, the Elder’s Quorum has helped us move. And if they’re not your boxes, you don’t even think about labels. You just think about moving them. So then, like you’ve implied, once the move is done, I’ve got boxes stacked upon one another; and two of the five in the stack are way down at the bottom, and they’re Mystery Contents boxes.

      Guess who’s done the majority of the unpacking in the last three moves? And guess who’s also gotten really good at packing so Elder’s Quorums can handle the stuff as roughly as they like?

      But then–guess whose furniture got all scratched up in this last move? sigh. I can’t win, Holly.

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