Once upon a time there was an ultra-fancy, intricately designed, decorative box. It shined on the store shelf and screamed at me those taunting words “come buy me!” So gladly, I did. I happily brought it home and was so proud of it. But then I looked around at my house and paused.

Where will I put this beautifully designed box? On a side table? On a shelf? In my closet?

This box was beautiful! It had a faux alligator leather exterior, or a handcrafted wood design, or a fun castle turrets shape, or it was octagonal, or heart-shaped. It had shiny brass locks or workings, beautifully beaded decorations, mother of pearl inlaid, and soft red or black velvet interior. The box was big, it was small, it was whatever that beautifully crafted decorative box is that YOU currently have in your home. I had many. My father had many. My mother had many. My grandmother had many…. Everybody has at least one if not a dozen of these gorgeous boxes of various shapes and sizes, of an array of makes and materials, of a plethora of meanings, or symbolic memories: that decorative box – you know the one.

What do those boxes mean to you?

The story goes on, that after you found that perfect place for that wonderful box, you gazed at it with smiles for the first few days, looked at it with grins for the next couple of weeks, and scowled at it after that because of the dust (and fur in my home) that was collecting on it. And boxes like this, can’t just have a Swiffer slide over them and clean them to the extent that they shine like that first day you bought them. No. They have to be washed, they have to be polished, they have to be scrubbed, each one of those little crevices need to be cleaned out… maybe with a tool as intricate as a toothbrush. Oh sure, you’ll gladly do it once, or twice, but after a while you start questioning why this box even exists.

PLUS – What do you put in those boxes?

Let me ask you, what did you put in your box? Anything?? Those small boxes are pretty much only good for that rogue button you found on the floor that you wanted to keep, but can’t remember which box you put it in when you finally discover where it came from. Maybe you could put nail clippers or a small nail file or tweezers in it next to the nightstand. Maybe some loose change you found in the couch cushions. One of your favorite pieces of jewelry or two, but then, that means it’s probably in your closet or your nightstand or somewhere where guests won’t have access to it. Not that you don’t trust your guests, but you don’t want to taunt them with a chance at a fine piece of jewelry that was hidden away in a box you are likely to forget about.

Or if it’s a big box, what did you put in that box? Books? Balls? Old magazines you haven’t read. A box of tissues? I honestly don’t know, let me know what you put in those big boxes, because in my mind, those beautifully crafted boxes, with a red velvet interior that you proudly display on your table, or shelf, are usually more important to you than the contents you put inside. I mean, seriously, you’d rather look at the box than the contents, right? So, are the contents worth keeping? Are you hoarding – but doing it artistically?

Are the contents worth more or less than the box?

So, if you have these beautiful boxes, that don’t have anything of relevance in them, taking up space on a table, collecting dust, and causing strife, why are you keeping them? Why did you buy them in the first place? Would it make you happy to get rid of them?

– Pickup said object

– Hold in your hands

– Ask yourself does this make you happy

– If it doesn’t anymore, get rid of it. (At least that’s what one book said.)

    Now, if you are the artist who makes beautifully crafted boxes, kudos to you! People love them! I love them! They are eye-catching and wonderful. But I’m not really sure what to do with them.

    My father collected a bunch of little ones intricately designed with these beautiful stones. My mother collected big wood ones, handcrafted to look like snakes or dragons, three-dimensional. Those were the biggest pains in the butts to clean, with a toothbrush. I had two big castle turrets, with an exterior that was made from a dark faux alligator leather. They had red velvet interior, and brass hinges and locks. I put them on the top of the guest bed cabinets to make it look like castle royalty. But I never put anything in them. And washing them was always questionable, because I was not sure if the water during the scrubbing process was going to loosen the glue that was holding the faux alligator leather onto the fairly thin nearly cardboard box.

    Am I a Villain for saying this?

    I guess the moral of the story is; simplify your life by de-cluttering your table or shelf of those dust collectors that don’t hold important contents. But then again, that makes me the villain! I’m the one who’s saying; take that beautiful piece of artwork and kick it out of its home. Or see that beautiful, intricately designed box, and don’t buy it. Boy, that makes me feel horrible! But then again, I currently came up with this story while I was cleaning my house… And every single time I have to take the cleaner and paper towels to one of those boxes, or pick up and move a dozen small trinket boxes, or take a handful of items to the sink to wash, lay out to dry and put away later, I think to myself, do I really need this? I don’t know… Do I?

    What do you think?

    Well… maybe.

    What can I say…

    As an author, I am a very big fan of those boxes that look like old books… but I still don’t know what to put inside of them. Whatever it is, that is important enough for me to keep and yet hide, is something I am either going to miss when I forget where I put it, or something I am not enjoying by looking at it every day.

    The whole story leaves me with conflicted feelings…

    How about you?