Collecting Wooden Boxes
Do you have an accidental collection? A haul of wooden boxes crept up on me. It began with a deliberate collection of trinket boxes, including metal, lacquer, soapstone, china, wood. Then realization dawned. The house was dotted with small wooden boxes.
And so, a teensy obsession was born. Here's how to add to your collection without breaking the bank.
Collecting wooden boxes
Car boot sales, garage sales, antique fairs, and charity shops are always worth a look. It only takes one item to make the trip worthwhile. You have the chance to handle a box and make sure it's in good condition, and sometimes it pays to haggle over the price.
Online auctions can be a fabulous way of adding to your collection. Decide what price is your limit, then don't go higher. It's easy to get carried away in pursuit of the next item. When buying online, read the description carefully. It's best to keep to small, light boxes The cost of postage can soon add up for heavier pieces.
The only disappointment I've had buying online was when a box inlaid with mother of pearl arrived. The sender had omitted to mention that he'd painted it in a thick varnish which had turned yellow. It looked fine in the advert's photograph. I'd known it was second-hand, but it was described as excellent condition. As it had been a very cheap purchase, I chalked it up to experience rather than pay return postage. Since then, I've only bought new on the net.
Let people know you collect small boxes. Friends and family will probably be glad to hear. It can make buying for birthdays and Christmas easier. One of my favourite ever presents from my sister was a selection of five wooden trinket boxes, each wrapped in tissue inside a gift bag. Heaven!
How can I display the collection?
Collecting wooden boxes gives great flexibility. They don't need to be locked away in a display cabinet. Most are fairly robust. If children come to visit, they are welcome to handle the items.
A number of my boxes are on top of an antique chest of drawers. The flat surface shows its age, with minor scratches and imperfections, which are hidden by the collection. I like the look of a good mix of boxes grouped together. It's easy to change them round as the mood takes me. The only slight drawback is, they do need dusting . However, that means I get to play with them!
You can choose to mix shapes and sizes, or have round boxes in one section, squares in another. It's fun to try different options, and simple to alter.
The boxes look good on a mantlepiece, or shelves, or windowsill. They don't necessarily take up much space. It can be nice to have some grouped together, some dotted about, so that you think, " Oh, there's another one."
It amuses me how many visitors stop and comment on the boxes, especially workmen, who say, " My wife would love these!" They spend the next five minutes having a good look.
Are small boxes useful?
Apart from the pleasure they bring with their differing designs, these little boxes can be very useful.
One sits beside my bed, it's the perfect size to hold a pack of tablets. My husband " borrowed" a box with a squirrel pattern on top, where he keeps loose change overnight. A miniature treasure chest on the kitchen windowsill is useful for storing rings while washing up.
Spare car keys are hidden in one of the group collection of boxes. Another holds a stash of five pence pieces, ready for the next lads game of poker. This started off in one of the smaller boxes, but has now transferred to a larger one. Drawing pins are held neatly together. Earrings that have lost their partner sit waiting to be reunited in another.
Plenty of the boxes are empty, they earn their keep just by being attractive.
A collection can grow from a deliberate decision. It may just happen over time. Large or small, a group of items which interest you can bring simple pleasure.