Friday, 19 April 2013

Box of Boxes

So I have a bit of a thing for small containers. I’ve been hanging on to various tins and tubes for a long time now. Always in the back of my head is that it will come in handy for something. And it invariably always does. Kits of various kinds, storing ingredients on trips, small parts for various DIY projects, etc., etc.

I had the box out looking for one and thought I would photograph the whole shebang for gits and shiggles. Lots of boxes nestled in larger boxes, so I thought I would go to the trouble to take everything out and apart to make a record of it. Unbox the box of boxes.

This all seems perfectly reasonable to me, although I suspect some might think I have a problem. Oh well. I just like little containers. What can I say.

Two M258A1 decontamination boxes. Like the secure lid on these a lot.
Inside the one I have two Olfa blade boxes and Spark-Lite box.
Bottle from an unremembered vitamin/supplement brand. I particularly like squarish containers. Just a better use of space.
The box underneath the bottle in the above picture opened up.
Everything inside it. 
Tin filled with tubes.
Tubes stored in tubes. The ones with the black screw tops are from the wonderful Lee Valley.
More tubes.
Tubeage. The one fourth from left, at the back is a bottle blank, or a preform. For those not in the know, a bottling plant gets these in, they’re placed in a bottle form, heated air is blown into them, and they assume the shape of a larger bottle for flavoured, coloured, carbonated high fructose corn syrup laden water to be poured into.  Much cheaper for smaller forms like this to be shipped (many more can be carried in a truck this way), than inflated bottles in boxes. But they make for virtually unbreakable, virtually waterproof container. And they come in numerous sizes.

The little red cardboard tube at the front is what tattoo needles come in. Not sure there are all that many that still solder them onto bars themselves, but if they do or did, that is the container that contained them.
Another bottle blank on the left at the back. About twice the size of the other one. Some kind of god-awful gino clubber energy drink comes in it. I bought it just for the tube and poured the drink out.
A few Witz cases.
Another case I quite like are those sliding kidney shaped ones on the left. The blue tube in the centre is another one I used for carrying a firestarter kit in. The lanyard hole at the top is what made it a choice for that role. Just as much as I like squarish containers for the fact that they fill space better, I think stuff use in the outdoors is improved markedly by having a lanyard hole. The square black one on the front right was what I carried floppy discs in my backpack for many years, many years ago.
A cigar case that my dad used to store bits and bobs in.
And what that cigar box contained.
Another old cigar box of my dads, and some more of the Lee Valley storage tubes.
Among the more useful items in here. Small bottles and dropper bottles. Some of the bottles are food grade Nalgene bottles, that I’ve used on trips to hold evaporated milk, a shot or two of SMS, etc. The dropper bottles I use for toiletries and such.
Two different sizes of Olfa blade containers. The square Nalgene bottle beside them was housed in one of the two M258A1 decontamination boxes above. The blue container is what some sort of migraine medicine came in. A friend who suffers from them and knows of my fondness for little boxes saved them for me. The white container is a box for slides. The ivory coloured one is an old cigarette box I believe.
Metal cookie tin...
 ....full of metal tins.
That Body Shop hemp body butter was pretty nice, and I liked the screw top tin enough to keep it
Those small Altoids tins I have used both to carry matches and also as candle tins. The Adobe PDF tin (I have two of them) were a giveaway at a printing tradeshow many years ago.
Fun bit of trivia about that Panter Mignon tin in the center: there is a scene in The Day of the Jackal where he has scoped out an apartment that he plans to fire from, and he sneaks an impression of the key, by opening a Panter Mignon tin filled with plasticene and pressing it in. 
Those Nelson and Paula Abdul tins date from 91. Another gift from someone aware of my tiny tin predilection. I think I’ll throw them up on Ebay. Someone out there might give me some money for them. Those metal Aspirin and Anacin tins are another one I used to carry matches in. The plastic ones they replaced them with are not nearly as nice. 
Those last two are old. The Gauztex has a date of 1939, and I have no idea how old that Marmite tin is. Something else I’ll probably sell on Ebay.
Once so plentiful, now becoming scarcer all the time - 35mm film canisters. The grey topped ones, second and third from the left at the back, and the black topped one just below it were always among my favourites because the lid was so secure. The metal bodied one on the right was also a good one. The oval Avantix ones fourth and fifth from the left at the back had a good shape, but the lid comes off too easily.

I have a friend whose father was a professional photographer and he had loads of Kodak metal, screw topped 35 mm film canisters, in different coloured bodies and lids. They were the standard in the 50s and 60s. He gave them away to friends and his supply dwindled to the point that he now only has two left. He’s kicking himself now for not hanging on to more of them.

A few glasses bags and some of the Indian draw cord closure bags. I’m sure they have a proper name, but I don’t know it. Pulling on one set of strings closes it, pulling on the other set of strings opens it.

So there you have it. A tour through a slightly dorky collecting habit of mine.


  1. Wow! I thought I had a problem. Now I know that I clearly do not!

    Maybe I need to get some more folks together for some sort of intervention?

    1. Let’s see....where's my “hey, I’m looking for a tin so big by this big by yay big. Would you have something like that I could have?” Oh there is Mr. Clerk....and he is stricken from the list for hurting my feelings!


  2. Most of the posts on most of the blogs that I follow I simply scan. This one I read in it's entirety, from first to last, and completely enjoyed every second of it.

    I have no idea if that says more about you or I. Either way...

    All the best,


    1. Gosh, thanks.

      I think it says that we're both witty and wise. That's what I like to tell myself anyway.