Will Dive for Boxes and Work for Pizza

Friends will help you move. Good friends will bring pickups to help you move. Really good friends will go dumpster-diving for boxes to help you move.

One of my friends just sold her house out in the country and bought a house in town. The rest of us knew what this meant—it was time to show up and help. Several of us in this group have been friends long enough to have helped each other move more than once. By now, we know just how it’s done.

We’re all getting a little older, however. Since maturity brings wisdom—not to mention an increase in back problems and a decrease in the need to impress anyone with feats of strength—we know our own limits. We tend not to volunteer any more for projects like moving upright oak pianos or hauling sleeper sofas up out of basements.

Even with movers to do the heavy things, though, moving is still a lot of work. There’s all the smaller stuff—dishes, clothes, lighter furniture, books (hanging out with intelligent people means you get to help move a lot of books), plants (this particular friend has lots and lots of plants), and all the miscellaneous stuff that you realize, come moving day, that you should probably have gotten rid of decades ago.

In order to pack all that stuff, of course, you need boxes. It’s not so easy to get those from stores any more. Most of their boxes are flattened and fed into the compactor for recycling faster than you can say, “Um, I’m moving, and could I get a few boxes?”

Hence the dumpster diving. The city has big recycling bins at a nearby park, including one for cardboard. It’s a great place to get rid of boxes, and it’s an even better place to get boxes. Recycling is recycling, after all.

So another friend and I went in search of boxes. We flopped open a couple of the heavy steel doors that line both sides of the bin and started hauling out boxes. Once we had all the good-sized ones we could reach, we still didn’t have enough. There were more, in perfect sizes, flattened and stacked on the floor of the bin, but they were just out of reach.

What if one of us climbed inside? Getting in wouldn’t be so bad, but getting out might be a problem. Okay, what if one of us balanced on the edge of the door and leaned waaay inside, and the other one held onto her feet? Well, maybe not.

What we really needed was a tool. And we found the perfect one in my car, a sturdy piece of plastic about two feet long that was just right to drag the boxes close enough so we could grab them. Which just goes to show that people who say there’s no need to have your ice scraper/snow brush in your car in July don’t know what they’re talking about.

On moving day, eight or nine people showed up with one big truck and four pickups. We descended on the house like a colony of box-toting ants, and in a surprisingly short time everything was loaded, hauled, and unloaded at the new house.

We all sat around amid the stacks of boxes in the proud homeowner’s new living room and munched our way through three or four pizzas. Then we headed home, feeling good about having helped and feeling even better that it wasn’t our job to unpack and put away all that stuff.

At least, once she’s done, she knows just where to recycle all those empty boxes.

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