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Organised Chaos

I love boxes - of all shapes and sizes. From vintage matchboxes, to ugly plastic storage boxes, to ticking boxes! There is a certain satisfaction in those four or more sides, the way they hold, contain and keep. My fondness boxes started at a young age when I had my first mini baby bean doll in a matchbox (Google them for pure 70's nostalgia!) and this grew into a love of containing things in small spaces - snails, jewellery, pressed flowers.

As I grew up, organising objects into boxes brought about a calm and order to my life. I kept most of my treasured possessions in boxes: stationary, magazines, make up and keep sakes. If I was bored as a teenager, I would empty a box or two, clean it out, rearrange it and feel happy knowing everything was in place, nestled together and safe.

When I got married and bought our first house - a very old Victorian Welsh terrace - the loft access was the size of a postage stamp. I can remember buying many plastic boxes to fit through the gap, until it was made bigger a few years later. When we came to move house 11 years later, I had contained our belongings in that attic into no less than 45 boxes and I might add here, I am not a hoarder!

So, what is it about boxes? Why the love, satisfaction and need for them in my life? Well it all comes down to control, order and safety. My childhood, at times, was uncertain and unpredictable. I learned that by containing my 'things', I could contain myself - my feelings, fears and emotions. It was a coping mechanism that served me well and protected me. It brought order out of chaos, and enabled me to function. Just as I would retreat into my imagination or with a good book, I could live in a safe space in these boxes.

When I first thought of this, it appeared to be a negative. But in fact, it was a natural way for me to understand my world and live with some sense of peace and stability. It has made me a more organised adult and I now enjoy the relaxation I feel when a cupboard or drawer in our house is sorted and arranged. In fact, when we were recently told of another local lockdown in our county, I immediately felt the urge to contain and bri