You don't want to pay for 'em at a box place, either, 'cos that's highway robbery, damnit.
So out you go, skulking through grocery stores, hardware stores, art supply stores, liquor stores--anything that may possibly have boxes. You become adept at approaching total strangers to ask if they have boxes. You scurry home with prizes that reek of apples or sunkist oranges or Budweiser.
The corollary to this, of course, is the sense of triumph when you find a really good box. A BIG box. The sort of box one could put an appliance in, say. Or an odd shaped box, one of the tall, sturdy, narrow ones that will fit a lamp or a sword collection or any of the awkwardly shaped dross that populates our lives, or one of the long, low ones that can fit an entire barong mask collection, or--a real score--the big, flat matboard boxes that precisely fit the large canvas-and-masonite collection that leans against my studio wall and which is terribly vulnerable to stray furniture corners and careless feet.
Trying to explain this sense of glee makes you sound completely nuts, but what the hell.
James admits that I outdid myself this time. Our apartment looks like the ancient and sacred box burial ground. I have gotten lucky and hit hardware stores right when shipments came in, resulting in some fabulous finds. I gloat. I pat the boxes when no one's looking. I know that I don't have enough to move us completely, but I've managed to get my library packed at least, and I need to use some of these before I go get more, just to clear up space, if nothing else. I am aglow with the warm fuzzy feeling of a hunt gone well. And there was much rejoicing.