What are Cardboard Storage Boxes?

Matthew F.

Cardboard storage boxes are one of the most popular packaging materials in the world. Often used for storing, packing, or moving, these boxes are made of heavy paper and corrugated cardboard. They are mass-produced by companies worldwide, and are used by almost every retailer in the world to ship or store products. They are commonly recycled as storage boxes, and can be used for a variety of purposes. They are popular as a place to store junk in a basement or closet; to carry a box of favorites while moving; or for a number of other uses.

An cardboard storage box.
An cardboard storage box.

Made of a paper-based construction material, cardboard storage boxes consist of two heavy paper liners. These liners surrounded a third corrugated sheet for a sturdy, three-layered, paper pulp thickness. Though they can come in gray or white, the most common color for cardboard storage boxes is brown. They are usually referred to as “boxes,” but these cardboard containers come in many other different shapes, most commonly rectangle or cylinder.

Cardboard boxes may be used for packaging materials for mailing.
Cardboard boxes may be used for packaging materials for mailing.

The cardboard storage box in the shape of a rectangle is made with six sides, with one long sheet attached to four flaps at both the top and the bottom. The flaps can be folded upward or downward to construct the box. To close the box, the flaps are most often taped together. Without tape or heavy-duty staples, a cardboard box can be closed by folding the flaps over one another, so only one can be dislodged at a time.

Cardboard storage boxes are convenient when moving.
Cardboard storage boxes are convenient when moving.

Cardboard boxes are the packing material most often used for deliveries and large or bulky postal mail. They are always taped, and, depending on the product, can be lined on the inside with protective bubble-plastic or with small foam pieces. Many companies will imprint logos or shipping stickers on cardboard storage boxes. Others still will write directions or labels on the boxes, such as “Thanksgiving decorations” or “Do not cut” or “Fragile.”

Cardboard storage boxes do have many other practical uses as well. Popular in the 1980s with the emergence of rap music, cardboard boxes were, and still are, used for breakdancing. By placing the flattened box on the ground, the dancer was allowed a more danceable platform, and a protection from the roughness of the pavement against their clothes or body. Cardboard storage boxes are also commonly seen in car garages or car repair shops. They can be a handy tool to collect oil and other deposits that might drip from the bottom of an automobile.

The flaps of cardboard boxes are usually sealed with packaging tape.
The flaps of cardboard boxes are usually sealed with packaging tape.

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Discussion Comments


I use cardboard file storage boxes to file my debit card receipts. This is much easier than using an expandable file folder, which can be very awkward.

I have a file folder for every month in that box. I have little month labels on the tab of each folder, so it is easy to thumb through and find what I need.

I keep the box on a shelf at nearly eye level, so it is easy to pull out. The cardboard is sturdy, so I don't have to worry about it collapsing and destroying my filing system.


My dad used to give me some of his old cardboard storage boxes when he was done with them. He ordered a lot of electronic parts online, so he had plenty of shipping boxes to spare.

I used to love sitting on the ground in our yard, but often, the soil was slightly damp, even on a sunny day. My dad would cut a couple of side flaps off a cardboard box and give me the largest piece to put on the ground and use as a sort of blanket.

Of course, if the ground was soaked, I couldn't do this, because the water would soak the cardboard, too. However, it worked great for days when the ground was only slightly moist.


@Oceana – I would much rather use tape than try to fold the box shut. I think you will prefer it, too, once you get the hang of it.

The thing that has helped me the most is a tape dispenser and cutter. You put the roll of sticky tape on the dispenser, and you place one end of the tape on the box. Then, you roll it out, using the handle on the dispenser.

When you get to the other side, turn the dispenser at a downward angle and press the cutter against the tape. The teeth are very sharp, so you should have no trouble cutting it.

The best thing about using a dispenser to help you tape a cardboard box is that you never get your hands tangled up in the tape. I used to have that problem, before I discovered the neat little tool.


Does anyone else here become really frustrated when trying to fold a cardboard storage box shut? Those flaps really start to fight me, once I have a couple of them folded under!

I know exactly how to do it, but that doesn't make it any easier. One side is always popping back out while I'm trying to secure the other one.

I think I am going to switch to using clear plastic tape. I have been putting it off, because that tape is super sticky and hard to manage. However, I think that it will be easier than struggling with the stubborn flaps!

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