Thursday, April 28, 2016

Getting a handle on boxes

Some boxes and bags are easier to carry than others.  In particular, it's a lot easier to carry a box or basket that has handles than something without handles.

Handles have several great features.  The most obvious is that there's something easy to grab with your hand, providing of course you have hands.  (Miser Dog is totally jealous of you there).

But there are more subtle advantages, too:  if you carry a box from the bottom, then the center of mass of the box is above your hands, so you not only have to carry the box; you also have to balance it.  Carrying a box with handles means the weight is below your hands -- so you do less work balancing, and you don't have to worry about spillage as much.  (I'm think of my young kids carrying boxes of legos across toy-infested living rooms as I write this: handles saved us many a catastrophe!  Likewise, when carrying a glass of water, you spill less when you hold the glass near the top than near the bottom.)

And finally, when you have something too heavy to lift easily (like the trunk above, filled with wooden train tracks), a handle makes the box easier to drag behind you.  Meaning, not only "dragging" (which is physically easier than pushing), but also "behind you" (meaning you're in front to spot obstacles, like your brothers' finger or the cup of coffee someone left on the floor.

Which is why I'll just say that I love cutting holes in boxes.  If you care to try this yourself, I find a hole about 4 inches wide and one inch high works well.  I use a combination of exacto knives and scissors to create the sides and bottoms of the hole.

On the inside of the box, I like to score the cardboard gently along the top of the hole so that nothing falls off, but the cut creates a flap that folds out.  That makes the handle a bit fatter, so more comfortable on the hands.

This particular handle is about midway down the box, so that the lid still fits on top.  Now if I have books or clothes or bulky objects, it's easier for me and my family to carry the box around.

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