I’m somewhat loathe to praise Craigslist, as it has just about killed newspaper classified ads, aiding in what often feels like the slow death of the newspaper industry. As a fervent believer in papers at their best – skeptical, independent, fearless, delving, engrossing – and as someone who earns a living (such as it is) working at a paper, I hardly want or need to promote the popular site. Nonetheless, this month I’ve been grateful to Craigslist, specifically the Free Stuff category, which you can find under the broader header of For Sale. I moved last month – quickly and unexpectedly. I had to call in movers, who packed up my (too much) stuff in box after box after new box. The number of trees perhaps felled for my move felt almost criminal. So as I have unpacked and broken down the boxes, I’ve been posting them on Craigslist. And the small forest of wrapping paper, too, which protected (sort of) my great aunt’s fragile china, a delicate vase from a potter friend, a vintage Sunkist citrus juicer and so much more.

New boxes are expensive. When you’re moving, everything is expensive, so while I wasn’t surprised to get more than 30 responses to my Craigslist offer, I was delighted. Especially by the gal who took a big stash and promised to pay it forward – to list the boxes on Craigslist again once she was settled in her new home. After the movers finished a grueling morning of loading and unloading, they mentioned they would pick up the boxes themselves if I called. What will you do with them, I asked. If they’re in good condition and if other clients are willing, we’ll reuse them, the movers said (though any time I’ve ever moved and asked for used boxes, I’ve been told they’re unavailable). Or they’ll be recycled, the moving company said. Recycling is good. Reusing is better. Here’s to hoping my boxes have a long, useful and peripatetic life. Thank you for facilitating, Craigslist.