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A shelf above will protect boxes on the shelf to some extent, as long as they are recessed from both the front and back of the shelves enough that the water won’t drip on them. The back is particularly important, since people don’t think of checking the back immediately.
Cabinets work well for objects, but are problematic for paper, since it’s so absorbent. If water does get into the cabinets (think fire hoses and floods), it may be impossible to open them after items swell. With boxes, a matte knife is all you need.
Just as an anecdote, not a rule, I had a water leak onto a shelf of uncoated boxes for hours. The boxes absorbed the water, with a tide lone of about 3″, but nothing inside got more than damp. I’d look at any research on them before investing in them for water damage. It might be better to spend the money on some other protection.
Of course, if you have a big budget, go for it!