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Do I need to keep the boxes & packaging?

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A big question always is…Do you need to keep all the boxes and packaging that products, appliances, toys, and electronics come in?

Before you rip into all those tempting presents under the tree, I thought I’d share a few reminders that will help minimize the madness of all the extra stuff that’s brought into the house this time of year.


  • If it has batteries or plugs in: keep the box for 45-90 days because that’s the return policy window. You want to be sure the product works before you dump the packaging.
  • If it’s an expensive electronic or collectable item: keep the box if you plan to re-sell it or trade it in, in the near future (2-3 years). The box will help with the re-sale value. But if you aren’t in the business of trading in electronics frequently, you don’t need to keep it longer than the return/warranty window.
  • If it’s under warranty: many stores do not require the packaging in order to exchange an item under warranty, but some do. Ask the store or look online to confirm. But once the warranty has run out, be sure to get rid of the box.
  • If it comes with extra cords or parts: you don’t need a huge box just to keep a few cords or extra screws. If you get rid of the box, keep the extra components in a labeled ziploc bag. Store the bag in a place that makes the most sense. For example, if it’s screws for a new table, tape them under the table out of site. If it’s a USB cord, keep it in the bin with all your other electrical cords (remember to label it!). If it’s extra buttons from a new shirt, keep it with your sewing items. If it’s miscellaneous screws, keep it with your tools. Make sense?
  • If it has a manual: pull the manual out and keep it in a file drawer or magazine holder in your office. (labeled for manuals of course!) Most manuals can be found online these days so you may not even need to keep it once the item is set up /assembled.

If there are boxes you decide you need to keep or you are a box hoarder (I confess I used to be one! And it’s still hard to get rid of them sometimes.), pretty please, at least break down the boxes and store them flat. There is no reason to keep a TV box fully assembled. It takes up so much room and it’s hard to store anywhere without being cumbersome and cluttered.

If you keep boxes or manuals, be sure to purge through them every year to get rid of the ones you no longer need. I would bet there are boxes and manuals in your house that you no longer even own the product…I’m guilty of that!

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a package-free new year!


posted December 24, 2014

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