Unless you’re really into making forts, boxes and other packaging for appliances and electronics can become a clutter nightmare. Not only are they big and bulky, but getting rid of them is not exactly at the top of the fun-things-to-do-on-a-Friday-night list. How long to keep product packaging can be a challenging question, especially for high-priced items like TVs, computers and cameras. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide what to keep, what to toss and how to store the packaging you may need in the future. Castles and forts are optional.
How Long to Keep Product Packaging
A good rule of thumb for electronics is to keep the packaging for the life of the warranty. If storage is an issue, (of course it is for a big screen TV box), break down the boxes at the seams, and fold them for easier storing. They can always be taped back together. Just be sure to keep the flat part of the box in tact as much as possible. Flattening boxes allows for more storage options, such as garage rafters, under a bed or behind a dresser.
For electronics that are frequently upgraded, like smartphones, it’s a good idea to keep all of the packaging completely in tact. This will improve the resale value of your new iPhone that’s already out-of-date.
For smaller, inexpensive electronics, with no warranty, keep the packaging for a few days. Once you know you’re definitely not returning the Pokemon stopwatch (sure, it’s your son’s), go ahead and pitch the package.
For the electronics still under warranty, be sure to take a photo of how everything was packaged. This will help you tremendously, if you need to repackage and return.
If you have a toaster box anywhere in your house right now, and you haven’t purchased a toaster in the last 7 days, you need to call us immediately. This is clutter at its finest. Boxes for small appliances are ok to ditch after you’ve tested the product and know you’re keeping it. Unlike stereo equipment and HDTVs, not having the box for a coffee pot doesn’t really impact the resale value. And in case you’re wondering…shoe boxes are in this category, too.
Even if you’re getting rid of the bulky boxes, it’s a good idea to hang on to the manuals. Before you do, see if they exist online. Many companies are moving toward this, and you can even find some online manuals for older models of products.
Designate a drawer or binder for the manuals you have to keep. Having all of your product manuals in one binder = happiness.
Speaking of shoes, there’s really no reason to keep the tags of an item once you’ve worn it. Have you heard of that thing called a fitting room? They’re magical. They allow you to try the product before you buy it! Genius. If you order something online, just keep the tags on while you try it on. It’s like having a fitting room in the comfort of your own home. You can even sing, dance (twerk, if that’s your style) in your new threads, without the risk of being seen. It’s all about dignity.
One more thing on clothing… Most good quality brands will take an item back (even after being exposed to aforementioned twerking) if there’s a flaw or you’re simply not satisfied. Be familiar with the return policy at your favorite shops, and everything will be ok. I promise.
Knowing what to keep and what to get rid of is one of the biggest organizational struggles faced by anyone looking to can the clutter in their lives. If I can leave you with one last piece of advice about product packaging, it’s this: Make sure you buy the right size bed sheets. You’re never getting that fitted sheet folded back in the package again.