When Should You Toss Your Gadget Boxes?

When Should You Toss Your Gadget Boxes?

Phones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other gadgets all come with boxes that many of us keep around for years “just in case”. Here are four questions to ask yourself when deciding what to keep and what to toss.

Apartment Therapy postulates that we must ask ourselves four questions for each of our tech boxes:

  1. Do you plan to re-sell the item? If so having the original box will usually score you a higher price.
  2. Will you be moving soon? Some items like big-screen TVs are much easier to move when you have the original box.
  3. How much space does the box take up? If you’re in a tiny apartment it might not be worth holding onto that 52-inch TV box even if you’re planning on moving a few years.
  4. Can you repurpose the box? Many gadget boxes are made of higher quality than normal cardboard and can be converted into other items.

If the box doesn’t meet any of these criteria feel free to recycle it!

When to Toss Your Tech Boxes [Apartment Therapy]


  • main concern is warranty returns.
    I was told years ago that not having the box seriosly impacts resale value and that not having the box is nearly as bad as doing something to void the warranty although I don’t know where the law stand on boxes.
    I recently returned a malfuntioning 30″ Samsung monitor after two years of normal operation as it was still under warranty and it was fixed and returned. The company which handled the return would have supplied a box but I had the original box.
    Generally I keep the box until I’m satisfied that the device works as normal, say a couple of months.

      • Correct. But you may need it for an ‘Early Life Failure’ claim. Your statutory rights entitle you to a warranty assessment and/or repair/replacement/refund within a reasonable time frame, which for example with phones is usually approximately 2 weeks. However if you have the original packaging, paperwork and accessories most manufacturers or suppliers offer an early life failure program, which will allow you to receive your refund/replacement instantly, or at a significantly shorter turn-around.

    • the only difference having the box makes for warranty/returns is getting past the store clerk when you bring it in, wether they are trained in just dont know better 9 times out of 10 they will say you need the box in hopes you go away, you certainly dont need it and an argument on the point or a manager mention will always fix the clerk right up

  • For T.V.s, if something is going to malfunction, it probably will within the first 72 hours. I like to keep a big, rectangular box for all of my spare cables, of which I have many.

  • I’ve found that for many smaller items which are used only intermittently (such as GPS, cameras, car battery charger), it’s easiest to store them in their box. Then they are easy to keep on a shelf and to stack and the box is clearly labelled.

    • +1 on that. Then I can keep all the accessories, receipts and books for that Item all in the same spot.
      There is a point though… eg, I’m never going to sell on my electric shaver – so the books for that go in a ziplock bag together with sets for other non-sellable stuff.

  • I generally keep all my boxes, mainly for reselling. I don’t know that it gets you a better price but it certainly makes it easier to sell on places like Gumtree or eBay.

  • The best thing to do is horde all your boxes and then make a fort out of them when you have enough. Then you and your cat/dog and defend the fort from annoying relatives and Mormons visiting you.

  • Please look at your state better business/fair trading site or call to confirm your rights and responsiblities as a consumer. You have a lot more power to demand function and fitness for purpose than you may have previously realised.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!