Consumer Reports: When you should hold on to boxes

With the closet and other storage space tight for many of us, it’s important to figure out what to keep, and what to toss — especially when it comes to boxes and packaging from electronics like a laptop, phone, or tablet.

We’re working for you with four ways to help you decide when to hold them and when to fold them.

Consumer Reports Deputy Tech Editor Chris Raymond has been buying electronics for decades.

“One of the first electronic items I remember buying is a clock radio with a cassette player built into it,” Raymond said.

Along with decades of tech came stacks of boxes – reminders of bygone gadgets.

“You can probably go into any room in the house and open a closet door or look in one of the corners and you’ll find a box tucked there for a laptop, or a speaker, or a telephone,” Raymond said.

So next time you make a tech purchase, should you save the box?

Consumer Reports said there are some times when it’s a no-brainer to hang on to a box, at least for a little while — like when there’s a chance you might return it.

Depending on where you bought it, you may not get a full refund without the original packaging. So it may be worth keeping during the 14 to 90-day return window, especially for expensive electronics.

Another time to hold onto the box?

“If it’s an item that you think that you might re-sell, people are much more likely to buy it when it’s in the box,” Raymond said.

Consumer Reports also said keeping the box while the manufacturer’s warranty is in effect might make it easier if you have to send an item back, though most will accept an item for repairs in any box.

Also a good idea: saving the box to store a device you may not use every day or to keep track of its extra parts like a battery or a cord.

“That helps you, one, go back and find them but it also helps you remember what that cord goes to, right,” Raymond said.

If none of these apply, Consumer Reports said feel free to get rid of that box.

To help you keep the boxes you’re storing from taking over your home, consider the one-to-one rule.

When you get a new device and need to keep the box, get rid of an old one.

About the Authors:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.

You can watch Brittny during the week anchoring the 5, 7 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10 and reporting on news that matters to you.