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    Here's When You Should (And Shouldn't) Get Rid Of Old Electronics Boxes

    Always label your boxes with the date you purchased the product, so you know when the item is no longer under warranty.

    If you've been following Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you might be a bit confused about what the heck you're supposed to do with all those electronics boxes you've collected over the years.

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    And honestly, same. Return policies and warranty information can be pretty vague as to what you do or don't need in order to qualify. Plus, the packaging for some items (I see you, Apple) is honestly so luxe, it can feel like a waste to just...throw it away.

    So, here are a few tips that will help you decide whether to keep, toss, or reuse your electronics packaging:

    1. Hold onto the box for a few weeks after purchasing, so you can return the item without any hassle if need be.

    Most major electronics distributors only honor returns within 14–90 days after purchase, so it can be useful to hold onto the box during that time. However, you don't always need the box to make a return. For example, Best Buy's director of public relations Paula Baldwin tells BuzzFeed that while holding onto the original product packaging can make a return easier, it's not necessarily required. Whether you changed your mind or want to exchange a damaged item, you can return the product within the return window without the packaging or accessories — though you may have a small fee deducted from your refund.

    Amazon's return policy states that it will provide a full refund within 30 days if the item arrived damaged or is still in an unopened box so there's no need to save the box! However, the policy does change from vendor to vendor so read the fine print before making a purchase.

    2. Keep the box if you think you may eventually trade the item in for a new one, because some distributors will give you a larger credit.

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    Best Buy, for example, will give you store credit in exchange for used electronics. Baldwin says that you can earn a larger credit for the product if you provide the original packaging, manuals, and accessories.

    3. Or keep them if you're likely to sell your gently used electronics online.

    Mihailomilovanovic / Getty Images

    Having the original packaging assures the buyer that you take care of your tech, so you can sometimes sell the product for a higher price. That being said, if the product is old or not in great shape, the box probably won't make a significant difference. Use your best judgment based on the quality of the item and the space you have in your home.

    4. And if you've bought a product from Apple, you should hold onto the packaging and included materials for 14 days, but can toss it after that.

    @ijb73 / Via Twitter: @ijb73

    You need the packaging and accessories to get a refund from Apple, even if you return the item within the 14-day window. They will, however, provide the packaging for warranty-related issues or trade-ins, so you don't need to keep the box after that time period.

    5. If you're planning on moving soon, save the boxes for any bulky or awkwardly shaped products.

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    If you're moving you should definitely hold onto the boxes for TVs, printers, speakers, small appliances, or anything else that may be difficult to pack and carry. It'll just make transit safer and easier!

    6. Before you even think about tossing a box, be sure to file away any instruction manuals, warranties, and receipts that may be inside it.

    Keeping all your manuals, warranties, and other electronics-related paperwork in a single expandable folder will make it so much easier to find what you're looking for if you need to make a return or request a refund. If you hate paper clutter, you can sometimes find the digital versions of the manuals and warranty information on the manufacturer's website, or you can scan the papers and save them to your Google Drive or a USB.

    Get one of these adorable expanding file folders from Amazon for $7.99.

    7. Label the box with the purchase date and return date so you know when you can throw it out.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    Martha Stewart recommends labeling each box so you know when it's time to throw the box away. If you want to keep the receipt with the box, it's a good idea to store it in something that will protect it from getting crumpled like an envelope or a plastic bag.

    8. Use the boxes that contained your phone or tablet for organizing and other upcycling projects.


    In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo writes that using shoeboxes or electronics boxes can work just as well as store-bought organizers.

    9. Get rid of big and bulky boxes, like the packaging for a massive TV.

    Highwaystarz-Photography / Getty Images

    While Kondo loves using small electronics boxes for organizing, she says that large appliance packaging is usually too bulky to be helpful. After a few days, you can go ahead and recycle the box because you most likely will not recycle the item. The distributor will usually honor your warranty even if you don't have the original packaging. That being said, it's always a good idea to either read the fine print or call the manufacturer for more information!

    You're doing great! Keep tidying!

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