The packaging that all of your fancy toys came in is no longer just packaging—it’s a part of the product, and many argue that keeping boxes and other packaging can help you sell the item in the future. But is it absolutely necessary to keep all of your tech product boxes?

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It depends on a number of different factors, including what the item is, how old it is, how much it’s worth, and whether or not you care about the resale value in the first place.

When You Should Keep the Boxes

Keeping product boxes for your various tech gadgets can not only help with the resale value, but there are other benefits as well, namely if the item is still within its return period.

Most return periods are anywhere from 14-90 days, and if there’s even the slightest inkling that you might return the item within that time window, you’ll want to keep the box and any paperwork that came with it. Most stores require that you include everything that came with the item when you return it, including the box, so be sure to check the store’s return policy before throwing everything away.

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You should also keep the box for anything that’s relatively high in value, like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. When you go to sell it in the future, your item will look more enticing to potential buyers, and they’ll be more likely to pay more for it compared to a similar product that doesn’t include the box and manuals.

Even if you don’t care about the resale value, keeping the box for your tech gadgets can be beneficial in other ways, like if you plan to move in the near future. Some boxes can be great for transporting your gadgets without damaging them. Heck, you could even use those boxes for packing miscellaneous items away for storage—iMac boxes make for great moving boxes in general, because they’re large and come with a convenient carrying handle.

When it comes time to return or sell your items, re-packing the box can sometimes be difficult—we recommend watching unboxing videos of that product on YouTube to see how everything originally fit into the box.

When You Don’t Need to Keep the Boxes

While there are a lot of good reasons to keep your product boxes around, you probably don’t need to it for all of your tech gadgets.

Namely, older tech products that aren’t worth a whole lot today probably won’t benefit too much from having its accompanying box. When most buyers are looking for a bargain on an old tech gadget, they usually don’t care about the packaging. Granted, a vintage item (like an original Macintosh) would benefit greatly if it still had its box, but stuff that’s in that between stage likely won’t benefit.

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Furthermore, you don’t really need to keep the boxes for new but cheap products. The packaging for those $50 headphones that you bought probably isn’t going to make a huge difference with the resale value, and it may only be a few dollars difference at most.

Larger product boxes are also really not worth keeping around, unless of course the box itself can be beneficial in other ways (like as a moving box). More often than not, though, they just take up a lot of unnecessary space. TV boxes are the worst, in my opinion—you can’t really reuse them for other purposes and they can be a pain to squeeze into a storage closet.

In the End, It Never Hurts to Keep the Boxes

After it’s all said and done, if you have room to store a product box, it never hurts to keep it. Besides, in a couple years, you can go through your empty product boxes and throw any out that you really don’t need anymore. This is a good habit to form anyway, even if you’re a big proponent of keeping all of your gadget boxes.

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On the other hand, don’t sweat it too much if you go to resell your old laptop and discover that you no longer have the box for it. It might decrease the resale value ever so slightly, but as long as your eBay or Craiglist listing is a good one, you shouldn’t have a problem selling it for the amount you want.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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