"To be eligible for a refund you must return item in original box & packaging"

We have run out of space in our house, and have a lot of space taken up by stuff that says they need the original box and packaging to have it warrantied. Any suggestions with how to deal with this?
Here are a few examples:

  • Office chair box
  • 30" Dell LCD monitor box and styrofoam inserts
  • Stereo Receiver box
  • UPS Backup
  • tons more items

We’ve already consolidated boxes inside boxes as much as we can, and I looked into storage places, but even the cheap ones at $30-$40 per month, in a few years I will have lost any value in keeping that stuff in storage fees.

Gravel pit. Fireworks.

I don’t think I ever used a warranty in my life.

I’ve used warranties before. Generally, I only hold onto a box if it’s a high-dollar item, and then only for the first year or so – and we have tons of storage space. If you don’t have much storage space, consider tossing the boxes for lower-value items.

Aren’t most warranties only good for a year? Perhaps like Telefrog suggested, a culling of the heard is warranted. A box for an office chair? Seriously?

Refund and warranty are two different things. I had cracking on the rivets on my frying pan. It was replaced under warranty and I did not need the original packaging, only proof of purchase.

In many cases if you go to the manufacturer’s website they will have language to the effect of: “or comparable packaging.” Essentially they don’t want the item to get more damaged in transit. If I had to save the packaging for all of the hardware I go through I’d need a new home.

I must be an optimist because if I plug it in and it works I throw away the box.

I do save wine case boxes though just in case I have to move my daughter home from LA. So maybe I am not quite the optimist.


If the language is what you quoted as the subject for this thread, that isn’t relevant to warranty. I’d never pay for storage for a bunch of materials past the point where I know it is at least initial working (i.e., I won’t be returning for a refund).

If you’re a pack rat then I think the best option is to simply throw away the largest and oldest packaging material you have. This will free up space for you to accumulate more, meanwhile since it’s the oldest you won’t need it(if it hasn’t been sent back by now, it’s not going back).

I go by a different rule. I divide things into two categories, things I would be willing to send back and things I won’t send back no matter what happens. Assuming the object is not broken when I open it, some stuff simply isn’t worth the time or effort to send back. I’ll just do without or get another one. The packaging for those items gets tossed out immediately. The things that I’d be willing to send back get their packaging saved until the point where I realize “even if this broke now I’m not going to bother sending it back”, then it gets tossed.

For expensive stuff I usually keep the box for a week to a few months, depending on how big it is. After then I ditch it. Every once in a while I see some boxes back in the workroom and I clear them out. But I echo what people upstream said: if it’s warranty claims you’re worried about, proof of purchase is what you want. And the whole point of them saying “keep the box” is just to ensure you ship the item back properly.

Also, in 20 years, how many times have you actually had to ship items to someone for warranty service? If you’re like most of us, the answer would be “almost never” or “never.” So I would save proof of purchases (receipts, pictures of important box elements, etc) and hold on to boxes a little and ditch the rest.

Yeah, I have way too many boxes cluttering my basement now myself. Mostly placed there just in case, but now totally useless and would be broken down and thrown out if I wasn’t so lazy. Some day…

No solution here for storing boxes, but re the clutter, if you do wind up wanting to just give stuff away, try freecycle. I’ve had no problems giving anything away that way, and it’s pleasing to know the thing, whatever it is, is getting a good home.

The only time I worry at all about saving the original box / packaging is when I pick something up at my local Fry’s store - computer and network equipment and usually work related. I may pick something up on the chance that I’ll need it when I get to a client and if I find out it was superfluous or unwanted then I bring it straight back; often unopened. For stuff that I bring home for myself? Yeah, if I get it set up and it works then usually the box gets recycled pretty quickly. The more expensive the item is I may keep the original box for a few weeks but it’s always on my mind to get rid of it eventually since space is at such a premium.

Got a $200 big and tall computer chair from my parents for Christmas with a box the size of a small car. Terrified it’s going to collapse at any second, so that box is now sitting in my living room like some sort of grotesque table, as it doesn’t really fit anywhere else. Not like i could afford the shipping costs on this thing if it did break.

This may be a silly question, but why not just slit the tape or undo the flaps keeping it in a box shape, fold it flat, and stick it in the back of a closet?

Can’t fold styrofoam inserts.

I think we need some pictures so we can accurately help you out here.

Throw those out and go buy styrofoam peanuts in the unlikely chance you need them.

Or just throw all the boxes out because seriously.

In modern years it’s usually wise to hang onto the box for at least a month just in case you have a dud and need to return it to the store. Otherwise hanging onto the box makes sense if you intend sell the product on Amazon or Ebay later; Apple products for example seem to have increased appeal by hanging on to the original packaging. Also places like Best Buy now have a refund-for-any-reason policy for 2-4 weeks depending on the product, but contingent on you keeping the box. Hanging on to that 60" TV box for three years? Yea, that’s a bit much.

When the PS3 stopped functioning out a couple of years ago Sony sent a box with custom fit styrofoam to pack and ship it in, but that’s unusual.

The only reason you’d want to hang on to the UPS box is if you want to make a claim against both it and the products plugged into it. More than likely you’ll be buying an aftermarket battery than claiming on it. And honestly, it’s like, what 70$? That’s not warranty territory to my mind after more than a few weeks. Office chair box? Throw it away. They don’t expect you to keep the box.

Outside of the chair, most of it is electronics… and I’ve had such trouble with some companies being horrendous about warrantying their products, it made me scared to toss them out. I’d thought about taking a picture of the boxes & sticker codes to include in the event I need to ship it back for a replacement or warranty work. Since I’ve been buying most of my stuff via Amazon I’ve accumulated a lot of material. Thanks for the idea on just getting packing peanuts (if necessary) instead of keeping the actual styrofoam inserts. That’s about 3’x5’ of space right there alone.

Our aquarium piping burst spreading 65 gallons of nasty fish water through our house, ruining floors upstairs and downstairs. Had to live at parents for 2 weeks while cleanup went on and we just moved back in. So we’re being forced to go through everything in the house now.