Are you really still keeping these?

  I was so happy to see this question come up last week in my Washington Post Home Chat.

It brings up an issue that many of you have - what to do with those unsightly, bulky equipment boxes? If you've been looking for a sign to get rid of them, this is it:  



Q. Like many people, I don't know which cardboard boxes to keep. Every piece of technology, from laptops to Verizon cable boxes, arrives at my house in a box sized perfectly for it. Do I keep these boxes in my office (and if so, how do I do it nicely?)? Or should I throw these out and hope I never need to mail something back to a manufacturer (like if it breaks)?

A. KACY PAIDE : Ha! People seem to have strong opinions on keeping their beloved cardboard equipment boxes. Again, you have to weigh your pros and cons. If you have a huge basement, then you could talk me into letting you keep them. If they are taking up precious real estate in a storage closet or a space out in the open, then you have to be more discriminating. Do you know anyone who has rejoiced in the fact that they still had their printer box? I almost always have people throw them out. I don't know one person who has regretted it. It's really a peace-of-mind thing more than anything - and one that isn't worth the space it occupies. Recycling these boxes is one of the quickest ways I know of instantly buying you more space.

7 Day Office Challenge

How much square footage of your little corner of the world is being hijacked by old boxes for equipment you no longer have? Actually, how much space is wasted on boxes for equipment that you DO still have? I've worked in hundreds of offices and I have never EVER not once met someone who regretted throwing away box for their TV, computer, printer, GPS, etc. Here's one for ya, I even tossed the pretty white box for my MacBook Pro a few weeks after buying my computer. Why? If there's a problem with it, it's not going to require me to box it up and ship it back. That's the case with 99% of your purchases. Also, 99% of the time, the things we buy work just fine. Planning for that 1% is never worth the space it takes up. This week - find your stash, bring out the box cutter, and free yourself!

119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.