Original boxes. Why?

There is a discussion on Elektronauts titled When did having the original box become a thing?, started by hyperstationjr in early 2020. The question has haunted me since i saw it a couple of months ago.

:thinking::thought_balloon: “Surely, surely having original boxes is not a thing. How could it, it’s utterly ridiculous!”

*Looks around


When i bought that Digitone, the seller apologized (at least singly, maybe doubly ironically) that they only had one of two of those molded packaging things inside which hug the device while it's in there. The egg carton, needless to say, works perfectly well for the purpose.

What’s your take? When, why, why not, when not &c


I’ve come to realise that some peoples hobby is buying and selling gear (just as reading and buying books are two separate hobbies - both of which I indulge in :slight_smile: ) - for those people “rack rash” and “original boxes” are part of the experience

For other people who just want a new bit of gear to do this that and the other - the people who are sheepishly selling gear with a few blemishes or no original box are the ones to seek out!

(not knocking people who buy and sell gear as a hobby BTW - & I assume that that hobby is in addition to making music with said gear most of the time)


This is a good point, the churning of gear (something of which I have wasted a lot of time indulging in) can become quite an all-encompassing experience in and of itself.

For me, I suppose the “unboxing” of a new (insert object) can be a satisfying part of the whole consumerist conceit. Attention paid in this area adds a little extra. A well designed box, a nicely printed manual, these things are just pleasing.

This is not to say it’s necessary - not at all. But if I were deciding between purchasing one of two equally priced used items and only one included the original boxes I’d likely go with that one.

Also having had items damaged in transit, the original box and packaging adds a extra little confidence that the item will arrive in one piece.


I must admit that the main reason I keep original boxes is that someone else has already solved some of the shipping issues for me :wink: - that said I’ve bought a few bits and pieces recently and ironically the more “industrially” packed have been the ones without original boxes - I guess the lack of the box meant the packer went above and beyond!


Yeah, packing and shipping for resale is the main one for me, but also, packing in case of moving homes/studios. The original packing is usually designed to ship the thing, so it seems that would be the best way to protect it when moving it again.

Lately it feels like buying and having something in the studio for a while is the best way for me to figure out if the new thing will stick. If it doesn’t, then suddenly buying and reselling is part of my hobbies :wink:


@manfromuncool Coming in here like “I feel attacked” :wink:


ha ha - I think it is good to recognise these separate hobbies. It was quite a revelation to me that buying and reading books are two hobbies. It certainly makes me feel less guilty about buying “nice” editions of things or duplicate copies. And as noted above - there is a whole load of “consumer” pleasure to be had in buying and selling, getting a good deal, unpacking new things etc and a lot of the transactions I’ve had buying and selling gear have been really positive interactions with other people which goodness knows in these crappy times are a much needed boost to my view of other people


I do a lot of buying and selling. It’s not much of a hobby (i strongly dislike it, really - at least the selling part), but more so my way of trying out a lot of things and seeing what sticks with me and inspires me. I have made the experience that it is a whole lot easier to sell things when you still have the original packaging. Doesn’t seem to be as important on forums, but on sites like Reverb, it seems to make a big difference. That’s why I have a collection of boxes lying around somewhere. I get rid of the box once I am sure that I won’t ever sell the thing that was packaged inside. Kind of like a rite of welcoming it to my home :slight_smile:


I agree with everything above. I also think having the original packaging can denote to potential purchasers a degree of care for the product by the current owner.
Also makes them easier to flip on to the next buyer.


I try to keep boxes, especially for high value items, to make it easier to ship, but mainly to be able to sell it easier. ‘In original box’ seems to sell better than ‘from a non-smoking studio’. The odd thing is that I don’t intend to sell any of my gear and rarely do. My apartment is not as big as I’d like, and yesterday I spent a few hours rearranging the basement, and I realized that ‘music electronics packaging’ was quickly becoming the main category there.
Pro tip: most boxes are foldable, if you flatten them, you’re no longer storing mostly air, this saves a ton of space.


I used to keep all my boxes stacked on high shelves in my bedroom closet. They’d occasionally pour down on my head when trying to retrieve one, and I’d dutifully restack them. As my system grew, I resented all the space they were taking up, and on one beautiful day, I harvested all the stickers and screws and filled up a large trash bag with all my boxes—and out they went!


I keep boxes when I can. I don’t intend on selling any gear that I buy, but some times a module just doesn’t click with me and the extra 5 to 10% that original packaging can help with resale value is worth it for me. I only have a small double 84hp system, so it’s not a ton of boxes.

I’ve sold maybe only 6 modules since I started this silly affair five years ago, only one without original packaging. I felt far more comfortable packing up those modules in original boxes rather than bundling the one in layers of bubble in a box that wasn’t the right size for it. And the used modules I’ve purchased, most have come in some kind of box with a ribbon cable, bonus points when they have a printed manual. Come to think of it, I’ve only bought used modules (other than trades with friends) that were on consignment at control in Brooklyn because they do an inspection before listing them.

Larger pieces of gear, I’ve held on to a few boxes here and there, but the boxes tend to get culled faster. The manuals get saved but the styrofoam and and dead space gets expensive quickly in a New York apartment. (Do the math on cubic footage that an empty box takes up in your space vs your rent, you’ll be chucking thing out left and right)


Never throw away the box, it’s part of the product. If you ever want to sell it, not having the box will decrease value, boxes are also handy for transportation and protection if you need to bring your machine somewhere and don’t have a dedicated case. Also the boxes are actually pretty nice most of the time.


I must admit, I do keep boxes and other original packaging when I buy items new. I also tend to seek out items “with original boxes” when buying 2nd hand. When buying, I use the presence of these items as an indicator that the item has been well looked- after.

I must admit there is an element of completism in my collecting of products from certain brands - particularly Mutable Instruments. Emilié puts a lot of thought and care into the packaging of MI products, and I actively seek out examples including as much of the original packaging and other included items as possible, if I’m in the market for a 2nd hand MI module.

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I bought a 2nd-hand Machinedrum that had rolling tobacco ground into all the grooves in the front panel. Took a while to get that out…

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I kept every single modular box for about two years, then mega-purged all but a few a couple months ago. Felt great. I keep keyboard boxes mostly because they make transport and shipping a breeze. Easy to snag a small box for shipping a module; not so for a matriarch.


Like others, I keep them around for future shipping/packaging materials. More so now that I’m renting a little house instead of a tiny apartment. I’ve got luxurious closet space.

I personally don’t care how a product shows up though. Rack rash? Whatever, I can’t see it. A scratch? That’s just time physically recorded on the gear. There’s beauty there. That doesn’t mean I don’t think we should treat objects (and all things) with care, but the preciousness and anxiety that seems to exist about keeping things pristine feels like another way we avoid the impermanence of all things. 🤷


I’ve already said this on the original Elektronauts thread, but if you have the space to keep the boxes, why wouldn’t you do so? They are specifically made for keeping everything nice and secure while in transit. This could be for selling on the second hand market or sending the item back for repair, to name just a couple of examples. Plus, if you can get a bit more for selling something with the original box, then all the better. So, if you have space, keep the box, if you don’t and aren’t bothered about any of the above, go ahead and recycle it.


for me, the gear already takes up space. why have an empty box that takes up even more? that’s certainly grounds for wifely yelling haha. as far as used gear, an amazing rapper once said… “if it ain’t been in a pawn shop then it can’t play the blues, now can it?”when i finally sold my 256, i wrapped it in a squishy colorful blanket. hopefully the next owner found that amusing too.


seeing how important is the box in collectors/scalpers market there seems to be an opportunity for manufacturers to offer the ‘original’ packaging for a fair prize. Similarly to how the box or manual is sometimes sold separately on ebay.