Subscription Boxes: Sweet Surprise Or Clutter Culprit?
Subscription boxes are arguably one of the most pervasive trends this side of the millennium. There is literally a subscription box for every interest and audience that exists.
In case you’ve been living in a vortex, subscription boxes are curated gift boxes sent to you regularly for a given amount of time. Some subscription box services allow you to indicate your general preferences or types of items you’re interested in sampling.
There are boxes for healthy snacks, boxes for kids’ toys, for dog lovers, for shaving, and holy mother are there boxes for beauty. There’s Birchbox and Curlbox and Glossybox and Ispy; Color Me Monthly, Julep Maven And FatFitFun; Total Beauty, Beauty Army, Beauty Fix, Beauty Box 5, Beauty Bar Sample Society–oh and hey! Sephora is soon to release a box of their own, thank goodness!
I get it. Subscription boxes are a way to give someone a gift that keeps on giving (for a few months anyway) that’s tailored to their interests. Or, they’re a way to incorporate a little more excitement into your own life by saying, “Hey, I like this stuff in general. Do the sourcing and selecting for me, and I’ll get all the suspense and surprise, (and the possibility of finding a product I love), without any of the labor of shopping and driving and leaving the house.”
I don’t have any beef with this construct in principle–I’ve even given a subscription box on at least one (that I can remember) occasion.
Here’s the thing. You knew there was one; don’t claim I blindsided you.
Even if you do the selecting yourself, it’s the law of the universe practically that, among a loot of items, you’ll favor some over others. You might feel medium about all of them. You might adore a few, feel really opposed to a few, and feel medium about the majority.
When you let someone else do the selecting for you, this is true all the more so.
Subscription box services send you things you haven’t expressly requested–that’s the point. They’re meant to introduce you to indie brands you’ve never heard of, to dazzle you with fresh releases, and so on. If you knew exactly what was contained in your subscription box, it would be less like a subscription box and more like “shopping.”
If you’re going to be lenient about welcoming another’s selections into your sanctuary–thereby running the risk of obtaining things you either have no interest in or strongly dislike–you better be equally lenient about letting such items go.
Before you go signing up for a beauty box, find a local women’s shelter that accepts cosmetics for donation. If you’re gifted a Bark Box, be sure you know where your nearest Humane Society is, and what their terms of donation are. You feel me?
I don’t mean to be pessimistic. Listen, your box is–I’m sure–going to be filled with products that light you and your life up! And I’ve also seen too many stock piles of things (voluntarily and involuntarily) obtained through subscription boxes resulting as clutter because they were never specifically chosen not to establish some helpful guidelines from the get-go.
Go get your box on. And, be prepared to get your share on, too.
P.S. One other tip? Look for subscription services that offer the opportunity to try on items, keep only those you love, and send back the rest. Rocksbox does this in the form of jewelry “rental,” as do many clothing subscription services, like Stitch Fix (which one of my rockstar clients swears by).
P.P.S. I’m thinking of starting a Live Simply subscription box. Know what it’d have in it? Nothing.
Actually! I might be onto something there! A subscription box where you get an empty box…that you use to fill up with things to donate! Yeah? No? Yeah…no.
Image credits: Olive Box, Livability, Goodebox
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