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What To Do With Subscription Box Items You Won’t Use

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Subscription Box Items You Won't Use


If you subscribe to a few subscriptions boxes, by now you’ve likely come across some items that aren’t for you. As someone who subscribes to a ton of boxes, I have a few different ways I make use of the items that aren’t for me:


“What to do with subscription box items you don’t want” is the reason we built the swap section of the site. It’s a great way to trade items that are great (just not a fit for you), for items you do want. (And it is completely free – each swapper just has to cover the cost of shipping the items in their possession).


One of the perks of subscribing to quite a few boxes means always having great gifts on hand! I have quite a few subscription box items that I pair with a bottle of wine for hostess gifts: coasters, cheeseboards, bottle openers, glasses, etc.


I’ve had a few makeup-sample parties with my friends and shared all the subscription box beauty samples I wouldn’t be able to use (or didn’t want). It’s always a hit too – who doesn’t love free makeup? (I know of one reader who also used makeup samples to make party favors for her daughter’s friends – love it!)


There are so many different charities/causes than can benefit from subscription box items:

Women’s Shelters
Elderly Care Homes
Soliders Over Seas
Cancer Patients (one reader mentioned donating false eye lashes to those going through chemotherapy).
Children’s Toy Drives
Homeless Shelters
Food Drives

If you have a recommendation for where someone can donate subscription box goods, and what type of products are best suited for that charity – let us know in the comments! I will update this post with your suggestions!

What do you do with subscription box items you won’t use?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. If you buy something, MSA may earn an affiliate commission. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. Here is a charity that puts together tote bags for parents with children in the hospitals for an extended period of time. The woman that runs it lost her daughter in June and that’s the namesake of the organization. They are always looking for donations of special things to include. The mothers and fathers are going through some pretty traumatic things and little things we don’t want or need can brighten their day. And things from the various children’s sub boxes are great to include for the children or siblings. Here is the link for the website.

  2. i have a friend who tutors at a homeless shelter. The “residents” love the little items to make them feel pampered. At little really does mean a lot

  3. For the Texas readers,

    I started a charity called The Gift of Joy Project — our mission is to provide the gift of joy to women in local shelters, transitional housing, and maternity homes at Christmas time in the form of a shoebox filled with small luxury items. Through this small gift, we hope to bring a smile to the face of a woman facing a difficult situation, and remind her that she is not forgotten by her community.

    The contents of these boxes are almost identical to what you would receive in a typical subscription box! Check out our website,, to learn more and if you’re interested in donating, blogging about us, or getting involved in any way, email [email protected].

    xx Kaylee

    • Hey, Kaylee, that is a wonderful thing you have started! Are drop-offs just in the Dallas area?

  4. I subscribe to a lot of snack boxes (I’m a new mom, it’s how I manage to eat “healthy”!) and things that don’t fit into my diet I send off to Soldiers overseas! As a veteran and spouse I know how special those care packages can be! There are lots of items that would make great care package items, especially now around the holidays when they are missing their families the most (or those that don’t have family to send them boxes). Some great items that would be appreciated are:
    Snacks (sweet or savory)
    Picture frames
    Lip balm
    Nail polish (girls can put them on their toenails)
    Stationery and cards

    If you ask on Facebook you will probably find that someone has a friend or family member deployed that would love a box from home! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for this info!

    • Ooo – I like the blog giveaway idea! πŸ™‚

  5. A great follow up to this post would be “what do you do with all your actual boxes”? I wonder this a lot. πŸ™‚

    • I use the plain boxes (target college and target beauty) for gift boxes. I use pretty boxes (threaded canvas, birchbox, citrus lane) in a hanging closet organizer for small things like ribbons, tissue paper, craft supplies. Other boxes like priority boxes I hide dog treats in and let the dogs rip them up. It keeps them busy for a bit.

      • We use the boxes to store my son’s every growing lego collection…..

      • I’ve made dividers in pantry drawers and I received a swap item in a reused box from a subscription

    • I think it’s been said before, but I use the Blush Mystery Beauty bags as individual shoe bags in my suitcase. I travel a lot for work, and this prevents my heels from snagging on things, and keeps any dirt off my clothes.

      Those little bags are great for so many things. I mostly use them for organization when traveling: they keep together my small electronic things like phone/computer/tablet chargers, headphones, etc; they keep items together in a large purse; they can be used to hold panties, socks, or hosiery in a suitcase.

      Naturally, they can be used to organize small things around the house, or even send to your fellow swappers to hold multi-swap items.

      As for actual boxes, I’m with you! I have stacks of GlossyBoxes, blue Sample Society boxes, and red Allure/SS boxes, all crying out for a purpose. I’ve only used a few as gift boxes before, with a pretty sticker label over the Sample Society logo, but I know there must be other uses out there!

  6. I am a make up artist for our Regional Theater, and I use my unwanted items for the cast. This hot pink lipstick that glowed was perfect for the little pigs in Shrek. For sanitary reasons, black liners, mascaras, and balm are so welcome. Please consider donating to local theater or dance group. Thank you, Luz for all you do. You must have a ginormous stash.

    • I mean Liz, grr.

  7. Around any holiday, halloween, st patricks day, thanksgiving, christmas, I make goody bags, in the goody bags I normally put a food item, and a few items from my sub boxes, put the items in a fancy bag, and give them to receptionsts in dr’s offices, people in places i go to often like coffee shops. They appreciate the small gift bag, remember it, and I normally get treated more like a friend the next time I see them.

  8. What do you do with all of the subscription boxes themselves? Do they all get thrown away or have your found some creative uses over the years?

    • glossy boxes I save, if the sub box is plain, I get pretty wrapping paper glue the wrapping paper on the box, and reuse the box for note cards, and other small items

  9. The only thing to be careful of with donations to cancer patients is that the items must absolutely NOT be used in any way (including swatched). Cancer patients have compromised immune systems. If you are going to go that route, it’s best to stick with items that are still safety-sealed.

  10. Lots of good ideas! I’m very new to this but already have enough spare high-end lip balms and glosses to give one to all the ladies on my “small gift” list. I might not be able to give them the same type of thing every year, but I think they’ll be thrilled this year.

  11. Hi Liz!
    I am currently on the swap waiting list. How long does it usually take to get in?

    • We open it up about every two weeks – you should expect an invite from us by early next week! πŸ™‚

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