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I usually keep one box of any set for reference if the artwork's any good and bin the rest. I wash the figures and store them in plastic boxes till I'm ready to paint them.
So long as the figures are on the sprue and complete I keep them in the box. You never know when you might decide to dump some surplus sets and I figure the buyers would prefer to have them complete, on sprue and in the box. I also find this a good form of inventory control. So long as I have figures in the box I know it is a complete set. Few things are as frustrating as opening up that last box of figures and discovering that you've already used the one figure in the set that you really need.
Once I start removing the figures the box is no longer used as storage. Typically I will save at least a couple of flattened boxes for each type of figures I buy, and the rest get pitched.
Interesting you would bring this up - as at the encouragement of my better half i threw out a whole bunch of the flattened boxes last week (fire hazard you know) - peace has now returned to the valley.
Someday, I'm going to build a large box-style coffee table with a hinged-framed glass top so that I can lift it up, and put my sentimental-favorite Boxes and Play Sets inside just to look at and admire and daydream of "my childhood happy memories." I still get that "Wow!" feeling whenever I pull them out; just like the first time I discovered them in the hobby shops.
The first boxed sets will be my 1960's-1970's Airfix Fort Sahara Boxes (with contents) - The first "Comic Book" style artwork and the last Blue-Box very realistic-like. In fact I like both of the same style Fort Apache sets too.
In those days, the artwork inspired me to beg/borrow/steal/or somehow buy the Play Sets, even if I had to find enough Coke bottles discarded in the tall, grassy, fields surrounding my subdivision to turn in for coin deposits at the local supermarket.
Yes, these magical boxes I'll keep and I'll take to the grave with me.
Chris and other Forum Members - Which are your "Cherished, Favorite, Boxes?"
Thanks for asking and - Happier & Happier Collecting!